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  #1  
Old 09-05-2015, 02:13 PM
Ari Ari is offline
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What about water quality? Beginner question
Default What about water quality? Beginner question

I have a difficult situation with our water supply. We live rurally and have our own well. The water from the well is hard. It likely is high in magnesium and calcium. It tastes fine and doesn't have anything like iron in it.

All of our water is softened, even the spigots outside the house. There is one spigot where we can get water directly from the well.

I'm just guessing but our softening would have trace amounts of salt, NaCl. Our untreated well water is hard.

I have made the decision that it's better to give the orchids the well water rather than the softened water. It would be much more convenient to use our tap water but I'll lug gallon jugs from the basement to get the straight well water.

If people think water is a big enough issue, I can also purchase spring water from the store.

Thank you for your kind reply.
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2015, 02:42 PM
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Subrosa Subrosa is offline
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You are correct that your untreated water is preferable to water softened by ion exchange. From a plant's point of view trading calcium or magnesium for sodium is a bad trade. There are definitely going to be orchids you won't be able to maintain with your hard water, but plenty you can. Most mass produced hybrids should be fine, and among what I personally keep Stanhopea alliance are generally not too picky. Brassavola nodosa is considered salt tolerant, since it grows in mangrove swamps.
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Old 09-05-2015, 03:59 PM
Ari Ari is offline
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Thanks for your note about our poor water quality. It might not be a bad idea for me to buy some water at the store. They have osmotically Purified water. We have 5 gallon jugs that can be refilled easily and will cover my plants for a week. Most of my plants tend towards those mass produced, maybe not my P equestris, Im not sure. None of my plants from a mangrove! Thank you!
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:25 PM
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Subrosa Subrosa is offline
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If you're willing to spend money weekly to buy ro water, it would be far more economical to purchase your own unit and produce it yourself. The upfront cost is more, but your cost per gallon will be a small fraction of what you pay buying 5 gal at a time.
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:29 PM
Raqsharqi Raqsharqi is offline
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Rain water is free and can be found locally! ;-)
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2015, 04:38 PM
Ari Ari is offline
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Uh, I've considered that. I'll have to ask my husband.

I don't care to be drinking softened water nor hard water, but I do. Id prefer osmotic as well.. I've just entirely abandoned the notion for spring or filtered water to even drink, myself. I also have a giant Cape Jasmine tree in my house and it uses a lot of water. It uses more water than all my orchids combined. Thank you! I'll look into it!

---------- Post added at 03:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:31 PM ----------

Yeah, rain water. Well, my excuse is that I have not bought a rain barrel and don't otherwise know how to collect 5 gallons per week. Then there is an issue with snow and ice in the Winter and it would be hard to thaw enough snow/ice. Um, I can't think of what to do. It hasn't been raining enough lately to get 5 gallons per week. I guess the easiest, but not the best, method is buying it at the grocery store. Maybe short term we can get it at the store and long term I'll think of other options. Thank you for your good idea! I'm sorry I'm a little torn as what to do. I was a little hoping hard water would be ok but obviously is not. Id rather know now than kill all my orchids. Soft water comes from our tap and is the easiest. Hard water is second easiest. Neither is good and I need to deal with that fact. Thank you again!
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:51 PM
Raqsharqi Raqsharqi is offline
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Ari, I live in the desert, and collecting rain is something easy enough for ME to do. I put out 5 gallon buckets and just let it accumulate. I have over 60 orchids, and I don't think I go through that much water in a week. I dunk them in the same container and off they go. I managed to save enough water in 1, 5, and 10 gallon jugs (including milk jugs) in the winter months to last me through until our summer rains. It's cheap, it doesn't take any work on my part...other than putting jugs out there. The only downside is the containers can be unsightly. We finally got a proper rain barrel and got 65 gallons in one rain! Melting snow isn't such a challenge. Just put a pot of the stuff wherever you keep your orchids. Of course, I don't know where in the US you live. You could be somewhere where it is freezing more often than not, so perhaps you have reason to be reluctant to use rain/melted snow.
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Old 09-05-2015, 05:08 PM
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Wow! A desert! One problem in summer here can be all the bugs that want to breed in the water? Like I don't mind a few moquito larvae in the water, but my husband does! I know for sure that I use 5 gallons per week, because I carry the jugs from the basement to the main floor. I have about 30 orchids and they use 2 gallons but my 2 indoor trees take up about 3 gallons. I live in Minnesota. It is very cold much of the year. There is only snow for many months. You have to be patient with snow because the volume of snow is large compared to the amount of water it makes. When I was a young child I used to take baths in melted snow and it took an entire day to melt all the snow. How could I get enough snow? Wow, I don't know! You could get a very large container you put indoors but we don't have that much room for that and it would be in a common area like our porch. We entertain people there. Um. Yes, we could consider snow. What we don't have right now is anything that holds that amount of water. I'll talk to my husband about it. Thank you for your idea! I will talk to my husband about this problem. I had been just going with hard water because it is so simple but I guess it will eventually kill my plants. I need to update him and we need to discuss new options.
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Old 09-05-2015, 07:53 PM
wintergirl wintergirl is offline
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I have hard well water and use it for most of my orchids except for a few. On masdies and tillandsia I use distilled water bought at 69 cents a gallon. I also grow some butterworts and live moss who also get distilled water. I don't know why you think your hard water will kill your orchids, Mine are doing just fine. I have never killed an orchid yet.

Last edited by wintergirl; 09-05-2015 at 07:55 PM..
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2015, 08:14 PM
Ari Ari is offline
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I am concerned about our hard water because I have heard that if, say, you have a orchid in the same pot for a few years, that the hardness accumulates. I know it does accumulate on things like a coffee pot, a tea pot or my CPAP machine. Even one day with our hard water on my CPAP machine leaves a residue of hardness. For those appliances we do buy distilled water. My trees are going on 15 years in the same pot. Some orchids in bloom have been in the same pot for 4 years. I explained earlier that these tropical trees are so huge that they just can't be managed anymore. One is a Cape Jasmine that was thrown out from the Botany tropical tree sanctuary and that's how I got such a giant tree in my house and it's doing much better than he day it was thrown away. It is in my porch with many of my more cold tolerant orchids. In Winter it can get down to 55F on the porch. Thank you for your post! I have a tilandsia, too but soak that in softened water! Where is the sense in that?
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