I put my carnivorous plants in the refrigerator for the winter. They are in the cold cuts drawer!
Carnivorous plants, such as my Pitcher plant, Venus Fly Trap, and Sundew, are very picky about their environments. They are temperate zone plants that need warm, wet, swampy conditions with mineral-free soil. And just like many perennials that are native to my part of the world, carnivorous plants require a dormant cold period in the Winter to stimulate new growth in the Spring.
Most of these conditions are pretty easy to replicate when keeping carnivorous plants as houseplants. I use only peat moss in their pots and never fertilize the moss. I keep them in direct sunlight in the warmest space on my windowsill.
I also do the double-pot-trick so they always have a swamp underneath them.
And right now, to simulate dormancy, I have the little dudes in the refrigerator for a few months! Why not just put them outside, you ask? Well the winters here in New York are very harsh, much colder than winters in the rainforests where they originate. Plus, keeping them indoors ensures that they won't get knocked over or stepped on or nibbled by critters.
Here's what I do:
- First I prune the plants so there are no brown pieces or dying flowers, and I even remove any little brown bits that have fallen into the moss.
- I give each plant, still in it's pot, a good drink of water.
- I put the plants, pot and all, in a large ziploc freezer bag and close it most of the way, leaving a vent for aeration.
- Some people recommend adding a bit of a fungicide to the bag, but I've never done this and so far my little guys have always been fine.
- The bag of plants goes in the refrigerator, in a spot where it can sit and not move at all for 2-3 months. Don't put them in the freezer! Too cold!
You can see some moisture on the inside of the bag, which is good- it means the plants are keeping hydrated. If you're worried that they're drying out, just add some water to the bag. It works like a little greenhouse!
You'll notice that I also have some other things in the cold cuts drawer right now.
I had tulip bulbs left over that I never got around to planting in Fall, so I'm keeping them cold until Spring when I'll plant them indoors in pots. If I just kept them room temperature over Winter, they'd begin sprouting because the warmth would confuse their internal clocks.
I also have a succulent plant in there, which is sort of an experiment. My mom gave me a really neat plant that grew great in the summer, but then died off mid-winter. I thought this meant it was an annual plant, until I visited her for Christmas and saw she had a whole windowbox of the same plant hibernating outdoors. So, I bought another one and I'm giving it a shot at hibernation to see if it works!
When Spring comes around and I begin to germinate my seeds, I'll pull the plants out of the refrigerator and put them somewhere cool in my apartment for a week or two. This gives them some time to transition back into the warmth before they get back into their full-on sun spot, simulating the natural Springtime transition.