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  #21  
Old 01-29-2019, 07:52 PM
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To flush LECA medium with tap water or reverse osmosis water? Female
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Originally Posted by Ray View Post

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If you use RO for watering and feeding, then use your hard water for flushing, you're defeating the purpose of flushing, to some degree.

If you don't want to flush (I've not done a separate flushing in 20 years), consider following my approach:
  • feed low-concentration fertilizer solution at every watering ("low concentration" will be defined by your watering frequency)
  • always fill the pot rapidly to the top and let it drain, accomplishing feeding, watering, and flushing at once. If you still want to do a periodic plain water flush, use the RO.

Precipitates on the medium can, indeed, poison the plant. When they get wet, some of those solids redissolve, raising the solution concentration in the medium. The more extensive the buildup, the worse it is, and, if a newly-emerging root comes in contact with the mineral deposits, the tips will die and the roots stop growing.

Also, unless the pH was SO high that it resulted in the creation of odd dissolved radicals (which is unlikely), your plant can still absorb anything in solution. Read this.
Ray, I have indeed read the link you sent me lol. It comes up on Google search!
I use RO for feeding and watering...I don't exactly see how using pure RO water to flush, leaving only trace elements behind would defeat the purpose vs tap water that would leave lots of elements lol.
I already use a very diluted solution of fertilizer because all but two of my plants are in self watering pots. I use jacks classic orchid mix (can't remember the numbers off the top of my head but it's easy to find and Im at work so, sorry lol) I cut the lowest recommendation (1/4 tsp per gallon) in half. I recently added some calmag to this last watering to see if I can't help jumpstart the ones I set back last year. I also adjusted the PH because when I checked the water I was using it was 9.something...I think at that level only 3 nutrients are being absorbed according to the information I've read on it recently. I can explain further later if you need me to, but for now it's back to this matted poodle lol. Thanks everyone for the information, it's been more than helpful.
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  #22  
Old 01-29-2019, 08:23 PM
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To flush LECA medium with tap water or reverse osmosis water?
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I apparently misunderstood the series of posts. I thought you were inquiring about tap water flushing...
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  #23  
Old 01-29-2019, 11:12 PM
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To flush LECA medium with tap water or reverse osmosis water? Female
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Ray - Originally, yes my question was whether I should continue using it to flush since I had discovered the ppm was over 600. Since I've asked and read the replies, I've decided the using the RO water would ultimately be better to use as opposed to my tap water. Until today, and now Im wondering if it's neccessary at all. And also you threw that curve ball at me saying the tap would be better than RO because I use the RO to water regularly. Questions always seem to lead to more questions lol.

---------- Post added at 08:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:59 PM ----------

I'm just getting home, I am going to take the time to re read that link Ray sent me tonight. I do appreciate all the info you all have given, on topic and off lol. If anyone has any specific questions that might help you help me, just let me know and Im happy to answer the best I can. I just want to have happy and healthy plants, they make me smile every day and I want to return the favor 🙂 I already did a flush with RO on Saturday so I've got another month to decide if I need to continue doing it, and what to flush with if I do keep it up.
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  #24  
Old 01-29-2019, 11:26 PM
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To flush LECA medium with tap water or reverse osmosis water? Male
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Here in AZ with very mineralized water of high pH, there are several ways around these problems.

pH of 8.5-9 just doesn't work for most orchids. Not many nutrients will be absorbed. Testing with an aquarium pH kit for high pH, you can try adding a tablespoonful of regular white vinegar to a gallon of your water, checking the pH, then repeating until you have something around 7. From that point forward add that amount of vinegar to each gallon of tap water you use.

You didn't describe what kind of self-watering system you use. Some of them suck up water from below, then evaporate it from the surface. Others (Ray's semi-hydroponic system, for example) provide water from above, but still evaporate mostly from the top. The problem is mineral buildup on the medium surface. This can be minimized by not allowing the medium to go completely dry, or by watering from above, frequently. With Ray's S/H method one can water from above frequently - daily or more would not be a problem. Also, with Ray's system, one should completely fill the entire container at each watering, displacing all the air.

