1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Calling all Orchid enthusiast

Discussion in 'Live Plants' started by pirminiamac, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Dovey

    Dovey Arachnobaron Active Member

    Advertisement
    I am not at all disagreeing with you regarding hard water not being ideal. That being said, before I purchased a distilling system for home use, every orchid I own (and there are many of all the major groups) lived off of the hardest, most alkali desert well water you can imagine--I'm talking off the chart as far as my pond and pool test kit are concerned, well above PH 10! And wouldn't you know it, the little blighters did great! Bloomed like blooming idiots! Actually did better in my east-facing sonoran windowsill than they did in East Texas with lovely soft water and humid air. Go figure. Orchids can be a bit perverse. I'm sure there is quite a lot of buffering calcium carbonate or something along those lines in our well water, but I finally got tired of scraping and scrubbing white mineral stains off the sides of my terrariums and aquariums. Now they get 3/4 distilled, 1/4 well water. Still doing great.

    I have found, however, that it really depends upon where you live and how you have potted up your orchids as to what is likely to kill them. I've dried out a lot more orchids than I've ever drowned. For a long time I went with very rough chunk orchid medium and classic orchid pots with lots of holes. Too effective a drainage system! This does not do well in the South or Southwest if one tends to water once or twice a week, as I do. Now I use a much finer chunk medium and give them a really good drenching, even letting some water sit in the bottom for an hour before I drain it out. I've done much better with "containers within containers," such as you have, than I ever did with the classical Orchid pots, which allow all the moisture to drain out of the bottom or evaporate out of the sides. I love my traditional Orchid pots, but I've gone back and lined them all with water-resistant burlap. No losses since I limited the drainage somewhat.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  2. schmiggle

    schmiggle Arachnoprince Active Member

    That is very interesting, and good to know. There are many orchids adapted to hypermafic soils, but the chances that all of yours were by coincidence are quite low.
     
  3. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    A pH above 10 isn't water, it's caustic solution. Don't know about orchids but with water like that your half way there to raising blue-green algae.
     
  4. Dovey

    Dovey Arachnobaron Active Member

    Tell me about it! My koi would go into shock if they actually experienced neutral water. Blue green algae is a constant enemy, and only a good ultraviolet filter has kept them well! You ought to see this salty, chalky sludge that comes out of my distilling system when the water has boiled through. There honestly must be an awful lot of buffer in the form of natural calcium carbonate or some such thing for fish and plants to be able to survive with the alkalinity of the water that comes out of our well.
     
  5. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    Your well is probably sitting on or has penetrated a dome. It would be interesting to have the water tested. CaCo3 and manganese comes to mind.
    How about kissing off the fish, upping the pH and raising blue green? Strong demand for the stuff as a nutritional supplement. :confused:

    A friend of mine near here had well water on a maganese bearing clay dome. Chewed his pipes to shreds. Water dripping out of the walls, buying a new pump every 6 months.

    Are you on an alluvial plane?
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  6. Dovey

    Dovey Arachnobaron Active Member

    Nope. Sonoran Desert foothills. We probably ought to get our well checked. Some people in the area have pulled up a lot of arsenic from their Wells. As to tearing up pipes and so forth, we just replaced the guts of a Pool Spa that was only a few years old. The repairman said high levels of chlorine had torn it up. I wonder if it was actually the alkalinity of our water?
     
  7. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    Chlorine will do that. Both corrode and oxidize. My bet is a dome. Which pretty much means you're stuck with that water. If you get the culprit identified you can take measures to mitigate it. Ion chambers, chemical treatment, membranes and so forth. But all are costly. You definitely want to rule out arsenic and certain other metals.