Welcome to OrchidsForum.com. We are a friendly online community for Orchid Growers all over the world. If you haven't joined yet we invite you to register and join our community. Hope to see you on our forums!

Cypripedium reginae: rainwater or tap water?

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by Auctus, Apr 9, 2014.

Tags:
  1. Auctus

    Auctus New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Hi all,
    On my balcony I have several Cyps (reginae, flavum, califonicum, parviflorum) here's a photo from last year.
    I've read somewhere that some Cyps prefer slightly alkaline water while other prefer slightly acidic.
    Rainwater has a value of PH=5.6 and the tap water here in Amsterdam where I live, has a value of PH=8.
    So I can easily provide both (tap water will always rest for 24 hours before given to the plants so chlorine could evaporate).
    I've read in several places about the water-acidity preferences of different Cyps, but I'd like to know if anybody has a clear conclusion concerning the C. reginae and the C. flavum.
    Thanks for your help!!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
  2. Auctus

    Auctus New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    If you type in Google "Cypripedium reginae + alkaline" you'll get many websites advocating alkaline soil. When you type "Cypripedium reginae + acidic" - then acidic soil is recommended. I presume this means that C. reginae is highly tolerant and can grow in either environment. Any thoughts?
     
  3. Torrish

    Torrish Active Member

    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    42
    Location:
    Gloucestershire UK
    Mine seems to be doing alright with tap water in the winter when dormant and in my cold greenhouse followed by both rain water and tap water in the summer. I grow my Cypripedium in pots in about 90% perlite which I have always understood has a neutral ph. The remainder is grit and John Innes No.3 which is a loam based compost just on the alkali side of neutral. So far no problems. Cypripedium reginae was recommended to me as a good starting point with Cypripedium as it is regarded as the hardest to kill which says something about my reputation :(. I am incline to agree with your suggestion.
     
  4. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,450
    Likes Received:
    3,248
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    All tap water is not created equal and some is downright toxic to many orchids. If your pH is 8.0, there is a very good chance that it is treated to raise it to that point. You might want to try search on google to get the analysis for your water.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Likes Received:
    529
    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    I only have one season under my belt, but my Cyp reginae got RO + MSU, with an applied pH of 5.5, and doubled in size.
     
  6. annabanana1987

    annabanana1987 Active Member

    Messages:
    999
    Likes Received:
    153
    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Home improvement stores do water testing for free a lot of the time. You can get a sample kit and send it in the mail to a lab.
     
  7. annabanana1987

    annabanana1987 Active Member

    Messages:
    999
    Likes Received:
    153
    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Home depot at least has them.
     
    Auctus likes this.
  8. Auctus

    Auctus New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Thank you all for replying!!
    Marni, thanks for the warning. I think it's safer to keep on giving rainwater and, if needed, adding some powdered eggshells to neutralize the PH. It seems the easiest without knowing the exact analysis of my tap water.
    Ray, could you specify what RO + MSU means? Here in Europe we use different names for fertilizers.
    Anna, I have not come across such a service here in Amsterdam, but I'll keep my eyes open.
    Thanks again, and I'll post some photos soon :)
     
    annabanana1987 likes this.
  9. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,450
    Likes Received:
    3,248
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Auctus, a good place for information would be a local fish/aquarium/pet store. Fish people know their water. Where I live in the US we have a lot of hydroponic stores that mostly sell things to marijuana growers. It may be different there.;) They sell lots of supplies to check and adjust the pH. Fish stores should too. When dealing with something as sensitive as cypripedium it would be best to control the pH rather than guessing.

    Ray is referring to reverse osmosis (RO) which is water with everything taken out of it. MSU is Michigan State University and is the name of a fertilizer that is widely used in the US for orchids and one of their formulas is especially for reverse osmosis water.
     
  10. Auctus

    Auctus New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Hi Marni, thanks for the info. I actually did measure the PH of my tap water which was 8. But now I did some more research online and found out the exact analysis of the tap water in Amsterdam. Here's a link to the pdf:

    https://www.waternet.nl/media/650924/wn_bwk_1l_2w.eff.krt.jr13.pdf

    It's in Dutch, but the names of the important elements are similar to the English names. As you can see there's added fluoride and traces of arsenic which might be poisonous to plants.
    Anyway, I have already decided not to give tap water, but use my rain water and try to raise the PH in a different way. I actually grow Cypripediums for 5 years now, and some of them are doing great (with rainwater). The C. reginae however is not happy and I am trying to figure out what's the problem. I though that the acidic rainwater might be part of the problem, but reading Ray's comment (and others) reassures me that they don;t have to have an alkaline environment. So I'll have to look somewhere else...
     
  11. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,450
    Likes Received:
    3,248
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    In the US, city water is now adjusted so that the pH is in the 8 to 9 range so that metals don't leach out of the pipes. The two most common things they use are potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. The potassium is not a problem, but the sodium certainly is. But if only this one cyp is giving you trouble, that probably isn't your problem. Good luck and let us know how it works out.
     
    Auctus likes this.
  12. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Likes Received:
    529
    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    Auctus - the MSU RO formula is sold as Akerne's Rain Mix in EU.
     
    Auctus and Marni like this.
  13. RosieC

    RosieC Member

    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    UK
    I use rain water only on Cyps (including reginae), and when I fertilise I use the Akerne's Rain Mix (as Ray says that's an EU version of MSU). They seem to be happy with that.
     
    Auctus likes this.
  14. Auctus

    Auctus New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Thanks Ray and Rosie, this is exciting news!
    I actually use Akerne Rainmix for all my tropical orchids (already for 5 years now, with great results), but never thought of feeding it to my cypripediums. The reason is that from all I read and heard - Cypripediums need a higher dosage of fertilizer than tropical ones, a fertilizer that fits garden plants.
    But I'm very willing to try the Akerne Rainmix on my Cyps as well. My question to you would then be: how often do you feed them and in what dosage? On the instructions of the fertilizer they give 1/2 gram fertilizer to 1 liter water (which is about 0.06 ounce to 1 gallon). Is this also the dosage you use?
     
  15. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Likes Received:
    529
    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    0.5 g/L is about 70 ppm N, which is what I recommend for feeding every 5-7 days. Personally, I feed at 50 ppm N about every 2-3 days.
     
  16. RosieC

    RosieC Member

    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    UK
    I use 0.5g/L roughly every 3-4 days. I'm not scientific about it like Ray though and have no reasoning behind that amount, just hoped it was about right.
     
  17. Auctus

    Auctus New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Thank you both! I've already started feeding with Akerne's rainmix and hopefully I'll be able to see an improvement.
    Ray, I've checked your website and there's a lot of useful information regarding fertilizers plus the neat calculator. Great help!!