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Go Back   Orchid Board - Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web ! > ORCHID DISCUSSIONS > Beginner Discussion
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  #1  
Unread 10-27-2012, 10:04 AM
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Default Easy ways to make hard water softer

I live in England and the water here is hard so when i had one orchid i would used bottled water to water it in combination with fertilizer however now i have a few more orchids and its starting to get expensive. Is there any cheap ways to make the water softer :S...i try collecting rainwater but funnily enough it hasn't rained properly in some time. I NEED WATER NOW please any advice
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  #2  
Unread 10-27-2012, 10:26 AM
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One cheap way to get pure water when you can't install a reverse osmosis system in your home, is to find a hobbyist wine/beer maker store. They usually have huge RO systems to sell pure water on the cheap to people making homemade wine.
A store near my place would filter 20 gallons for less than 5$.

Brita filters would also help, but only partially and I have no idea to which degree.

My water is fine for most orchids, but I got myself some pleurothallids that love pure water so I got myself this Nimbus Water Store - WaterMaker Mini RO System
Shipping was expensive and I might just go to the wine store instead when I need to change the filter, but it's great for appartent dwellers who can't hook huge systems to the plumbing
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  #3  
Unread 10-27-2012, 01:12 PM
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Has anyone tried using distilled water? I've read that it's good for the orchids but I've yet to try that. Mine get watered with filtered water from my Zero Water Pitcher. I had an Anthurium house plant a few years ago that was watered with regular tap water and there were always mineral deposits on the pot! Not going that route with my orchids that's for sure
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  #4  
Unread 10-27-2012, 01:49 PM
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Thank you sithwitch . jen.kirsten distilled water is bad apparently because it takes away calcium and magnesium and adds sodium to the water which is actually worse..thats what i heard. I just use bottled water but its becoming expensive and getting the reverse osmosis filter fitted in is with too expensive. I read that boiling water isn't all that good because it gets rid of oxygen and can only help if water is temporarily hard. Hmmm does anyone know if hard tap water can be tolerated by Bellatulums? since they like calcium in their soil...this is hardddd
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  #5  
Unread 10-27-2012, 02:06 PM
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Actually, distilled water ends up pretty much mineral free (so wikipedia tells me XD)
So it should be fine for orchids, however I have no idea if it might actually leech out some minerals from the orchids eventually if not supplemented with some fertilizer often enough. It's why it's not considered a good idea to drink too much distilled water.
And moonsful, depending on how hard the water is (and that you mean a paphiopedilum bellatulum), if you are careful to REALLY flush water through when you water it, the minerals might not build upin the media to a toxic point... I think? Just trying to remember stuff I read elsewhere on the Board really hehe.
Hopefully someone more knowlegdable comes by

And yep, sometimes this hobby is hard, but hey, if none of us wanted a bit of challenge, we'd all be on the Peace Lily Board XD
Susie11 and cbuchman like this.
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  #6  
Unread 10-27-2012, 02:33 PM
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I get my water in the large blue bottles that people use when they don't want to drink tap water. It costs me $1.50 or so to fill 5 gallons and it is reverse osmosis water, but I add the nutrients back that my plants need.

P.S. I get the water from out front of my grocery store around the corner. Maybe you have a similar situation near you?
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  #7  
Unread 10-27-2012, 06:03 PM
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One thing I sometimes do is fill empty plastic juice bottles with rain water and freeze it. We have lots of rain here in the winter but very little in the summer, so this works well for me. But you would need to have a freezer.
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  #8  
Unread 10-27-2012, 08:46 PM
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Distilled water and RO water are both essentially mineral-free. Few orchids need it that pure, but you'll be adding some fertilizer fairly often, right? No need to worry about it leaching anything out if you are adding in fertilizer as you should. You can also blend in a small portion of your unsoftened tap water to bring the cost down a bit without making it too hard.

But DO NOT use softened water except as a last resort. That is where you do get calcium and magnesium replaced by sodium by the ion exchange resin in the softener unit, even worse for your orchids than the hard water.

Freezing hard water does remove quite a bit of the hardness. You will see a white residue settled out of the water after it melts. That is the minerals that make it hard. Just filter it out soon after it thaws (don't let the water sit and begin to re-dissolve it), and make sure to let the water come to room temperature before you use it. This is probably the cheapest alternative if you have the freezer space.
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  #9  
Unread 10-27-2012, 09:13 PM
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I never thought of freezing hard water! That's a great idea!
Where we live now, the water is soft enough for almost everything I grow. I was freezing rain water for my phrag, but found out I don't have to, and my masd. I think the masd likes it. Our water is mostly melted snow from mountains, but there is some lake water too.
Where we used to live, the water was very heavy mineral. I used to use r/o water or frozen rain.

Last edited by Vanda lover; 10-27-2012 at 09:16 PM..
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  #10  
Unread 10-27-2012, 11:13 PM
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I think a lot of pet stores now carry RO water, you might want to try one close to you....Jean
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