watering water

Palm_shadeMay 10, 2013

Hi, a curiosity I have is which type of water would be better for palms, mainly areca also palour kentia, I live in a hard water area, I usually use tap water but left over night but I think it will still contain salts? Ive decided to start using bottled water (mineral) is that a good idea or am I achieving nothing? Also how good would distilled or filtered water be?

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Personally not a lot of experience with palms but...

Rainwater is something that I trap when I can to water everything with. Have a bad blowout in the old gutters with a big outdoor kinda garbage can under the worst spot.

As far as I'm concerned,tap water is poison. :)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 7:34AM
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Yeah rain water would be perfect I might try and capture some but I think ill need a funnel and things but I wont be able to get a lot, im not sure how good or bad mineral water might be.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:33AM
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Just did a quick google and it looks like mineral water is a no no. I wouldn't use it on my plants....heck I don't even like the taste of the stuff! LOL

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:00AM
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Ah ok, so I should really only use rain or distilled water thanks.
How long do you keep your rain water for before you chuck it for fresher?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:16AM
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It's a big garbage can under the gutter. Holds a lot of water so I imagine it usually has a fair bit in it that I will be scooping out and using in a watering can or something handy. As to chucking it,I doubt that age will make it any worse for the plant unless some weird science experiment broke loose in there(which I highly doubt will happen anytime soon).

To be honest with you,at times when I'm in a pinch and am out of rain,I have used tap water ...but I avoid it when I can.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:51AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

You don't want to breed mosquitoes, keep an eye on the water for wigglers, mosquito larvae. They live in the water until mature enough to fly away and can be killed by simply not being in water anymore (used on plants or just dumped anywhere.) Even if I don't see any, no standing water should be left for a full week. When it's warm, that's enough time for the process to complete, from hatching to flying away.

If it's going to rain, I go dump all of the old water, so I know I have 6 days for the new water, and that it IS new water.

If I've been blessed with more than I can use in that time, I store as much of it as I can in milk/laundry soap/bleach/whatever jugs with a lid. It could be the lid that came with it, foil, pantyhose, anything that will keep mosquitoes from being able to get in. That will prevent any maturing hatchlings from flying away, thus suffocating, drowning, or starving, and any mature flyers from depositing any new eggs. I prefer to use the lids that came with, breathing stagnant water will grow slimy, smelly algae.

If there is some type of screen preventing mosquitoes from accessing the water, it won't get wigglers in it. Some people put those mosquito dunk things in their water, but I don't want another responsibility I have to remember, the expense of buying them, and have about 10 different things that catch water from the back of a shed, all different sizes. Also, that seems like defeating the whole purpose of obtaining chemical free water, and I don't want our dog drinking that stuff. That could fail if I forget or do it wrong, dumping is for sure.

I use some tap water, especially in winter, but do try to use the rain water while they're outside. Rain water is PH balanced, while tap water is usually not.

Distilled water is fine if you have few enough plants for bought water, probably the least expensive bought-water option. Filtered may or may not be desirable, depending on the filtering process used. Unless it removes all of the stuff that's potentially harmful to plants, there's no point in using that or spending the extra money.

Not all plants care about what kind of water you use, so if one has a large collection but limited/unreliable/seasonal water-collection abilities, it might be very helpful to prioritize the water for the sensitive plants.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Hi Purp!

If mosquitoes present a problem in a rain water barrel I have an easy answer. A goldfish purchased at walmart for less than a dollar will eat up any larva long before metamorphosis occurs.

Not to mention that I have been know to leave out water jars in the HOPES of getting some larva to feed to my bettas(bettas LOVE mosquitoes!). :)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Well that's an awesome "bigger picture" point!! Kudos!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Thanks for the tips and advice, ive put a few large plant pots outside to collect some water and I seem to have all I need to distill, I will then bottle and store :)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 2:07PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I was thinking I was going to be soo smart and suggest a few feeder goldfish, but I got beat to the punch. ;-)

After reading someone else's post here on Houseplants, I recently invested in a small RO water filtration system. It cost $200, and produces up to 75 gallons of RO water with zero TDS (total dissolved solids), roughly the equivalent of distilled water. It makes great drinking water (no taste at all), and you can use it in place of distilled water because it has no mineral content.

