Winterizing the Last of the “Kids”

It’s finally done. Tonight I finally finished winterizing the last of my carnivorous plants. Should’ve done it at least a month ago, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to do the deed. But a couple hours ago, with A Prairie Home Companion playing in the background, I set up shop and prepped my Sarracenia rubra ssp. wherryi and S. leucophylla for the fridge. They’re now nicely bagged with sphagnum moss (treated with sulfur to prevent white mold) and are nestled with the rest of my plants in the vegetable drawer. There they’ll stay till late March.

Winterizing my pitcher plants and Venus flytraps is my least-favorite part of growing carnivorous plants. But there’s no getting around it. American carnivorous plants have a winter dormancy requirement; they need their “sleep” just like you and I do. If I lived in a warmer growing zone, I could simply let them stay out on the balcony and endure the occasional frost. But here in Michigan, living in a third-floor apartment in a state where winter temperatures routinely drop into the teens, I have just one option, and that is to bag the plants and stick them in the refrigerator. Once so ensconced, they go into a deep dormancy until the spring.

I’m not crazy about the sphagnum moss I used with these last two plants. It’s purported to be Sphagnum magellanicum, and it’s a South American moss rather than the Canadian stuff I’m used to. No problem there, but this stuff is colored a bright, unnatural green that smacks of some kind of dye. I’m leery of putting my plants in contact with unknown chemicals. But since this was the only sphagnum available at Fruit Basket, I guess I just have to take my chances. My carnivorous plants are dormant, after all, and I only need to store them for three months. So–cross fingers and hope for the best.

By the way, the S. leucophylla is the striking white-topped plant in the center image, and the S. rubra ssp. wherryi is shown in the bottom photo. The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) at the top of the page needs no introduction. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

And that’s all I have to say about that.