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Thread: TDS and PPM for Nepenthes?

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    Jake Tower's Avatar
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    TDS and PPM for Nepenthes?

    Hi Guys,
    I ran into a very debatable subject with the TDS with water. Does anyone have a idea of what would be tolerable? According to a well known online vendor anything under 160 PPM is optimal.
    Last edited by adnedarn; 01-25-2014 at 09:33 AM. Reason: vendor name removed
    Tower//Jake
    "Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, where the heck is the ceiling."
    http://www.thecpforum.com <--- My site

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    I heard under 50PPM is the way to go but I think that is very conservative. I recently read on another forum that someone had been watering with tap water for quite a while.

    I personally just don't see how Nepenthes "can't seem to tolerate any nutrients at all around their roots" while plants that grow in the same cliffs around them with roots just as delicate are okay with tap water. For example, Paphiopedilums grow in lowland and highland areas where Nepenthes are found. They can a hefty amount of fertilizer with delicate, fuzzy roots. The low nutrient thing probably has some truth behind it, but I feel like at one point somebody said "There can't be any nutrients in their water or their roots will burn!" and everyone jumped on the bandwagon.

    Have you ever seen photographic evidence of a Nepenthes killed from minerals? I personally haven't. Not to say it can't happen, but I've never heard of that scenario.

    Not completely dissing the idea, I'm sure there is reason behind it. My point is that I think they can take considerably more minerals than people say. Every species is different, though.

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    Jake Tower's Avatar
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    Hello Pineapple,
    Yea I completely agree, Ive heard the rumors that neps can take more tds then they are credited for. So, I was curious what the general census was on neps. Personally, Im not sure if I would be willing to mass murder the plants I have because I took a chance at watering them with 150 PPM. Although, I could always experiment on one plant
    Tower//Jake
    "Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, where the heck is the ceiling."
    http://www.thecpforum.com <--- My site

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    mcantrell's Avatar
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    Under 50. 160 would kill your plant stone dead. You could possibly get away with it temporarily by washing the pot out frequently, but why risk it? RO filters are cheap nowadays.

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tower View Post
    Hi Guys,
    I ran into a very debatable subject with the TDS with water. Does anyone have a idea of what would be tolerable? According to a well known online vendor anything under 160 PPM is optimal.
    Tolerable for which genera??! Its important to make the distinction between the "clean water requirements" for Drosera VS Nepenthes VS Sarracenia. Water that is far too mineral-rich for Drosera might be easily tolerated by Nepenthes. However, I don't really believe that water with a TDS reading of 160 PPM would be very good for any genus, as a long-term solution. That concentration of salts would send most any Drosera into rapid decline.

    Yes, some people water their Nepenthes with tap water. It IS possible to have very usable tap water from a municipal supply, but you need to TEST IT to know how usable it is! Without that knowledge, you could be making tragically bad assumptions. Our local municipal water supply annually tests at under 50PPM TDS, and so it is perfectly good for any CPs (assuming you do occasionally flush the pots; at even 50PPM, salts can accumulate if its a closed system). However, I am on a well out in the outskirts and I have to either collect rainwater (did that for one year, got tired of the labor involved) or find another source, so I installed a RO unit. Problem solved.

    And yes, Nepenthes aren't like most other CP genera - they grow in environments that - while often nutrient deprived - are far from devoid of nutrients. Birds and animals contribute what must be significant amounts of nutrient to the ecosystem/root zone, and some species live in mineral soils that sometimes contain high concentrations of Nickel and other toxic metals. "Tolerance", when describing the ability of each genus (Not to mention individual species) to make use of a water supply that contains dissolved minerals, is a much more finely grained problem than you might think on casual inspection. Whatever you do, don't rely on hearsay and anecdotal information - it will just as often mislead you as inform you. Go to trusted sources for information, IE: people who have written books on the subject. (and growers who have many years of experience)

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    Every Nep species is different. This is the root of the problem here, there are some species that will require very clean water but somehow it just got accepted as a general rule that all Neps (well CPs in general) need very clean water. With the rarer plants please play it safe, but with the common ones some documented experimentation would be a great next step.

    I would be interested to know what the TDS of the coffee bath or fert solutions some people are feeding their Neps is just for random useless knowledge.

    TDS is another one of those things people just don't really understand or think about enough.

    From Wikipedia "Total Dissolved Solids (often abbreviated TDS) is a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic substances contained in a liquid in molecular, ionized or micro-granular (colloidal sol) suspended form."

    One persons 150 TDS water may be perfectly safe while another persons 150 TDS water could kill your plants. What those combined substances are is very important and without getting your cities water reports TDS really just lets you know what ballpark your in.

    With all that said my tap water is 160-170 and I'll never use it to water any plants I don't want to lose.

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSS View Post
    Every Nep species is different. This is the root of the problem here, there are some species that will require very clean water but somehow it just got accepted as a general rule that all Neps (well CPs in general) need very clean water. With the rarer plants please play it safe, but with the common ones some documented experimentation would be a great next step.

    I would be interested to know what the TDS of the coffee bath or fert solutions some people are feeding their Neps is just for random useless knowledge.

    TDS is another one of those things people just don't really understand or think about enough.

    From Wikipedia "Total Dissolved Solids (often abbreviated TDS) is a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic substances contained in a liquid in molecular, ionized or micro-granular (colloidal sol) suspended form."

    One persons 150 TDS water may be perfectly safe while another persons 150 TDS water could kill your plants. What those combined substances are is very important and without getting your cities water reports TDS really just lets you know what ballpark your in.
    Yes, absolutely.

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    Jake Tower's Avatar
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    I got the great idea to double filter the water, with doing that, I can now get it down to 20 ppm! Whoo hoo! Thanks everyone for the help
    Last edited by Tower; 01-26-2014 at 08:53 PM.
    Tower//Jake
    "Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, where the heck is the ceiling."
    http://www.thecpforum.com <--- My site

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