Preparing to winter VFT outside....

Lubbock, TX(Zone 7a)

I am looking for some suggestions on how to best prepare my VFT's for their winter outdoors here in west Texas. Since last years plant emerged from the fridge a glob of mush, I'd like to try it differently this time. Our first frost/freeze is 12 to 14 weeks away and if I need to repot or prepare before that I'd like to at least form a plan. There currently is a flower stalk on one that I'd guess is 10 to 14 days from FFO.

Background info is:
These plants are all in a hanging basket in full sun. I've created somewhat of a mini-bog by using a coconut fiber wire mesh 12" basket with a 10" plastic liner inside of it. The liner has holes melted in it about 3" from it's level bottom to allow any overflow water to drain out. Both the VFT pots (and accompanying soil-less mix) are inside the liner in their original pots that came with them in the domes of death. One is a 2" round and the other a 1.5" square. They have horticulture sand as a bottom layer to prevent movement and increase drainage about 1 cm deep followed by a layer of peat moss, then sand and again peat moss. The wire mesh basket that holds all this is packed with no additive soil -less mix and the whole thing is topped off with long stemmed sphagnum moss. I think one VFT is actually 2 plants making a total of 3.

What should I do? When should I do it?
I'm thinking this planter will be difficult to mulch if that needs to be done. Also wondering if I should replant them in larger pots individually or all together and when? Wait till the flowering is done? Since it's hanging it'll be less insulated for winter. Will it need better drainage for winter since the water could freeze?

Sorry for all the details....better to have too many than not enough.

Thanks folks.

need to add that in it's current location it will not receive full sun in winter.

This message was edited Aug 2, 2009 6:41 PM

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

How long have you had the plants?

What I would do is replant all plants in one big pot with a mix of 1/2 peat and 1/2 perlite. If the plants are in long sphagnum moss remove the LSM. It retains too much water. I use it as top dressing sometimes.

I generally repot in spring, but it shouldn't hurt your plants too much to do it now. I have repotted with flowers with no major problems, but if you're about to get seed, I would wait until you get the seed. I repot all my VFT from unknown orgigins when I bring them home, because they are usually in the wrong growing medium.

You don't need full sun in winter, because the plants are dormant and pretty much stop growing. They will look pretty ratty. Don't give up on them.

If the plants are new this year and in domes of death when you got them, I would protect them when temps drop below about 25 or you get freezing wind, by bringing them in and putting them in an unheated garage. That way they get out of the freezing wind, but don't warm up. Do not bring them into a warm house. They will come out of dormancy.

After this year, I wouldn't worry about them too much unless you get freezing winds. Again bring them to an unheated garage.

I always protect my plants the first year after buying them, because I know they didn't get the correct care before hand and may not be strong enough to survive winter. If you buy your plants from cobraplants, you know they live outside in winter, and don't need to fuss about them.

Look at this website very carefully. Note the snow and the ice in the saucer. :) He explains winter care well. :)

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