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Thread: Warming Water for Neps?

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    Warming Water for Neps?

    Is there anything wrong with heating distilled water in the microwave or over a stove? The water I water my Nepenthes with gets really cold at night and doesn't warm up enough in the day. It is probably around 50F... I don't want to stymie the growth of my plants. Of course I'd only warm it to 60 or 70 degrees.

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    buntman's Avatar
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    i dont see a problem , but someone correct me if wrong
    also, that 50f water sounds great for darlingtonia or heliamphora!!!

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    theplantman's Avatar
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    In my experience, almost all tropical plants will benefit from being watered with room-temperature water. By benefit, I mean it may help stimulate their growth by keeping the root zone warm. It's probably not a huge difference, but it definitely does not hurt, and root growth is strongly affected by temperature. I grow lots of corn in my greenhouses at work and it is a serious setback when the plants get watered with 50F water (sometimes lower)... it takes several days thereafter of dry-down time for the soil to warm up again, and those particular greenhouses are heated to 70F at night. Having air heaters hardly gets any warmth to the soil at all.

    I don't have an option to do anything about this since no water heater is attached to the line. In my opinion, watering regularly with cold water is a great way to slow plants down. If you want optimum growth like I am required to provide as a grower, then that's an issue. If you're OK with your Neps making primarily spring-summer-fall growth, then I wouldn't worry about it. It's up to you how labor-intensive you want your plant care to be.

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    My plants have been making their growth/pitchers in spring/summer/fall...

    Over the summer I started putting all of my Nepenthes in dishes. There's some water in the trays that lingers after watering, and this cools to the greenhouse air temperature overnight (54F)... Is that dangerous for the roots?

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    theplantman's Avatar
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    The thing is, water in the 50s is not dangerous to the plants at all. It's just not the optimal temperature for the plants to make their maximum growth. That being said, you can probably more than make up for any impact of water temperature just by fertilizing the plants lightly.

    If you're really concerned, just leave a 5-gallon bucket of water inside your house, tucked away in a corner or bathroom somewhere. Overall, however, water temperature shouldn't be a big worry. All you will lose is possibly a couple of inches of growth over an entire winter. If you simply ensure your media is draining properly, and I'm sure it probably is, you have done the biggest and most important service to your Neps.

    Constantly cold and stagnant water, however, is an optimal environment for many pathogens. Also, watering early in the morning means your soil has an entire day to warm back up--if you water at 6PM and it's dark, the plants won't drink any water all night long. They'll just sit in cold water overnight and that's just not good over the long term because it can lead to disease. If you start getting things like mildew and botrytis, it's a big warning sign that things are too cool and stuffy. I come into work all winter and immediate water what needs it, and I set all drip irrigation to begin when the sun first pokes out.

    If you are using 50-degree-ish water, just ensure it doesn't sit anywhere too long, and definitely don't use trays in the winter unless your plants are 10 feet long and drinking like sea monsters.

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