Author: Tiong Soon, Kuala Lumpur
Edited By: David
Date: 22 December 2006
Venus Flytraps require a period of dormancy or rest every 1-2 years. In its first 2-3 years it will continue to grow. However, after a while its traps will grow smaller, petioles go shorter and broader (these are the autumn leaf) and the speed of its traps closing slows down. It will then stop producing new leaves. These are the signs that the plant is preparing to go into dormancy.
Normally, in our tropical climate, changes in the weather from hot sunny days to long cool rainy days may ‘trigger’ the plant into dormancy.
During this time, reduce watering and remove the water tray underneath the pot. Don’t water it unless the top peat/media is dry. When you water, just give it enough water to wet the peat/media, keep it just damp. Place the pot in a bright place (not hot). If you grow it outdoor, move it to a bright place where it won’t get direct sunlight and rain. Let it be there for at least a month or two.
After two months of rest if the plant does not show any signs of coming out of dormancy, you may give it a “morning wake-up call” by repotting the plant into new media. Normally I’ll change new potting mix, peat/perlite, ratio can be 1:1 or 2:1 or in between (you may substitute perlite with river sand, but make sure you wash it several times to flush away the minerals in it). Pure sphagnum moss is fine too. After repotting, water it thoroughly until the water drains out from the bottom; place the pot at the same location when it was in dormancy. Transfer it to full sunlight after two days and treat it like how you would during its growing stage.
I would not advise trying the cold dormancy method in the tropics as the chances of killing your plant is very high, unless you have extra plants to spare and you want to experiment. A lot of articles on the World Wide Web advise placing your Venus flytrap in the fridge for dormancy. This is a big risk for plants grown in our tropical climate. Venus flytraps does not appreciate a sudden change of temperature from as low as just a few degrees Celsius (in the refrigerator) to as hot as 20 something or 35 degrees Celsius when it is taken out of the refrigerator. You will find that the plant will show no sign of growth and will eventually rot and die. The plant is very weak at this time and the shock of extreme temperature change does not help. In fact in the natural habitat, the temperature gets warmer gradually.
Not all the cultivation information from the Internet is applicable to the cultivation of these plants in our tropical climate. I have lost a lot of my “pet” Venus flytraps including many different forms in the past. How I wish that someone had shared their experiences with me when I just started cultivating Venus flytraps. Hope this information helps.