Watering or soaking - whats best?

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katzenhai2

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Hi,

I was wondering what your experience is with watering methods for Paphs:
Watering the pot vigorously or placing the pot in a suitable sized container and filling it with fertilizer water for 20 min? Any practical experience of the differences for the plants growth?

Does it not matter? Is there a theoretical fear of salt deposits if the pot is not rinsed? Of course if you have >100 plants to care for you will hardly be able to do this for practical reasons.
 
I grow Paphs outside near the sea, on an island on the Caribbean, so my experience is limited to these specific circumstances. In the wet season, watering them every three days is good enough. Once the dry season starts, you have to soak them every tree days to get them to stay moist. At the height of the dry season, which can also be quite windy, even soaking is insufficient. So I use plastic saucers under the pots, so that the media will not go bone dry.
 
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I water with fertilizer three times. I use an even strength 20-20-20 blend with nutrients. To that I add a tsp. of cal. mag to it. My “it” is a gallon and a half pump sprayer. It have it set to produce a needle like stream.
Every 4th watering is with just plain water. The theory being is to keep salts from accumulating.
I grow entirely under lights from early October through early May. All of my plants, strap leafed Paphs., Bulldog Paphs. And a mixed bag of Cattleyas spend about 5 months outdoors in an area that receives about 2 hours of bright sunshine.
I am located 20 miles or so west of Detroit at around 45* North latitude.
While outdoors I switch to a watering can with the different frequencies maintained.
 
I will soak compots and find that it helps prevent crown rot. I do occasionally flush to avoid salt build-up.

However, I think oxygenated water is important to consider if soaking plants. I think an advantage of overhead watering is that you are oxygenating the water as it breaks up into water droplets and into the media.

One should also be careful of pathogen spreading if using the same water to soak multiple plants.

So to your question, I think both methods are ok given the circumstances.
 
Overhead watering, especially with a "water breaker" to simulate rain, in my opinion, is advantageous for three reasons - it wets, flushes and aerates the medium at the same time.

The buildup of mineral deposits is inevitable, but it less about watering technique than it is about drying of the medium.

The minerals are in solution and stay there until the solvent (water) evaporates. Use an open medium to keep it airy and you can water heavily and frequently, keeping it wet, slowing the deposition process.
 
I have done both methods. When you soak them and do not change the water in between plants there is a chance of infection. If you change the water on 20 plants that is a ton of water. I like to just water them and this way any salts can be washer off or anything that is not wanted. I do soak my angracem because it dries out to much and this works wonders. Another thing to do if you live in a dry climate is to put an inch of water in the saucer and this works wonders for sanderianums.
 
Lately I have watered with a measuring cup over the sink. I have to pour liters of water through it. The water consumption is enormous. The substrate then starts to dry out at the top, very small pots dry out after 3 days. In the past I used to spray directly onto the substrate with a spray gun and through the pot so I only used 1/2 to 1/4 of the water and the substrate was still moist (the way I want it). But this process takes more time and I was unsure if the plants then gets enough fertilizer.

When I soak the plants it is similar to the spray gun. When soaking, each plant gets its own water. The water consumption is then less than when watering through the pot. I was just wondering why people rarely soak their plants.
 
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Lately I have watered with a measuring cup over the sink. I have to pour liters of water through it. The water consumption is enormous. The substrate then starts to dry out at the top, very small pots dry out after 3 days. In the past I used to spray directly onto the substrate with a spray gun and through the pot so I only used 1/2 to 1/4 of the water and the substrate was still moist (the way I want it). But this process takes more time and I was unsure if the plants then gets enough fertilizer.

When I soak the plants it is similar to the spray gun. When soaking, each plant gets its own water. The water consumption is then less than when watering through the pot. I was just wondering why people rarely soak their plants.
Soaking would require clean water AND a clean container for each plant. Or, you will spread any disease or more importantly virus that the plant carries. Cleaning a container between plants would be very time consuming requiring bleach, Kleen Grow or maybe both to disinfect for virus.
 
Mixture. I usually soak my plants when there is a large amount and do not have time - I will get a 10 gallon container add fertilizer and soak plants each for about 15 minutes

When I have time. I water over the sink each for about 1 minute. Mostly to flush out the salts from fertilizer, etc.

I would honestly says I do soaking about 80% of the time. Also know that I am not a nursery with like 6000 plants. I only have about 150 adults plants. So it is easier to manage
 
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Also know that I am not a nursery with like 6000 plants. I only have about 150 adults plants. So it is easier to manage
"Only" 150 adult plants... 🙈 Lifting 150 times a plant pot over the sinkand letting the water run through is not a small amount of work, esp. for each pot 1 minute is 150 minutes. 😁

I also think that soaking is more time-saving if you can't go over an entire palette with a large shower head. The advantage of soaking is that not much salts can build up if the substrate does not dry out between soakings.
 
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