It should be great for plants because you can use it to water in sips, with a considerable reduction in the harm done by accumulating salts. You'll still have fertilizer salts that will accumulate, but if you manage your fertilizing program well, you should be able to make a considerable improvement in your plant's health/appearance.

I got it too late to be able to see if it makes any difference in my plants, but I'll know more next year. I think it won't do a lot for my plants, because they are always healthy anyway (because I flush the soil at every watering), and my watering habits and soil choice discourage any notable accumulation of dissolved solids (salts) in the soil.

Save water from your dehumidifiers if you utilize them in the warmer months, too.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Please keep us posted on the RO unit! I need justification for buying one. ;) My tap water, post-dechlorination, has a bogglingly high pH, considering how low the KH and GH are; I have to add calcium and magnesium for my fish, and yet it's harder as-is than the plants would like. The unhappy medium. Oh, how long have I pined for an RO unit, woe is me . . .

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 6:54PM
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That reminds me when I kept tropical fish I used buy RO water from the aquatic center. Im going there today to pick up afew goldfish, I might buy some while im there to keep me going inbetween rain :)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 4:54AM
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I use rain/snow water for my palms. During the summer when there isn't much rain, I use air conditioner condensation water or water from the basement dehumidifier.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:32AM
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I heard NYC has good quality tap water, and it does taste good to me - although I still run it through Britta filter for human consumption just in case. For my plants, I do not filter, but I do fill up several plastic jars/bottles, so that gasses escape before I water. And I do see small bubbles on the sides of the bottles. I shake them off, fewer come back the next day, I shake them off again, a few still settle on the inside walls of the bottles. I water only when there are no more bubbles inside.

Is this good enough? Would filtering water help further?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 11:54PM
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this might be chlorine undergoing dissolution as it gas off.
to put it simply, aeration will not reduce the solutes in water overtime, but filtration such as distillation and RO will give you almost pure water, which is ideal for irrigating plants.
practically pure water has no taste.
any taste in your water indicates that something is added.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 3:09AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

i grow all the palms you mention BUT in the ground not in pots so exposed to natural rainfall as well as tap water.
Only plants i water with RO or used aquarium water are some understory palms and some carniverous plants mainly because they are kept in pots in the shadehouse and II don't want the waterspots of tap on the glass of the aquarium. Have noted over time that if you ask ten people this ?? you'll get ten answers I personally don't think it matters for MOST plants gary

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 3:14AM
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I have bore water (underground) which affects plants differently. Some don't like it on their leaves, none seem to mind when it's on the ground. I have a number of very sensitive palm trees but no adverse effects there. But I often give some extra water from the dam because it has a lot of oxygen, less minerals, and plenty of 'by-products' from fish and other water creatures, if you know what I mean.

One of the main bad effects of tap water is from all the additives the suppliers put into it. With all the litigation that goes on these days they won't take the risk of disease contamination, regardless of the side effects of the chemicals they add. Plants and aquarium fish are the big losers.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 8:52AM
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Can't remember where I'd read it,but I remember seeing somewhere that there was a link between hard water and heart disease in men.

It didn't look that reliable in terms of "real" info but it appealed to my cynicism. :)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 8:59AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

In most cases now, the chlorination chemicals have a long half-life and don't gas off, and compounds of fluoride never did. Most tap water is already has a pH that is too high, and letting your water rest allows the CO2 dissolved in the water tro gas off, which further raises pH.

I mentioned upthread that I recently installed (took me less than 10 minutes, once I made a little board to mount it on) a small RO water system that produces up to 75 gallons of water per day. I use it for plants & for drinking. It came with a meter that registers total PPM of dissolved solids, and it always says 0 coming out, and around 3,500 going in. The whole set-up was about $200 - might make a nice Christmas or B-day gift for anyone serious about plants.

