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Calcium supplement hilarity

This is a discussion on Calcium supplement hilarity within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Ok, so I was told one of my orchids needed a calcium supplement, and after ...

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  1. #1
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    Wink Calcium supplement hilarity

    Ok, so I was told one of my orchids needed a calcium supplement, and after hemming and hawing about what to do about it, I finally decided to make a trip to the pet store, where someone had suggested I can actually find lots of stuff orchids like.

    After pondering whether to buy the liquid or solid form of "Repti-Calcium," I finally decided to go with the solid (it was cheaper)...the plan being to get it home and use it as a top-dressing for my calcium-hungry orchid.

    I was expecting chunky stuff...instead, this soft white powder is...well, it's basically super-finely ground classroom chalk. I just spent $6.00 for crap I already have in bulk at home. I could have just run the chalk I bought my kids for $1 at the supermarket through the food processor, and ta-da...I would have had a chunky calcium supplement to mix in with my substrate.

    Instead, I am now literally covered in white dust, because the white powder went flying everywhere (including up my nose) as I tried to distribute some of it across the top of my bark. I have a feeling I ended up dumping way too much in.

    On the bright side, if a random lizard ever makes its home in one of my orchid pots, it certainly won't suffer from a calcium deficiency.

    Anyone got any better ideas on how to give my orchids some calcium? If not, I'll be smashing up some classroom chalk in my kitchen.

  2. #2
    Magnus A's Avatar
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    Have you looked into your water quality?
    Tap water can actually contain more than enough Calcium!
    Your water company should be able to answer questions about the water quality.

    /M

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    Another cheap technique you can clean egg shells, bones crush them make into small pieces and put around the roots

  4. #4
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    Correct me if I am wrong , but I have never heard of Orchids having a Calcium deficiency.
    Here in Barbados our water has a high content of Calcium. So much so that it can be seen as build up on some clay pots.


    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus A View Post
    Have you looked into your water quality?
    Tap water can actually contain more than enough Calcium!
    Your water company should be able to answer questions about the water quality.

    /M

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by angela View Post
    Correct me if I am wrong , but I have never heard of Orchids having a Calcium deficiency.
    Here in Barbados our water has a high content of Calcium. So much so that it can be seen as build up on some clay pots.
    I agree with you Angela! I have myself high Ca and Mg in the tap water.
    If you do not use RO water, or have EXTREMLY low amount of minerals in your water, your orchid probably do not have Ca deficiency.

    Jenn, what species are you worried about?

  6. #6
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    Some Paphs that grow as lithophytes in the wild enjoy a shot of calcium/magnesium, but generally don't complain if they don't get it. My local tap water has plenty.

  7. #7
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    I agree with Zainal. Eggshells are a wonderful source of calcium for plants. I've used them on other plants but never in orchids, because like Angela, I had never heard of calcium deficiency in orchids. I would really like to hear what others have to say on this subject. I'll also visit my water company.

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    Default

    I had a couple of catts that had strange damage only on new growths--rotting from the leaf tip downward. It didn't look like normal rot, didn't include roots and didn't respond to normal rot treatment (but also didn't spread beyond the new growths). I finally found pictures that looked similar on St. Augustine OS's site. They have great pests and diseases information calcium deficiency article.

    I thought about using liquid calcium supplement for blossom rot in tomatoes. . .then I decided my chickens could share some of their crushed oyster shells. Next time Jenn, swing by your local farm supply store. Chicken grit is much less messy. I haven't seen the same problems with new growth, so I'm assuming it helped. . .

  9. #9
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    Jenn; 'Got milk'?................................ AL

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    Strangely this is a myth, milk is not really a good source of calcium both or plants and humans alike, it has much more phosphorus (casein is a phosphoprotein) and the excess phosphorus actually leaches out the calcium. Jenn class room chalks come in different varieties, many have clacium sulphate mixed into them. Calcium sulphate cannot be chelated and so cannot be absorbed by your orchids, make sure you use clacium carbonate supplements and not calcium sulphate. Crushed egg shells are a good option. But I agree unless you are watering with just RO water, your normal water should have plenty of Ca and Mg. The problem could be with the pH of your water. If your water is alkaline how much Calcium it has the it will be unavailable to your orchids. Your water for watering orchids should have a pH between 5.5 to 6.5.
    Quote Originally Posted by orchidsal View Post
    Jenn; 'Got milk'?................................ AL
    Last edited by Halloamey; October 27th, 2012 at 02:02 AM.

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