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FAQ: What can I expect from my plants during winter dormancy?

  • If you are new to carnivorous plants we highly recommend doing some research on what to expect during the colder months
  • The carnivorous plant world comprises of a whole bunch of different carnivorous plant species and varieties and some will need a rest period during wintertime to store some energy for the new growing season.  In South Africa we are blessed with distinct seasons and besides being the most awesome plants in the universe, these plants are soooooo clever....they will know exactly when to go to sleep if grown in natural light
  • During autumn, the temperatures will start dropping and the daylight period shorter which will trigger a winter rest period in temperate carnivorous plants.  This period sets in during autumn with new summer growth emerging in springtime when the daylight period gets longer again
  • Here is a few guidelines on what to expect during winter dormancy:
  • Venus flytraps:
    • As the daylight period gets shorter in autumn, trap formation will taper while energy is stored in the underground stem (a bulb like structure called the rhizome)
    • During late autumn the tall leaves and large summer traps will start dying off and the plant will generally appear much smaller (approx 1/4 size) for a couple of months in comparison to their active growing season (summer)
      • This means that during wintertime, flytraps have very little growth above the soil level and are largely inactive during the colder months (May to October) of the year

    Venus flytrap preparing for winter dormancy

      • Most varieties flytraps still produce tiny traps close to the soil level called ground hugging traps
      • These traps are sluggish to close, therefor venus flytraps are mostly inactive from late autumn (around May), with new active growth (tall and/or longer leaves with larger traps) emerging during September and October
      • Venus flytraps come back bigger and stronger after their beauty sleep and should be back in full bug-munching action by November
      Winter vs summer - venus fly trap cv Whale
      • During wintertime, trumpet pitcher plants 
        • the tall summer pitchers will die off from the lid either partially (halfway down) and in some cases entirely, this is also the case for winter dormancy in purple pitchers and parrot pitcher plants
        • many varieties of trumpet pitcher plants produce flat pitchers with small heads that will not open, these non-carnivorous leaves are used for phytosynthesis and is called phylloda
        • During wintertime trumpet pitcher plants are unpotted and trimmed back.  Phylloda leaves are left for phytosynthesis while rhizomes are cleaned and treated with fungicide, hereafter they are repotted into fresh soil, ready for the upcoming growing season
        • If grown outside in full sun, trumpet pitchers come back into play with bigger, stronger pitchers popping up from the growth point during September and October and should be in full swing by November
      Carnivorous sarracenia Trumpet pitcher plants winter dormancy
      • The growth on Tropical pitcher plants will slow considerably during wintertime and
        • Even though the foliage will remain, most of the pitchers (cups) produced during spring and summer will die off
        • If grown in natural conditions, tropical pitcher plants will start growing actively - producing new foliage with pitcher formation - around September to October
        • Temperate sundews for eg Drosera Binata and Drosera Filiformis as well as Temperate butterworts will die back to a single winter bud (called a hibernicula), with
          • no visible growth above the soil level
          • If given enough light, new growth on temperate sundews and butterworts will start popping up from (or around) the hibernicula when temperatures rise and the photoperiod gets longer in September to October
          • Many plants in the Mexican butterwort family will lose their large carnivorous leaves as the daylight period gets shorter in winter
            • With the exception of Pinguicula Gigantea, mexican butterworts will produce tight rosettes with tiny non-carnivorous leaves - making them appear much smaller during the colder months of the year
            • Most mexican butterworts flower in late winter to early spring with the bigger carnivorous leaves returning around October to November

          Comparison Winter dormancy vs summer growth in mexican pinguicula * carnivorous butterworts

            • Albany pitcher plants tend to die back slightly producing tiny pitchers with
              • new growth in the form of non-carnivorous leaves appearing first during springtime, followed by
              • the larger thumb-like carnivorous pitchers during summertime
            • Most terrestrial bladderworts we have for sale will flower during the warmer months, thus
              • during wintertime only the green leaves are visible 


              • Buying plants from Cultivo during wintertime
                • Plant images shown are always from our own plants unless otherwise mentioned.  To best display individual characteristics on each species and/or variety, images represent our plants in full summer growth under optimal conditions
                • From May to October, temperate plants will be sold as dormant rhizomes (underground bulbs or roots) with cut pitchers.  Naturally, this will cause the plant to appear smaller overall
                • As many species and varieties are inactive in the colder months, we repot our plants into fresh carnivorous plant soil during winter dormancy. Unless otherwise requested we send plants and dormant rhizomes already potted - ready for the upcoming growing season
                • Shipping during winter dormancy is ideal as it reduces stress on the plant and help them to settle in quicker into their new environment without too much disturbance. New growth will emerge during spring and summer
                • For the most part, the carnivorous plant species we grow, display best during the active growing season.  For those carni-fans who wish to drop by to view before purchase, note that we are closed for visits while the plants are in their dormancy stage.  We will re-open for visits during October and bookings for visits will be available on selected Saturdays until May.  Specific dates will be confirmed closer to the time 
                • During wintertime we cater for viewing and consults via Whatsapp videocalls and images, complimentary to online sales.  As always, our online store is open 24/7 and we offer a range of payment- and shipping options if you are not collecting from us
                • If at any time you are in doubt, drop us an e-mail or Whatsapp us prior to ordering and we will send you updated images of the plant you are interested in

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