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!

I watered my orchids with water that was likely too cold. What kind of issues can I expect?

Discussion in 'Issues, Disease and Pests' started by Brassavola Stars, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Brassavola Stars

    Brassavola Stars New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Lower Hudson Valley, NY
    Hello all,

    I made the mistake of using my regular greenhouse tap water (which originates from the basement of my house) to water my orchids today. Because of the ongoing Arctic Blast, the water was much colder than it usually is. While I was using it, I thought it was colder than would be good but I used it anyway because my plants were very thirsty. Additionally, I would have had to make several trips to get warmer (and much harder) water and I did not want to keep opening my greenhouse door and let the heat out (it is 0C outside where I am and 18C in the GH).

    After I used the water, I decided to use a thermometer to see exactly how cold it was. As it turns out, the water I used was around 44-48F or approximately 6-7C.

    This is probably an unhealthy level of cold as I know that orchids should be watered with fluids that are the same temperature as the room they are in.

    My question is: how bad is the damage I probably did? Is it likely that they will go into some sort of shock?
     
  2. ezluckyfreee

    ezluckyfreee Member

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Kitchener, Canada
    Probably nothing. My tap water is this temperature in the winter, and I've watered my plants with it before, no damage.
     
  3. mrhappyrotter

    mrhappyrotter Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    8
    I think we'd all just be guessing here, there are too many factors to consider. You'll want to keep an eye on things obviously, but I doubt those temperatures are going to kill anything outright.

    If there's going to be damage, my experience is that the first effects will be seen in the root tips. If there were any actively growing root tips that got too cold for too long, they may go dormant or even dry up and die. I think that would happen within days or less of exposure.

    Keep in mind, Phals are generally hot growing orchids, yet some folks swear by the "just add ice" method for watering them. I'm pretty sure the water from melting ice is going to be at least as cold as what you're describing, and many orchids are more cool/cold tolerant than Phals.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,515
    Likes Received:
    368
    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    For years, I let the RO tank in my greenhouse be whatever it was, based upon the greenhouse air temperature. NB: it will be cooler than the air temperature, courtesy of evaporative cooling.

    I didn't notice any particular issues with the plants, but later, after immersing an aquarium heater in the tank, keeping it at 75F, I saw that plants that had routinely shut down all growth over the winter just kept on growing and blooming.

    Be aware the some plants will suffer from mesophyll collapse if their leaves get hit with cold water, particularly if they have been warmed by the sun.
     
    Ricardo likes this.
  5. carl

    carl Active Member

    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    159
    Location:
    Sooutheastern Pencilvania
    I used to keep an aquarium heater in my RO tank, but it eventually failed by splitting open, and releasing the oily heat transfer medium into the tank. What a mess to clean up!

    Moral, keep an eye on your heater.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,515
    Likes Received:
    368
    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    Or buy one that's stainless steel instead of glass...
     
  7. carl

    carl Active Member

    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    159
    Location:
    Sooutheastern Pencilvania
    Or plastic, I suppose.