If the medium never dries completely, and you flush through from the top frequently, you will have much less trouble with salt buildup in media.

Most desert cacti, by the way, do better with high-mineral, high-pH water. They are much less susceptible to various fungi this way. Most house plants do not like high pH and high mineral content. This is why so many develop brown leaf tips - the water evaporates and salts concentrate there, killing the cells. The dead zone moves back towards the leaf stalk as the distal parts of the leaf die successively due to high salts in the water.

For a couple of months I've been using my 600-1200 ppm water with a spray system for my orchids for most waterings. I will hand water with R/O about once a month. It's been working OK so far.

I forgot to add at first that using R/O, rain or distilled water allows relatively easy control of most water factors. A type of fertilizer called MSU (for Michigan State University) is formulated two ways: One for well/tap water, one for pure water. Each formulation contains various minerals that yield a reasonable pH when used with the expected type of water.

I collect and save rain. Look into that - during a summer monsoon storm I can easily collect 400 gallons of rain in an hour. I use 12, 33-gallon lidded plastic trash barrels to store water in my sunroom. I use a sump pump to move it from the stock tank outside under my rainspouts into the sunroom.
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Last edited by estación seca; 01-29-2019 at 11:39 PM..
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  #25  
Old 01-30-2019, 12:17 AM
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To flush LECA medium with tap water or reverse osmosis water? Female
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray View Post

If you use RO for watering and feeding, then use your hard water for flushing, you're defeating the purpose of flushing, to some degree.

[/URL]

I just realized that I misunderstood what you were saying here. I took this as, if I use RO to water then I should use tap water to flush otherwise it would defeat the purpose. Now that I'm going through this again I can see you actually mean the opposite lol. My bad, my dyslexia was showing 😂 Now Im less confused!

---------- Post added at 09:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:31 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
Here in AZ with very mineralized water of high pH, there are several ways around these problems.

pH of 8.5-9 just doesn't work for most orchids. Not many nutrients will be absorbed. Testing with an aquarium pH kit for high pH, you can try adding a tablespoonful of regular white vinegar to a gallon of your water, checking the pH, then repeating until you have something around 7. From that point forward add that amount of vinegar to each gallon of tap water you use.

You didn't describe what kind of self-watering system you use. Some of them suck up water from below, then evaporate it from the surface. Others (Ray's semi-hydroponic system, for example) provide water from above, but still evaporate mostly from the top. The problem is mineral buildup on the medium surface. This can be minimized by not allowing the medium to go completely dry, or by watering from above, frequently. With Ray's S/H method one can water from above frequently - daily or more would not be a problem. Also, with Ray's system, one should completely fill the entire container at each watering, displacing all the air.

If the medium never dries completely, and you flush through from the top frequently, you will have much less trouble with salt buildup in media.

Most desert cacti, by the way, do better with high-mineral, high-pH water. They are much less susceptible to various fungi this way. Most house plants do not like high pH and high mineral content. This is why so many develop brown leaf tips - the water evaporates and salts concentrate there, killing the cells. The dead zone moves back towards the leaf stalk as the distal parts of the leaf die successively due to high salts in the water.

For a couple of months I've been using my 600-1200 ppm water with a spray system for my orchids for most waterings. I will hand water with R/O about once a month. It's been working OK so far.
As far as testing and controlling the PH, for my orchids I purchased a meter that you put in the water and it gives you a digital reading. I also have an aquarium so I also have a test kit for that, but it's not the kind with the strips. It's the chemistry set kind that comes with little flasks you mix the aquarium water and the chemicals they provide to test things like PH, ammonia, nitrogen, ect... While that's accurate and convenient for my aquarium, it's not quite so convenient for testing multiple orchid pots lol. I also purchased PH up and PH down meant for hydroponics to control the levels. (I don't add it directly to the pots, but adjust the PH to the gallon I mix for watering/ feeding)

