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Thread: Symptoms of Root Mineral Burn (Nepenthes)?

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    Symptoms of Root Mineral Burn (Nepenthes)?

    I've started watering with hose water after I found out my tap is about 30-80tds with a low amount of salts. I've been watering with rain water and distilled water for the past two years and I've never had issues with root burn. I started watering my entire Nepenthes & Sphagnum collection with hose water about a week ago, and I don't see anything wrong with the Sphagnum or the Nepenthes. I just have a few proactive questions...

    1. How long does it usually take for the roots to burn from too many minerals?
    2. What are the symptoms of mineral burn on the roots?

    I'm planning to buy enough distilled water to flush the pots every month or so. I just don't want to spend $20 on distilled water every week if I can get it for much cheaper and much more conveniently.

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    I have been watering with tap water solely for almost 5 years (as long as ive been growing CP's) and my tds is 120-160 depending on the time of year. IMO, Neps are not as sensitive to salts as other CP's.
    If you water such that the water flows out the bottom of the pot you will never even have to flush with distilled water. The flushing is only needed if you allow salts to build up continually without it flowing out the bottom each watering or if you use the tray method.

    If/when a problem occurs, you will see the plants wilt or behave as though they are dry as the 'soil' will be actively pulling water out of the plants as well as regular transpiration. if the build up happens slowly, you will probably see them start growing poorly - smaller, deformed leaves and they may only wilt a bit when the GH is at its hottest. if that happens I would suggest you dunk the entire pot in and out of clean water to wash the soil out or, in a bad case where the plant is completely wilted, get the plant out of the soil and put it in clean water.

    I reiterate though, I highly doubt you will have a problem if you water copiously when you do.
    Last edited by morbus; 05-29-2014 at 04:35 AM.

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    To answer your 'how long' question more directly; if there is a problem, you will see it immediately as the soil will actively put water out of the plant. since its already been a week with no problems, you will only have a problem if you allow the salts to build up, in which case the first symptoms will be gradual and you may only see minor stress or slight wilting during the hottest/driest times
    Last edited by morbus; 05-29-2014 at 04:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by morbus View Post
    I have been watering with tap water solely for almost 5 years (as long as ive been growing CP's) and my tds is 120-160 depending on the time of year. IMO, Neps are not as sensitive to salts as other CP's.
    If you water such that the water flows out the bottom of the pot you will never even have to flush with distilled water. The flushing is only needed if you allow salts to build up continually without it flowing out the bottom each watering or if you use the tray method.

    If/when a problem occurs, you will see the plants wilt or behave as though they are dry as the 'soil' will be actively pulling water out of the plants as well as regular transpiration. if the build up happens slowly, you will probably see them start growing poorly - smaller, deformed leaves and they may only wilt a bit when the GH is at its hottest. if that happens I would suggest you dunk the entire pot in and out of clean water to wash the soil out or, in a bad case where the plant is completely wilted, get the plant out of the soil and put it in clean water.

    I reiterate though, I highly doubt you will have a problem if you water copiously when you do.
    Quote Originally Posted by morbus View Post
    To answer your 'how long' question more directly; if there is a problem, you will see it immediately as the soil will actively put water out of the plant. since its already been a week with no problems, you will only have a problem if you allow the salts to build up, in which case the first symptoms will be gradual and you may only see minor stress or slight wilting during the hottest/driest times
    +1

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    The sphagnum may be more sensitive to it than the nepenthes are. My friend with an orchid greenhouse injects low-strength fertilizer into his rain system and his nepenthes are doing okay, but he can't grow sphagnum to save his life. Let the sphagnum be your canary in the coal mine.

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