watering

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yorkshireal
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watering

Post by yorkshireal » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:50 pm

Hi,
I'd appreciate advice about what water to use to water succulents - mixture of assorted plants including Lithops, other Mesembs, Sarcocaulon, Adenium, Cyphostemma, Aloes. Hitherto I have tried to use rainwater as much as possible but struggle to get enough and don't really have anywhere to have a large water butt. The other thing I have done when I can't get rainwater is to use filtered tap water just with a 1.2L jug - but it's time consuming for a large collection, and I'm sure it doesn't do a great job in comparison with RO water, or distilled water (but they are expensive options).
Just wondering on how likely I am to run into problems if I use tap water? Trouble is I live in an area where our tap water is quite hard.
Any guidance appreciated
Thanks
Alan
Nick_G
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Re: watering

Post by Nick_G » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:30 pm

I use rainwater until my butts run dry sometime during the summer when I switch to tap water. The water is very hard here too but the plants don't seem to mind and I've been doing this for the last 40 years with no obvious ill effect.
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Turbinicarpus, Lophophora, Ariocarpus, Lobivia and Gymnocalycium
Darren S
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Re: watering

Post by Darren S » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:36 pm

Alan. Are your plants in a greenhouse? And if so, is your under-bench space being used? I have speculated in the past about linking a series of old domestic header tanks on the floor under benches, and piping the roof downspouts in to these, with an overflow going out from the last one. They would also be a useful heat sink on cold nights.
Or you could look into getting your own reverse-osmosis system, which would work out far cheaper than buying in the RO water.
Darren nr Lancaster UK. Growing Conophytum, Lobivia, Sulcorebutia, bulbs etc.
Eric Williams
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Re: watering

Post by Eric Williams » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:20 pm

For as long as I can remember I have used tap water to feed my cacti and succulents. I add one teaspoon of white vinegar to a gallon and a half of tap water to get the optimum ph value. I used litmus papers to get the required reading. Not very accurate or scientific I agree, but it works for me. Cheers
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juster
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Re: watering

Post by juster » Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:10 pm

In 50+ years of growing I have always used tap water, I wouldn't worry about it. Better tap water than no water at all :wink:
Croydon Branch member, growing mainly cacti and Echeverias
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Tishania
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Re: watering

Post by Tishania » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:43 pm

I am trying out the use of waste water from our condensing tumble dryer. In theory it should be pure water although it does contain tiny cloth fibres.
The biggest disadvantage is that the tumble dryer is mostly used during the winter and least used during the summer when water is most needed. I have two water butts full in the hope it will last through the summer.

Ed
Returning member interested in anything that won't injure me or my wallet.
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fero
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Re: watering

Post by fero » Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:02 pm

The problem with using RO water is that it is too pure. Having many essential elements removed.
Their are other ways to acidify water . Old logs or bracken. Adding vinegar to wateringcans sounds like good advice. Do some pH tests to find measurements.
yorkshireal
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Re: watering

Post by yorkshireal » Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:50 pm

Thanks to everybody for the advice, that's really helpful, and I think I will be less frightened to use tap water now. My plants are in a conservatory, which is in itself a different story! When we had the conservatory built I made the mistake of going for a clear glass roof, thinking the plants would benefit from the light maximisation - but in fact it acts like a magnifying glass, and on any warm day the temp well exceeds 40, often going into the 50s, and has actually topped 60 on at least one occasion! Also not very good at retaining warmth in the winter, so we're in the process of converting it to an 'orangery' - a flat roof with two lanterns, which should certainly reduce the overheating in summer, and improve the cooling in winter - just hoping that the more solid roof doesn't lose too much light - think the lanterns will mitigate to a degree.
Back to the watering, I will experiment with acidifying with white vinegar. What is the optimum pH I should be aiming for? Slightly on the acidic side of neutral?
I've also heard that allowing water to stand for a few hours helps to reduce chlorine content, don't know if any truth in that?
Many thanks
Alan
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Stuart
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Re: watering

Post by Stuart » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:13 pm

I've been using tap water for over 40 years, very soft water here on the South Coast so no limescale marking, and water overhead with a hosepipe every week or so. I use a watering can at the start of the season because electric fan heaters and hosepipe watering don't go well together. I use a watering can when feeding but most watering is done by hosepipe because it is much faster. Overhead watering helps to deter red spider and keeps plants clean.

Stuart
yorkshireal
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Re: watering

Post by yorkshireal » Wed May 12, 2021 8:25 pm

I forgot to add to this post that I got some litmus paper and tested my tap water, having passed it through a water filter jut and let it stand for 24 hours. It was somewhere between 7 and 8 (closer to 7). I found by adding half a capful of distilled white vinegar to a 10L bucket, it went down to 6, which from what I have read is a more appropriate level.

Again, thanks to all those who fed back. Interesting how varied people's approaches are, but it sounds as if tap water might not be quite the demon that I had feared. (incidentally I have heard the same with Phalaenopsis orchids - with lots of advice being that they should only be watered with distilled or rainwater, but I know of several people, including folk living in hard water areas like I do, who use tap water and their plants are healthy.

Thanks

Alan
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