I have two types of self watering pots. Some have the cone that goes down into the water and some have wicks that hang into the water. The LECA seems to react the same for both types of pots as far as how moist it stays, only the very top layer dries out but everything below stays moist. When I water, I do it from above and through the media. As of right now, the reservoirs are large enough that I really don't need to water more than every three weeks to a month. I know that will likely change when summer comes. Every few days I might also mist the top layer and any air roots with plain RO water. Looking at everyone right now and only two of the pots have a little bit of build up on a few pebbles. One is my encyclia adenocaula so I don't really think that's a surprise since it's one of my first orchids and I set it back a bit last year. And it should be in its dormancy right now (That is a whole different thread, it's really not acting the way I've read it should right now because it's also working on a new growth lol. Yes, I'm giving it water because it seems to be active) The other is my baptistonia echinata, again Im not surprised, it's also another I got early on and it's also suffered some set back due to my lack of knowledge early on. They both lost most of their roots when I repotted them originally into semi hydro. I shortly after found that the self watering pots were similar enough to the semi hydro system and much easier for me to maintain so I made the switch to that. Since then they have struggled but both now have new growths, the baptistonia actually is working on a second new growth and has new roots coming in. Anyways, the point is both of the pots I have buildup in have plants with a comprised root system. It would make sense that they aren't able to absorb all the nutrients therefore leaving some behind.

It sounds like you keep your plants differently than mine. Im happy to hear that you've found a way to use your water. I'm not sure I'm going to have that luxury unless I change my entire setup again.... which I've actually considered. There are just so many ways to keep orchids, I do love how easy the self watering setup I have now is... but I find myself asking if it's better for the orchids, or just me lol. I am really interested in keeping them mounted or in baskets, but the amount of water I would need ro sustain that setup is intimidating. Especially because I am scared to share water!

I already planned on taking advantage of monsoon season 😉 great tip, thanks!

Last edited by OrchideeNormus; 01-30-2019 at 11:04 AM..
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  #26  
Old 01-30-2019, 12:57 AM
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To flush LECA medium with tap water or reverse osmosis water? Female
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Back to Ray -
After reading your link I remember why I didn't consider it too strongly to begin with. I'm not in any way trying to be rude, just honest, firstly the chart in the article is really difficult for me to understand. I look at it and it's like trying to read hieroglyphics lol. Secondly, and most importantly, it doesn't pertain to me at all because I use LECA as a media (it even states that in the end). Just so you have the peace of mind that I am actively trying to understand how and why PH is important and I'm finding information that applies to the way I have things set up...I did come across a YouTube channel, Rick L. Orchids that has given me a plethora of information that's right up my ally. I have observed how most of you feel about YouTube channels so I'm expecting a bit of flack over this, but before anyone says anything negative about this one, please just check it out first lol. He's not Miss Orchid Girl! Rick is an old school hydroponics grower and honestly was the first one to be able to help me understand the subject. He even provided in one of his videos this nifty PH chart that is based on hydroponic growing and specific to orchids. I took a screen shot of this chart for easy reference so I'll share it with you. I am certain this is already information that you know, like I said before, just want you to know that I am (hopefully) finding good information out there that fits my personal needs.
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  #27  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:01 AM
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Norm - Whatever chart you look at, my point is the same: if the ion is IN SOLUTION, it is very likely that it CAN be absorbed by the plant. The pH is not particularly relevant to that with most solutions.
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  #28  
Old 01-30-2019, 11:01 AM
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To flush LECA medium with tap water or reverse osmosis water? Female
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Norm - Whatever chart you look at, my point is the same: if the ion is IN SOLUTION, it is very likely that it CAN be absorbed by the plant. The pH is not particularly relevant to that with most solutions.
Okay that's good to know. The input is much appreciated, thank you 🙂
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