.... still haven't had it long enough to tell if it made a significant difference. The plants are all outdoors now & getting watered from the hose. Next winter will be the first real test and if I see a difference, I'll let you know. I think the most difference would be seen by growers who use soils that force them to water in sips, instead of their being able to flush the soil at will w/o worry for root problems.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 1:36PM
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Ive started using RO water now for my indoor plants, watering and misting.
Get it from my local Aquatics center, they sell 25ltr containers and fill it up, after that get refills.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 6:04PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Anyone collecting rain water in an open container, please consider a screen cover even if mosquitoes maturing isn't an issue. We rescued this juvenile mocking bird from drowning in a bucket of rain water.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 1:21PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Not a good flyer yet! He (or she) was just getting tail feathers. Hopped away after a few minutes of drying in the towel, than standing (and poo'ing) on DH's knee.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 1:26PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

What happened to my pic?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Hi Purp!

Good save on the fledgling! I've got a prefab water feature inset type thingy that I found a facedown floating feathered fatality in a few years back. Since that heartbreaking affair I've been very careful to set up a way out.

Point is,..I absolutely agree with your observation.
...If they can't get their footing,they're goners! :(

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Ive been thinking about using my aquarium water when i have to do the awful task of water changes. Has anyone used aquarium water for their plants?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:53PM
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I have/do.

It's often just because it's right there on hand when the plants are inside. :)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:59PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

About aquarium water or water left over from boiling vegetables:

I look at nutrition methodically. I prefer to use the least number of nutrient mixtures that will ensure my plants are getting all the essential nutrients they normally take from the soil and in the right proportions. The reason is, supplying more of any one element than a plant can use can be as limiting as supplying too little. 'How did he get THERE?' you might ask. What is in aquarium water or water left over from cooking vegetables - anyone know? So - you use it ..... then what? Obviously, it is going to be entirely inadequate in supplying the major elements, N P K Ca Mg S. So what do you do .... you fertilize anyway - because you have no idea what you supplied with the fish water and you still need to be sure you have all the nutritional bases covered.

The point is, if you're using fertilizers that only cover a few of the elements required for growth, additional fertilizers are required to fill in the gaps, Almost always, there will be overlaps, where you are supplying the same element in both products, or the same element will be missing from both products - gaps. Why not choose a fertilizer that supplies ALL the elements required for normal growth, and in a ratio to each other that is favorable, thereby eliminating gaps, overlaps, and potential antagonisms? (Antagonistic deficiencies occur when an excess of one element in the soil solution prevents adequate uptake of 1 or more other elements. Common antagonisms exist between Fe/Mn, P/Fe and Mn, Ca/Mg, others.)

I'm not saying the aquarium/veggie water is particularly harmful, only that if you're employing a fertilizer like Foliage-Pro 9-3-6, it's going to be redundant. This question in another form often comes up when discussing the use of aquarium water as a nutrient source. We know the aquarium water is not a complete fertilizer, and since you have no idea what you DID supply when you used it, you will certainly need to fertilize anyway - thus making the aquarium water (or manure) of little or no value.

The easiest and most efficient way to supply nutrients to your plants is with a soluble synthetic fertilizer that supplies nutrients in a ratio the same as the ratio at which the plants actually USE the nutrients. The only reliable way to do that is by using a fertilizer like I just described. When you depart from that plan, there can be no potential for benefits - only limitations that arise from either to much or too little of one or more elements essential for growth. Even if the residual veggie water supplied a nutrient necessary for growth, it would not help with growth unless it was supplying the single nutrient most deficient.

It's very difficult to improve a supplementation program that finds the grower using a fertilizer that supplies ALL the nutrients essential to normal growth in a ratio that mimics the rate at which the plant uses those nutrients. If a given amount of nutrient X is good, it does not follow that MORE of X is better. If you're ignoring fertilizer supplementation entirely, adding water from aquariums or boiled veggies might have the POTENTIAL to improve the plant's nutritional lot, but only if it supplies the nutrient(s) most critically in short supply. If it does NOT, it has no potential to benefit - only to limit.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 1:22PM
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