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QUESTION: My buckets I use to collect rainwater are completely dry and my plants are drying up too, I need to water my flytraps today and the sarracenias and nepenthes within the next two days, I have already given up on my Heliamphora. I don't have the facilities to create my own distilled water, my question is; is it ever okay under any circumstances to water with tap water?
How can I source an alternative?
Is runoff from the roof okay in this situation?

ANSWER: Hi Danny,

Use your tap water, don't let them go dry.  If your water is hard (high mineral content) Nepenthes and Sarracenia can tolerate it for quite awhile.  Flytraps and sundews are less forgiving.  Try and buy a couple gallons of distilled water to water them.  If you have to use the tap water temporarily try to top water the plants so that water is flowing through pots.  This helps minimize mineral build-up.

Have you every tested your water to see how hard it is?  Are you on a well, or Auckland city water?  If your water is 50 parts per million (ppm) or less it is fine for your plants.  If in the future you need to have low mineral water during dry spells consider taking a look at reverse osmosis filters.  They come in many different shapes, sizes and capacities.  We use two here at the nursery since our well water is too hard.  For small amounts ZeroWater filters can be helpful.  I'm not sure if you have those in New Zealand, however.  Here's a link:  http://www.zerowater.com/

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.cobraplant.com

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Is it okay to use water from a local stream? It may have a little petrolleum and mud in it.

Answer
Hi Danny,

If we were talking about a pristine forest stream I would say yes.  However, unless you know the hardness of the water, and since this stream may have pollution, stick with the tap water until you get some rain or distilled water.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.cobraplant.com

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If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

Before submitting your question, please read their care guides on their main website. Many issues can be addressed by simply adjusting your growing conditions as recommended in the care guides. Click here to read the care guides.

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Jeff and Jacob are owners and growers of Sarracenia Northwest. They've been in business since 1995. Watch their professionally produced DVDs, Grow Carnivorous Plants. It is a three-volume set that covers all aspects of carnivorous plant care. They literally show you how to be a successful grower! http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com/dvd

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