Some carnivorous plants require a dormancy period that can extend for several months, usually as temperatures drop. The Venus flytrap requires specific care during the winter.
Venus flytraps require a yearly dormancy period. Skipping dormancy over two years in a row can kill Venus flytraps. These plants need to go dormant for 2-3 months every winter season to continue thriving in the spring.
Dormancy is critical for the Venus Flytrap development; it is critical to learn how to achieve it. This article will give you all the details.
Is Venus Flytrap Dormancy Required?
In the wild, Venus flytraps grow in North Carolina and South Carolina in the United States. There, they are not only exposed to hot summers but also freezing winters. During the winter season, Venus flytraps rest.
Venus flytrap need to experience dormancy for 2-3 months every single year. Skipping dormancy hinders the plant’s growth and can eventually kill it.
The dormancy period for Venus flytraps is similar to hibernation in animals. Some creatures require a resting period before the growing/ active season.
Scientists calculate that Venus flytraps can live for more than 20 years, which is a long time for any human. If you own one of these plants, they can be part of your home or garden for decades. However, Venus flytraps only live for such a long period of dormancy is present.
When a Venus flytrap does not experience dormancy, it weakens, and its growth slows down during the year.
Skipping one dormancy won’t kill a Venus flytrap, but systematically skipping multiple dormancy periods in a row will kill it. Without dormancy, Venus flytraps perish within 2-3 years.
Since Venus flytraps take 3-4 years to achieve maturity, it is impossible to grow Venus flytraps from seeds to adults without dormancy. You can keep a mature plant without dormancy, but remember, their lifetime is limited.
In the next sections, you will learn how to achieve dormancy for your Venus flytrap and also some care considerations during the season. Besides, the last section expands on what to do if you will skip dormancy anyway.
How to Achieve Venus Flytrap Dormancy?
Venus flytraps thrive after the dormancy resting period and must undergo dormancy every single year. The dormancy period is associated with the winter month due to the temperature requirements.
Venus flytraps achieve dormancy after been exposed to temperatures below 45 F (7 C) for 2-5 weeks. Once the plant enters dormancy, it will lose leaves and stop its growth.
The easiest way to grow Venus flytraps and achieve the dormancy state is to grow Venus flytraps outdoors. These carnivorous plants thrive in the outdoors with plenty of access to water and sunlight. If you live in areas with suitable winter temperatures, then your plant will go dormant every winter as soon as the temperatures start to drop.
Leaving your plant outside during the winter months is the most common practice. You can place the Venus flytraps in the garden, a porch, an unheated garage, or basement. The goal is to expose Venus flytraps to temperatures below 45 F (7 C). When exposing your plant to cold temperatures, avoid letting it freeze. Venus flytraps need dormancy, but temperatures below 25 F (-4 C) can kill them.
After Venus flytraps have entered dormancy, it is important to keep the plants at temperatures between 32 F (0 C) and 45 F (7C).
Not all live in areas where winters reach low temperatures. Or if they do, some places experience extremely short winters, unsuitable for Venus flytraps.
In those locations where it is impossible to induce natural dormancy, you can try an alternate method: Refridgerator Dormancy. As a last option, it is possible to induce dormancy by placing your plants in the fridge. There is a specific process to do this correctly. You can read this article to get the details.
Refrigerator dormancy: Winter is Coming! A Guide to Venus Flytrap Dormancy
Once Venus flytraps enter dormancy, the plant will experience sudden changes.
Dormant Venus flytraps lose most of their green leaves and shrink in size. Some owners believe their plants are dead as the leaves are almost none existent. However, the underground portion of the plant continues to strengthen during dormancy.
Do not alarm when a Venus flytrap starts changing during dormancy. The changes are completely natural and required for their health.
How to Exit Venus Flytrap Dormancy?
Venus flytrap dormancy takes 2-3 months. After that period, the plant should start exiting dormancy.
Venus flytraps exit dormancy when the temperatures start to rise. As spring approaches, Venus flytraps finish dormancy and start flourishing again.
The best way to exit dormancy is to let nature flow. If you placed Venus flytraps outdoors and winter is coming to an end after 2-3 months, then you can continue to leave your plant outside as the temperatures start to rise and the plant exits dormancy.
In the case winter is very long (more than 5 months) in your location, you can force your plant out of dormancy by reintroducing it to warmer temperatures. Over a few weeks, you can bring the plant closer to indoor temperatures. Make sure to reintroduce the plant to warm temperatures slowly and wait until it has been dormant for 3 months.
You will notice a Venus flytrap has exited dormancy once there is new growth spurring from the plant.
Venus Flytrap Care During Dormancy
Venus flytrap requires a particular environment to live in. During dormancy, some care considerations are also critical.
- Temperature: Dormant Venus flytraps should remain at the following temperature range: 32F – 45F.
- Feeding: Venus flytraps do not require feeding during dormancy.
- Lighting: The lighting requirements decrease.
- Trimming: It is safe to trim dead leaves.
- Repotting: repotting at the end of dormancy is an optimal time to exchange the medium or pot.
- Watering: Venus flytraps will consume less water during dormancy.
Even though Venus flytraps need cold temperatures during winter, there is a lower limit for them. Avoid letting your plant freeze completely. Venus flytraps are resilient, but such low temperatures can weaken them and potentially kill them.
Through the growing season, Venus flytraps require bugs to supplement their diet and grow. However, during the dormancy period, feeding is not required. If the plant captures a bug on its own, that is fine. But, never manually feed Venus flytraps during dormancy.
During dormancy, the lighting requirements for Venus flytrap lower. However, there is no harm in exposing the plant to hours of sunlight as long as the temperatures as appropriate. Cold winters and sunny days are not exclusive.
There is no risk of trimming Venus flytraps during dormancy. In this period, the plant will lose a lot of leaves. You can trim all the completely dead foliage.
Repotting a Venus flytrap during the growing season slows down its growth. The optimal time to repot a Venus flytrap is to do it at the end of dormancy. As temperatures start to warm up, you can carefully repot the plant in new media. Then, the Venus flytrap will start the spring in fresh soil.
Continue to keep the soil of dormant Venus flytraps humid t all times, but avoid overwatering. During dormancy, Venus flytraps slow down on their water consumption.
The list of care instructions during dormancy is short because those items are specific for dormancy. However, there are many more considerations that need to be followed when growing Venus flytraps. This article includes a complete guide and care instructions for Venus flytrap. It is the best resource for current or future Venus flytrap owners.
Also, I wrote a guide specifically for growing Venus flytraps indoors. You can read it here: Venus Flytrap Indoor Care Guide.
Skip Venus Flytrap Dormancy
Skipping Venus flytrap dormancy causes several effects. The plants continue growing during the winter and coming seasons. However, its growth rate eventually slows down.
Skipping dormancy multiple years in a row kills Venus flytraps. Still, it is possible to skip the dormancy period in complicated scenarios.
I do not recommend skipping dormancy at all. However, if there is no way around it, the best alternative is to skip dormancy during winter but secure dormancy for the upcoming season. As long as the plant goes dormant for the next couple of years, it will recover from skipping on the resting period.
Venus flytraps can be grown almost anywhere in the world. But keeping these plants healthy requires a cold winter, which is not always present and can be challenging.
Do not get discouraged from growing Venus flytrap in your zone if the temperatures are not optimal. Instead, research and learn about the fridge dormancy method and other indoor growing strategies.