Q/A #12 - Flytraps with Smaller Growth in Winter

January 6, 2023

Q/A #12 - Flytraps with Smaller Growth in Winter

I'm growing two Red Dragon Flytraps and a King Henry Flytrap. They are in a cold frame since it's winter, did it last year as well and it was fine. They get artificial light on cloudy days, distilled water, and are in the temperate carnivorous plant mix you guys sell. I've had the King Henry for one year and the other two for 8 months. I live in Seattle, Washington. 

During the summer, I began noticing abnormal and extremely smaller growth on the King Henry Flytrap. I soon realized that they had aphids and used neem oil every 7 days for about a month and a half. It's been about 3 months since I've seen much new growth and am very worried that they are a lost cause now. I want to also add that I still find 1 or 2 small aphids on one of them every week when i check up on them. I used a makeup brush to brush and killed them. 
(Submitted in January 2020.)

Red Dragon Flytrap

Red Dragon Flytrap

King Henry Flytrap

First, I appreciate the photos, but take photos under white light. I can't really make out anything useful under the purple LED lights. 

During the growing season, using the Neem was appropriate if they had aphids, but that shouldn't be much of an issue in winter. You mentioned that you have the plants in an unheated cold frame. Your plants would have experienced some frost by now, which would have killed off the aphids from summer. Without seeing a photo of what you've been brushing off of the plants, it's hard to say what it was, but aphids in winter is highly unlikely unless the cold frame is heated.  (Cold frames by definition are unheated, so I have to go by what you tell me.)

Also, using the artificial light in winter if the plants are in a greenhouse is unnecessary, and could even be detrimental since it could be interfering with their normal light cycle. I recommend discontinuing the use of this for winter and let the get only natural light. This is what would be happening in nature, and temperatures in the Carolinas are not much different than the Northwest in winter. (We grow our flytraps outdoors in Oregon.)

Your plants may be just fine. Venus Flytraps often look poor in winter since they lose many of their leaves in winter. They often drop their upright leaves and have just a few traps that lay close to the soil. Red Dragon Flytraps, however, often drop all of their leaves and rest just under the soil.  

If you are concerned about their viability, you can take them out of the soil and inspect the bulb-like rhizome. If they are nice and white with roots coming down, your plants are fine. Just take the opportunity to transplant to fresh soil. This is a good time of year to do it. If they are brown, or tops are brown and soft in any way, they are on their way out. Not much you can do. 

For Venus flytraps in the Northwest I recommend leaving them outside if you can and only use the cold frame during hard winter cold spells. It benefits them to be out in the elements and to be rained on. Less issues with fungus that way.

Submitted in January 2020. The original question and response have been edited for publication.
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