Orchids forum: Outside Watering

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Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Steven
May 1, 2011 11:39 AM CST
Hope this isn't too silly a question, but what do you all use to water your orchids with when they are outside, thus requiring more water? Do you use the hose? I'm thinking the water from the hose would be too cold, yes? We don't have RO, just a tap with filtered water, I've also read you can use cooled boiled water since the boiling removes alot of the chemicals ect. We have a rain barrel which I know would be the best but it's not set-up yet, so what would be the best choice in the meantime?
Name: Bill
New Windsor, NY (Zone 6b)
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billc
May 1, 2011 12:32 PM CST
Hi Steven, Before my well pump went and I changed over to town water I would use the hose to soak them. If you think the water's too cold, keep some 5 gallon pails full and use the water that's been sitting in them. Since switching to the town water, I now use water collected in a rain barrel. I keep 4 or 5 gallon milk containers full in the house so I always have room temperature water.
Get the rain barrel set up, it's the best thing you can do for your plants!

Bill
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 1, 2011 2:59 PM CST
I agree
Name: Ken
Fredericton, N.B. Canada
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Ironwood
May 1, 2011 6:21 PM CST
A sprayer that is used for staining decks work great for watering in or out. My first choice would be R.O. water but barring that I would get the rain barrel working. No need to boil tap water, you can leave the chlorinated water in an open container for a day or so and the chlorination material should evaporate. Just keep some water in reserve inside and it will be at room temp.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 1, 2011 6:42 PM CST
Ah Ken, Canada must have better water than I do! What you say about the chlorine is true, but our water in So. Cal comes out of the tap chunky with calcium and salts. That is what plugs up the root cells on the plants. We don't get any rain from April to Oct., so when my rain barrels run dry, I have to buy distilled water. I would put in an RO system, if I could find room for it.
Steve, the only way to know if your water is safe for your orchids is to have it tested. What ken said about the chlorine is true, but that isn't the only issue.
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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boojum
May 1, 2011 8:50 PM CST
Yes, I had to get RO filters because I read allowable salt levels in the book Understanding Orchids by William Cullina. He said orchids need water to have TDS (total dissolved solids) below 60ppm (parts per million). I had a water analysis done when we moved here 9 years ago, so when I read that, I checked the analysis and our water was much higher which is okay for human consumption but devastating for orchids. Thus the RO water. Rain water has an average 10-20 TDS. Spring water can have a higher TDS than tap water but distilled is fine.

BTW Steven, there are videos of Ursula and me watering at our homes in Pages. http://cubits.org/orchids/pages/
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Steven
May 1, 2011 10:23 PM CST
Thanks everyone for your imput, I'll re-read this again tomorrow when its not so late. I'm all ears!
Name: Ken
Fredericton, N.B. Canada
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Ironwood
May 1, 2011 10:31 PM CST
Carol, our tap water in many cases won't be any better than what you have presented, that's why I don't recommend it. Steve indicated he was using filtered tap water. Boiling any water would only concentrate the salts.

Many people use Reverse Osmosis systems for their drinking water and the system is quite small usually mounted under kitchen sink.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
May 2, 2011 8:20 AM CST

Moderator

I water mostly with rain-water year around.
Now if I go out of town in Summer ( my Orchids are all outside then), I have our tap-water faucet set on a timer and the sprinkler goes on for say 20 minutes once a day. Our tap water is very hard, but an occasional watering outside with that is not a problem, the next faith-based downpour will wash everything clean.
Here in NJ I don't have to worry about water temperatures in the Summer, it is fine.
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Steven
May 2, 2011 9:45 AM CST
I have filtered water available but I've been using plain tap water and letting it sit out overnight, so would it be better if I used the filtered? Smiling I tend to worry to much about all the little details, I appreciate hearing all your experiences.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
May 2, 2011 10:19 AM CST

Moderator

How is it filtered?
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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boojum
May 2, 2011 12:41 PM CST
There is filtered and there is filtered. Most filters do not filter out salts (Brita, etc.). RO filters do. If you are using this type of filter it would be the same as tap water. Have you ever had a water analysis done?
Name: Bill
New Windsor, NY (Zone 6b)
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billc
May 2, 2011 4:03 PM CST
I have a question for you RO users. How much waste water do you make for each gallon of RO water and what do you do with it?

Bill
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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boojum
May 2, 2011 6:39 PM CST
Never see any, so I guess it runs out of the system before I can see it. I'll have to look in the literature. I think I'm the only one here using RO watering besides Fred who doesn't post lately.
Name: Ken
Fredericton, N.B. Canada
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Ironwood
May 2, 2011 9:07 PM CST
Bill, I have used Reverse Osmosis water for all my indoor plants since Sept 15, 2007 and I think if Kathy was to check way back in DG days she would find I put a little bird in her ear about R.O. systems. My system is considered a Zero Waste system as it returns the waste water back to your water system further down the line. I think typically, without this type of system, they waste about 4 to 6 gallons for every gallon they make. I don't worry about this as I have a ground water heat pump system to heat my house, so I pump out of one well and return the water to second well after it runs through the heating system, so the water for the R.O. systems is not even a drop in the bucket compared to that required by my heat pump system. As it is, I did not hook my R.O. systems as illustrated in manual but returned it to this same second well.

In the nearly 4 years that I have had the R.O. systems I have yet to replace the filters or the membrane, although I do think about it, but procrastination rules and the fact that my TDS meter (Total Dissolved Solids) only shows 2 parts per million. This would be well beyond the recommended time period, but if it ain't broke don't fix it. I have 250 plus orchids and a few other house plants which use about 3 gallons a day, give or take.

I used rain water for some time but it was a lot of hassle for me. Collecting it, carrying it, storing it and the quality many times left a lot to be desired. It is hard to believe how much crud can accumulate on your roof when you have asphalt shingles. If it wasn't a big rain to flush the roof and gutter system then what was collected smelled which got worse in storage and the color of the water could be quite unappealing. I found it caused a great deal of black mold and I developed a lot of bacterial problems.

The few old house plants that have been around for many years have responded very well and look much more vibrant after a few years of R.O. water. So all in all if my R.O. systems blows up tomorrow, I will ordering a new one same day.

Sorry Bill, this rant is a little longer than what you were looking for, but I thought would pass my experience along as well.
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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boojum
May 3, 2011 3:50 AM CST
Sorry for forgetting that you use RO water, Ken!! How soon we forget our mentors! I just changed all the filters because I was seeing white spotting on a few large catt leaves and it had been 2 years. We have very hard water. I used to use rain water as well but with 500 orchids now, I would need a tank and pump like Ursula. The system works great. I probably do waste my well water though. I believe that the plants are much happier with the RO water.
Name: Bill
New Windsor, NY (Zone 6b)
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billc
May 3, 2011 3:50 PM CST
Ken, Thanks for the explanation. It sounds like you're making good use of the waste water.

Bill
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Canadian Roses Seed Starter Tropicals Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Steven
May 4, 2011 2:20 PM CST
Thanks again everyone for your imput, I'm going to do a bit more research on the filtering system we have. Its above average but I'm not sure of all the specifics so I'll look into it Thumbs up
Name: bree
North coast NSW Australia
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Region: Australia Bromeliad Plant and/or Seed Trader Ponds Orchids
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bree
May 5, 2011 3:01 PM CST
I use a small rainwater tank in my greenhouse and then just tap water when there flowering inside my house. My tap water is good though.
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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boojum
May 5, 2011 3:08 PM CST
I'd say you must have good water because your plants look happy, Bree! Big Grin

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