Carnivorous Plants/NTU and PPM


QUESTION: Hi- I just ordered your "mystery Sarracenia" rhizomes. I read so much about the importance of the correct water. I live in Coquille,OR about two blocks from the Coquille river and was wondering if the river water would be okay to use. I don't want to use tap water if I can help it.
Thank you

ANSWER: Hi Maire,

Most surface water sources in the Northwest, West of the Cascades have very soft water, so the river is most likely to be ok to use.  Now, having said that, the devil is in the details.  If you're upstream a ways on the river in a fairly clean area, you're fine.  If you're close to the ocean, however, you might be getting brackish water, and if you have lots of houses in the area, septic runoff is a possibility.  If you're water seems nice and clean, you're probably ok.  If you're fairly close to the ocean, I wouldn't use it.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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

QUESTION: HOW CLOSE TO THE OCEAN DO YOU CONSIDER FAIRLY CLOSE? We're @ 17 miles on the map, , but nothing in Oregon is straight or "as the crow flies" -- I am from Jersey,and everything is as straight on as you can get-- there's no extra mileage cause it would cost time and money,lol. === I appreciate your input cause I have always lived in large cities and gardening is new to me. I read on one site that water WITH LESS THAN 100 PPM OF DISSOLVEABLE SOLIDS was all right  to use. I bought a bunch of unidentified rhizomes, so I have no idea  what their individual requirements are. So I want to get every thing right.
I'm enthralled with these plants and just want to give them the best chance I can at thriving--I appreciate your reply. Right now I'm catching as much rainwater as I can but we have extremely dry summers here. I am having a  hard time with the website, too- I click on a link and it brings me to ads.
Thank you for your timely reply and appreciate the information--there is really not a lot out there!

ANSWER: Hi Marie,

One thing I will recommend right off is to consider getting our volume #1 DVD.  Since you are new to carnivorous plants this will give you a hands-on course on growing North American carnivorous plants, and help you to avoid the pitfalls so common to new growers.  For example, we go into great detail with demonstrations on understanding the water needed for carnivorous plant growing.  Also, carnivorous plants don't grow in regular soil.  Potting soil or garden soil will kill them.  We go into detail and show how to mix cp potting mixes.  Essentially they grow in peat moss.  Here's a link to the videos:  Also, be sure to read through green care sheet that the rhizomes came with.  The basics are there.

Now the good news is that Sarracenia are among the easiest carnivores to grow.  Keep them in pots outside, sitting in water, full sun exposure and you're good to go.  It doesn't get cold enough in the Bandon area to worry about winter too much.

Let me get back to your water.  If you're upstream 17 miles you're probably fine.  You just don't want to be in the tidal zone.  An easy way to test the water is to buy yourself a ZeroWater filter pitcher.  Many models come with a TDS meter you could test the water with.  The pitchers are great at filtering well water with odd mineral tastes too.  We use a larger unit at our place in Eagle Creek for drinking water or watering cp houseplants.  For our nursery we have a large capacity reverse osmosis system for taking out the minerals in the water for the plants.  Here's more information on ZeroWater:  (No I'm not a paid spokesperson, but I should be :)

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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

QUESTION: Welcome back! I spoke to someone at my local water plant to ask about the amount of dissolved solids in our water. He couldn't tell me, but said they use the NTU chart and we are a .02 NTU and the hardness is 5. Okay-finally I have an answer!-I will look online and get the conversion to PPM! But there is no conversion. Are you familiar with the NTU chart and if I can use my water? {I appreciate it. Money is an issue right now and rain water is going to run out soon.}

Hi Marie,

I'm afraid that NTU is a measurement of turbidity, the non-dissolved particulates in the water, not a measurement of the dissolved solids.  Hardness of 5?  What unit is that in?  Is he talking pH?  I'm afraid this information doesn't tell you what you need to know.

The ZeroWater filter is your best bet right now to get that tester.  The other possibility is to take a sample of water to a pet or aquarium store to have them test, and they should be able to tell you how hard your water is.  Some pond stores have test strips too.  Here's an example:  Otherwise you may need to just get some distilled water.  As long as you know the Coquille river where you are isn't salty, you're probably fine to use that for awhile.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

Carnivorous Plants

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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!


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