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Phrag schlimii--what did I do wrong?

This is a discussion on Phrag schlimii--what did I do wrong? within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; The water from my mains is very soft and just slightly acid ( 6.8 ) ...

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  1. #11
    phraggy's Avatar
    phraggy is offline Senior Member
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    The water from my mains is very soft and just slightly acid ( 6.8 ) so I'm really fortunate in this respect. I've been watering 24/7 for about a year and the growth has been perfect. This will be almost impossible for indoor growers but please make sure that the roots are always wet with FRESH cool water.
    Best of luck,

    Ed

  2. #12
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    OrchidAddict is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by phraggy View Post
    The water from my mains is very soft and just slightly acid ( 6.8 ) so I'm really fortunate in this respect. I've been watering 24/7 for about a year and the growth has been perfect. This will be almost impossible for indoor growers but please make sure that the roots are always wet with FRESH cool water.
    Best of luck,
    Ed
    Thanks, Ed! We actually have a water softener in our basement, which worries me where my orchids are concerned, since it adds salt to our water. Fortunately (or, unfortunately, depending on your perspective) it doesn't work very well at all, so my husband is always complaining that our water is just too hard. I personally find this hysterical, because I grew up in a house that was built several hundred years ago (the house didn't even have DOORS inside it when we bought it, and all the doors we put in had to be custom-cut to fit in crooked, wonky-sized door frames), and we always had well water. We drank plain, unfiltered, "straight from the ground" well water...which was always a point of contention between my parents and I, since our well was only a few yards away from our cesspool. (You can draw your own conclusions on that one.) I spent 18 years drinking and showering in extremely "hard" water, so it doesn't bother me one bit.

    But my husband grew up spoiled with a very effective water softener, so he wants that "slippery" feel when he showers (which, frankly, creeps me out a bit. I don't want my water to feel slimy).

    Our municipality recently sent a letter to everyone offering us free rain buckets to collect rain water in and use it to water our gardens to conserve water during the summer. I'm going to call and get one of these buckets so I can collect the water all year round and use it to water my orchids in the wintertime, too. It's just too expensive to retroactively install a RO water system in our home, and I have enough orchids that I do a LOT of watering, so buying bottled, distilled water for all my 'chids would break the bank. The rain bucket seems like a good idea.

    It should be easier during the summer to water as well, since our outside hose isn't connected to our water softener, so what comes out of that is plain, unfiltered water. Unfortunately we can't use the hose in the winter, or it will freeze and crack.

    Anyway, following your advice, I recently watered my little phraggy with freezing cold tap water. I sort of held my breath as I dumped the ice-cold water on it...it seemed like such harsh treatment...but wouldn't you know, I swear it looked perkier the next day!! The leaves weren't as droopy! I have it sitting in a little dish of cold water, too, and I have it on a windowsill where it will get at least a good ten degree difference between daytime and nighttime temps. I also put a top dressing of sphagnum moss over the mix it came in. I figure, as long as the moss is somewhat damp to the touch, everything underneath is probably nice and wet. It actually seems quite happy for the moment!

    I'm hoping that our failing water softener isn't putting much salt in the water at all...or at least not enough to bother the plants throughout the wintertime until I can get them on the summertime outdoor hose watering schedule. I've been watering all my 'chids with tap water since I first got them, and they've been doing okay, so I'll keep my fingers crossed. I just know phraggies tend to be VERY picky.

    Do you fertilize your phrags, by the way? I heard they resent fertilizer. I'd be curious to know what you use.

    Thanks, Ed, for all your help! I never would have had the guts to pour ice cold water on an orchid before getting our expert advice!!

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