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Carnivorous Plants/2013 winter plant survival

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Question
Hello, I have had several species of Sarracenia, some flytrap plants, and a couple of sundew plants for 2 years now.  I live in Chicago, Illinois.  My plants are kept outside, get 9 hrs of sun a day when growing and are kept in pots sitting in rain barrel water trays.
    During winter, I made wooden frame. surrounded with burlap, and buried plants (in pots) with mulch.  I made frame large enough and made sure there were 10+ inches of mulch on all sides.  In 2012, all plants survived.  Obviously we had much harsher winter in 2013.  Now that we are getting temps of 40's even 50's, I tried to bring out plants only to find mulch pile frozen.  I have been removing thawed mulch as I am able each day, and it appears that it was frozen to core.  Is there even a chance any plants survived, and how can I tell once I am able to finally get them out if they are alive or dead?
Thanks, Brian

Answer
You won't really know until you can examine the rhizomes.  However, it's very likely they survived since they were heavily mulched. The purpose of mulch isn't to prevent plants from freezing.  Instead, the purpose is to prevent dehydration during prolonged freezes and to insulate against large temperature swings.  

Our plants freeze solid during the winter, though not as frequent or as long as plants in your region.  For now, you simply have to wait it out until you can examine the rhizomes.  The roots should be supple and the ends should be white.  Scrape off a bit of the outer skin on the rhizome.  The fleshy inside should also be white.  


Good growing!
Jacob Farin

Carnivorous Plants

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