Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Muerte en el Agua

I inherited my father's curly hair and my mother's thumb–green thumb that is. She could pretty much resuscitate any dying plant or drop any random seed in a pot of soil and within a few weeks, we'd be looking for a permanent place of residence for the fresh sprout in the backyard.

Before moving to the Santiago Street Lofts, I had a small collection of potted plants. Some of them were store bought and others were grown from seeds that I bought at Home Depot. All of which were flourishing with basic maintenance and water straight from the tap.

Unfortunately, the move to Santa Ana ended up costing me the lives of many of my dear and longtime (plant) friends. I'm not sure whether it's the hardness of the water, the chlorine, or whatever mysterious funk seen in this video, but the water in Santa Ana has been deadly to my plants.

The only plants to have survived were my water "lucky" bamboos (insert pun).

After reading up at various sites and consulting with Poison Ivy herself (my Mom), the best option for growing healthy houseplants in Santa Ana would be to switch to distilled water. Turns out that hard water contains minerals that can be very harsh on houseplants.

Another option if you don't want to go distilled is to fill your watering container and let it sit for a minimum of 36 hours. By this time, the chlorine should have dissipated and be a little safer for your babies.

If you go the way of a water softener, remember that this water contains heavy concentrations of salts. The salts will hinder the growth of your plants, or even worse, pull a 187 on them.

Finally, when watering your plants, make sure the water is at room temperature. Very hot or very cold water can shock the roots and damage, or even kill your green friends.

Here is a great site about watering houseplants.


Anonymous said...

so I have been noticing the disgusting residue in my stainless steel sinks... is water softener the way to go Ben?

Ben Dayhoe said...

That build-up in the sink is very disgusting indeed.

I'm not sure that a water softener would be the way to go. I've read that over time (years? decades?), the salts in the softened water can eat away at your plumbing.

A few years back, my folks purchased a salt-less filtration system. I should check in with them to see how it's working out.

Or you can try the Ben Dayhoe method for cleaning your sinks ;)

Anonymous said...

What do you suggest for toilet ring?

Ben Dayhoe said...

Ahhh the classic toilet ring.

When I was living under the roof of my parents, I had the lovely task of pumicing that ring away.

You can first shut off the water supply and flush the toilet if the idea of touching toilet water freaks you out.

Using a wet pumice stone, you can shave off that ring pretty easily.

Just be careful not to go too hard or let the stone get dry. There is the possibility that you could scratch the bowl. That's why I leave the water in the bowl when I pumice.

It's always a good idea to test the coarseness of the stone in an area of the bowl that's out of site.