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Water Quality: It does make a difference.

This is a discussion on Water Quality: It does make a difference. within the Orchids Which are Exceptionally Sensitive to Water Quality forums, part of the General Information category; Some orchids are exceptionally sensitive to water quality. This sensitivity will effect how the plant ...

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  1. #1
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Default Water Quality: It does make a difference.

    Some orchids are exceptionally sensitive to water quality. This sensitivity will effect how the plant grows and blooms. Based on your growing experience, what orchid plants need special water conditions to grow and bloom? As you answer this topic, please keep in mind & let us know where you live and the type of water local to you. Help out the new growers by listing plants and their water requirements based on mineral content, pH level, etc... Do you use RO (reverse osmosis) water? If so, why; further, on which plants?

    Cheers!
    BD

  2. #2
    magooba is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks BD. a good idea. I'm using a municipal water supply. This will deffinately have lime, fluorine and chlorine !! I'm distilling water using a kettle and catching the steam in a large zip-lock bag !!
    J

  3. #3
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    Disas have very strict water requirements. I think out of all orchid species (at least those I grow and/or have read about). I would like to try these out, but sources are few and far-between.

    I've also found that out of all the orchids I grow, the Miltoniopsis seem to HATE my tap water full of calcium and lime. I catch rain water for them. When I fertilize them, it's always at 1/4 strength with half rain/half tap water for buffering. I've never tested the pH, but the TDS is somewhere around 200. They seem to be pretty much ok with this.

  4. #4
    Shaydra is offline Senior Member
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    Hmm. When I still lived in Michigan with just the two catts, I'd go fill up a gallon jug from my mom's unfiltered well-water tap. Lots of minerals in there! Enough that the jug was eventually stained orange-brown. When I fertilized, I'd use city tap water, which you could faintly smell the chlorine, but not so bad..

    Since I've moved to Omaha, it's tap water all the way. Here, I definitely smell the chlorine and you know there's always the flourine.. since it leaves nice white blotches on everything and eventually turns solid and crunchy on my shower-head, I'd say there's a pretty good calcium &/or lime content here, too. Initially shocking to the new plants, but with a tiny trace of fertilizer and some attention, they adapt and seem to be fine. Just have to wipe off the white spots from the leaves on occasion. If I start having trouble, I'll probably flip to distilled from the store + a bit more fertilizer.

    No clue on the pH. Tap water here isn't like visiting Los Angeles (where you get Montezuma's revenge if you drink it without acclimation). ... I know my work-daisy is mistreated with nasty drinking fountain water... for some reason this smells like the bathroom here.

  5. #5
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    I used tap water for all my plants: catt, phal, ang, paph, masd. I live in NYC, the water quality is very good. I tested the ph for our water, it is 6.8. I usually fertilize the plants with 1/4 strengh, but the ph for the fertilizer solution dropped to 6, then I add the same amount of Pro-tek as the fertilizer to raise the ph back to 6.8.

    Qing

  6. #6
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    I use the same water on all of my plants, catts, paphs, phrags, phals, dends and the odd intergenic. That's not to say that they wouldn't like something better than Southern California tap water. But they survive. I do not use as much fertilizer as most people, mainly because of the problem of having the time to water and then next day go back and fert. I do use distilled water for my humidfier - ultrasonic - to keep it from generating that nasty white dust - and yes, I do have the filtered kind, but they still generate white dust.

    The phrags are probably most unhappy with the water, followed by the paphs. The phals don't seem to mind at all, and the catts are okay with it as long as they get fed once in a while and a flushing out every so often.

    Oh - and as for using RAIN water - what's rain???

  7. #7
    GiovannaD is offline Senior Member
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    I had been using tap water here in Athens (ph at 6.5-6.8), where it is enriched with chlorine and contains A LOT of lime. I noticed a few stains on the leaves and some residue on the aerial roots of my phals, which eventually dries them out starting from the tips and moving up. Later on I discovered that only older roots die off due to the residue and that new roots grow without any problems.
    I occasionally top up the s/h containers with rainwater (ph originally at 6.5, buffered down to 6-5.8) and fertilize. Surely there's some difference between tap and rain water that the plants respond to, but I'll know for sure in another 6 months.

  8. #8
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    There was R/O water at the house I lived in when I started growing so installed a 2-gallon unit in my greenhouse when I built it because I read early on that mineral build up on the roots could be fatal. My local water is full of minerals (so brown and smelly and yucky tasting I'm embarrassed to give it my dog). Do I still need to flush periodically with R/O water? And -eeek! - I haven't been pre-watering before fertilizing, how bad is that?

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    In the UK the use of waterbutts( large plastic containers) is very popular.These catch rain from the down pipes from the guttering.The roofing materials in the UK is mostly inert( slates , concrete etc) so no impurities leech into the water.
    The rainwater has a PH of about 6.8 to 7 & about is about 7ppm.
    Basically ideal for general orchid cultivation. When i add fert it is specially formulated for rainwater so does not alter the PH much , i also use organic ferts these tend to lower the PH by .5 but still ok for most of my 'chids.
    The really problamtic plants for me seem to be Zygo,s , i just can,t grow them successfully , water quality isn,t the issue.

  10. #10
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    The county water here is yuck . I try and catch rainwater and store in trash cans . If it does not rain then it is Ro. water . Fert. is for rain water , I don't prewater , they can't eat with their roots full of plain water .
    The mist fan is connected to a tap it leaves a white coating on the leaves without getting them wet it is set low to the floor but still cruds the leaves .
    Gin

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