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Carnivorous Plants/sarracenia growing, overwintering.


Hello. Firstly, I must say, thank you for perfect instructive videos on youtube! I am adwanced grower, who ask some more, more advanced growers!
I am from Czech Republic, Europe. Temperatures in our country falling occasionally to - 27C, -16 F, but with good snow layer.
What is optimal in these conditions? I read about black foil on pools in your garden! Here are some questions:
1.) how thick must be water layer around pots? I had idea, that water which total overflood the rhizomes in the pots(pots under water surface) can protect plants during coldest months. Maybe it is bad idea and plant will die under water.....
2.) What solution is best in mulching?
a) plants needs air space, between mulch and leaves,
b) mulch(beech leaves) can be loaded directly on to plants without fungal damage risk.
Most of winters here are moderate with minimum 5F et night in january or february.
3) Is remowing of all, old leaves good for plants, or for enthusiasts? I read, that this step can accelerate new leaves production in spring.
On the other hand, it is assimilation green area.....
I am looking for easy, simple method. I know about cold frames, unheated garages, glasshouses. I am fascinatedd by yor round pools with tubes of sarras under open air:-)
4 last question about phyllodias od S. leuco.: Can be phyllodias initiated by overfeeding from decomposed peat or peat with too high, or too low pH? I seen plants which look owerfed, in brown(blond) type of peat. In opposite of this, plants on habitat growing in nutrient-poor white sand. Although forming phyllodia are predominantly initiated by day lenght, genetic, or air humidity, I thing, that right underfed plants can produce more carnivorous leaves.....maybe.
Thank you! Sorry for poor english.
Karel Hajda

Hi Karlos,

Sorry for taking awhile to get back to you.  The last couple of weeks have been exceptionally busy.

Glad you've liked our videos.  

1.)  Water.  In our pools the water is no more than 1/4 the depth of the height of the pots.  If plants are too deep in the water it will cause rot problems, especially for Venus flytraps.  With the exception of Sarracenia psittacina which is adapted to being flooded, having them under water for the winter isn't a good idea.  Your losses would be high.

2.)  Your climate in the area of the Czech Republic is the equivalent of USDA Zone 5, similar to Wisconsin and Michigan here in the US.  Our climate here in Western Oregon is Zone 8, quite a bit warmer in winter.  You would need much more significant protection for your plants than we do.  The ideal mulch is pine straw, which is simply dried pine needles.  In the Eastern US this is sold in bales at garden centers.  Pine needles are acidic, and don't compress much, so they make a great mulch providing insulation and air space.

Beech or other leaves will work for mulch too.  Just be sure and spray your plants with a sulfur based fungicide first.  Plants will need to stay damp, but shouldn't be in deep water trays for this type of dormancy set-up.

3.)  Definitely remove the leaves of all the trumpet varieties of Sarracenia, but just trim dead material from S. purpurea and S. psittacina species and hybrids of those two.  Same with Venus Flytraps.  Just trim dead material, but leave living leaves.  You can leave phyllodia of Sarracenia that produce those such as S. flava and S. oreophila.

I know there's some debate on this on the cp community, but I've just seen the results too many times, and plants are far healthier the next year if all leaf material is removed in winter, especially from varieties that form dense clumps.  It also cuts down transpiration which can be a problem during very cold weather.

The basic method of overwintering the way your asking would be to group your pots together near your house, preferably in an exposure that doesn't get much direct sun mid-winter.  Trim as described.  Spray liberally with fungicide, and make sure your plants are well watered.  It's ok to leave them in shallow water trays.  Bury them in about a half-meter or more of leaves, pine straw, or wood chips.  When a very cold spell is expected, cover the mulch mound with black plastic or frost fabric such as Remay.  You'll need to check your plants periodically during warmer spells to see how they are doing, and perhaps re-apply fungicide.  When it looks like danger of severe freeze is over in the spring, remove the mulch.

4.)  S. leucohylla phyllodia.  I've never heard of this.  Midsummer phyllodia production is mostly an adaptation to severe summer heat and drought.  They typically produce the best pitchers of the season once weather begins to cool in late summer and fall.  S. leucophylla is such a voracious bug catcher I don't think I've ever seen underfed plants. :)

Here's a couple more resources that may be helpful.  This is from a grower in Canada with similar climate:

Our volume #1 DVD also has much of the information I just discussed here, and much more.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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