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Water beads?

This is a discussion on Water beads? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello everyone, I came across an article suggesting the use of water beads when you ...

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  1. #1
    kdennis14's Avatar
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    Question Water beads?

    Hello everyone,
    I came across an article suggesting the use of water beads when you are going away for more than a week. What in the world are they?? How do they work?? What do they look like?? and are they safe?

    Thanks y'all.
    Karen

  2. #2
    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    Probably sodium polyacrylate, very water absorbant polymer, 90% or more water when fully hydrated. Most of the water is available to plant roots. They look like a plastic bead when dry, and like a much larger sphere of gelatin when wet. Naturally colorless, you often find them with colors added to be more decorative in glass vases for cut flowers or in craft projects. Harmless when used properly, but I would question their use with any orchids that don't like to stay wet. You can get the same product in powdered rather than bead form, often used by mixing in potting soil. For orchids the bead form probably makes sense, but either way once it is in the potting mix you aren't going to get it out, so it isn't really useful as a short-term one week away situation.

  3. #3
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    Thank you Kirk,
    That's not what I want to do then. We would like to go away, however... I have NO one to water my babies for me.
    Thank you for replying.
    Karen

  4. #4
    78Terp's Avatar
    78Terp is offline An Avant Gardner
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    Check with some local plant nurseries and see if they board plants. Is there a local orchid society? They may help.

    ---------- Post Merged at 03:45 PM ----------

    What types of orchids do you have? Quite a few can take it for a week easy. Others (paphs and phrags and other moist loving) not so much.

    How long do you want to travel for?

  5. #5
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    If you are only going away for a week or two, water your plants really well before you leave. Move them to a spot indoors that is low stress - maybe somewhat lower light than their usual location. Then, don't worry about them. If you mostly grow the typical epiphytic orchids (catts, Phals, Oncidiums), they will be fine. However, if you have one of the slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium), you may need to leave them with a friend, relative, neighbor who can follow watering directions.

    Put it in perspective - think of all the orchids that are out there in the big-box stores and don't get proper water for months on end. They seem to survive even after all that time.

  6. #6
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    Hello Harvey,
    I live in a small town in central Fl. We do not even have any nurseries that are worth 2 hoots. I have cats, oncidium, and phals. We would be gone for about 10 days.
    Thanks again Harve.
    Karen

    Catt Mandu,
    Thank you as well. You really made me feel better. Ha!!!! Not worry ?? They are my babies, can't help but worry.
    Thank you so much !!

  7. #7
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    Water them, put them somewhere out of bright light on humidity trays. The humidity trays will help some for a while, but they'll be fine. I wouldn't restrict air movement, as that can cause fungal infections and rot, they are better off thirsty. Tiny mini orchids may not do too well for that long, but the normal ones will be fine. I often forget to water mine for ten days at a time!

  8. #8
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    Carol,
    Thank you so much.

  9. #9
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    Catt and Carol give good advice. Just water them well and leave them in cooler temps. They will slow down and do just fine.

  10. #10
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    Harvey,
    I want to learn everything I can. Where can I go to learn learn learn!! I remember you asking me if I could open PDF files, I can.
    I NEED to learn all there is..
    Thank you my friend,
    Karen

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