Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Grow with Bovees
Wondering what types of water can be used for your indoor plants, is not an uncommon thought in the world of cultivation. It is, in fact, important for the healthy growth of your greens, to provide them with the correct water.
The type of water used is almost as important as the frequency of watering.
Different kinds of water include filtered water, distilled water, tap water and rainwater. The content in water varies and so does the quality of water.
So, what is the best kind of water for houseplants and what type of water will you choose?
Continue on to find out which water to use in order to grow and maintain your beautiful plants.
Water Elements And Their Impact On Plants
We feel that it is of importance to understand the different components and mineral content that make up water and how they can affect your plant. Understanding the characteristics of water will help you gain a better understanding of what type of water you should use.
Continue reading for a brief explanation of a few components of water.
One sign of living in an area of hard water, is if you see limescale deposition on pipes, appliances and taps. Limescale stains are white depositions. While lime is good for lawns in some circumstances, it’s not always good for your houseplants.
Hard water is a form of water that is filled with loads of minerals. This high content of different minerals consists of sulfates, bicarbonates as well as calcium and magnesium carbonates.
Watering houseplants with hard water will result in a buildup of calcium and magnesium salts on the potting soil surface as well as on the sides of the planting container.
This layer repels water, making water infiltration difficult and, over time, it will negatively impact the healthy growth of your plant by suppressing the availability of vital nutrients in the soil and also affecting the pH level of the soil.
If you have no choice but to water your shrubs with hard water, be sure to flush the soil with rainwater, filtered or distilled water every so often in order to flush out the build up of harmful salts.
Most indoor potted plants are not fond of high levels of salt. And while tap water most commonly contains acceptable levels of salt, if you are using a water softener, the sodium content can increase drastically, causing major problems such as sodium toxicity.
Softened water has less limescale deposition, which makes it safe for human consumption by replacing concentrations of calcium and magnesium ions with potassium or sodium ions, which, however, makes it unsafe for plants.
So, be aware that using water from water softeners can severely affect your plants’ health, and the continued use of soft water can result in death of your plant.
As a fellow carer of plants, you will know that the roots need to receive ample amounts of oxygen in order to promote healthy growth. This is why we plant in well aerated soil and avoid soggy soil.
Oxygen levels in water also play a huge role in growing a healthy plant. More oxygen dissolved in the root zone, results in a larger root mass, which leads to faster and more vibrant growth of plants.
The concentration of oxygen is higher in cool water compared to warm water. It is also higher in water that contains fewer dissolved minerals. Rainwater generally has the highest oxygen content.
Root rot and stunted root growth are two issues that may develop due to insufficient oxygen dissolved in the roots. If you use well-aerated and less soggy soils, and these issues continue, try to change to a different kind of water.
It is important not to water your plants with water that is too cold. A colder water temperature impacts the absorption of water and vital nutrients. And, it can also trick the plant into thinking that the season is changing, triggering it to go dormant. This results in stunted growth and may cause damage to the root system and leaves.
Some plants are particularly sensitive to cold water. These shrubs are typically tropical and include orchids, ficuses, calatheas and alocasia plants.
Too much chlorine or chloramines in water can be quite damaging to roots, and it also kills and eliminates beneficial soil bacteria and soil microorganisms. In some cases, chlorine may even pose a toxic threat to plants, which results in its leaves developing brown spots, brown dry leaf tips and also causing dropped leaves.
Large amounts of chlorine can be removed from tap water by either running it through a filter of some sort or by letting the water sit uncovered for 12-24 hours.
The rate of leaf photosynthesis and respiration that occurs within plants, can be disrupted by even the smallest amounts of fluoride found in fluoridated water. And when fluoride levels start building up in the plants flesh, it may cause more than one issue, namely, necrosis and toxicity. Spider plants, for example, are quite susceptible to fluoride levels in water.
The amount of fluoride found in tap water varies remarkably. In some countries, fluoride might even be added to drinking water because it is beneficial to dental health.
What Type Of Water Is Best For Plants?
If you are a newbie to the plant world and plant care, it is natural to choose to water your plants with tap water directly from the hose pipe. This is not necessarily wrong and most plants can handle tap water.
There are some plants, however, that are more sensitive to the chemicals in tap water than others. It is also good to keep in mind that the tap water quality can vary depending on what area you are in.
If you reside in an area where the tap water contains great amounts of chemicals and minerals, and you use it to water sensitive plants such as calathea, you will cause it to suffer.
Calatheas, such as goeppertia orbifolia are rather sensitive, and an alternative solution to tap water is advised.
If, however, you are caring for or growing plants such as pothos or philodendrons, tap water is good enough and the plants will thrive.
How Can I Make Tap Water Better For My Plants?
Access to tap water is easy, and it is an inexpensive way of watering plants. Before using it though, it is recommended that you let it run into a bucket and let the water sit overnight uncovered.
This way, some minerals and harmful chemicals can escape the water and heavy metals will drop to the bottom of the bucket.
Should I Use Filtered Water For Plants?
If tap water is your only choice, filtering it prior to watering to improve the water quality would be the best choice for your plants.
You can get different filters. Some are in the form of faucet attachments and others are available in pitchers.There are a variety of different filters that can be found on the market. And they all come with different filtering levels.
Go for the water filter that will work best for you.
These filters are manufactured in such a way that they remove heavy metals, chlorine and fluoride from tap water, as well as reducing mineral levels and salt levels, which in turn makes them a lot better to use on your shrubs.
Even when using a filter, it is always a good idea to let a container with water sit for a couple of hours. Water temps which are at room temperature are best for your plants.
You can also use the filtered water for misting your plants with a spray bottle. When you plan a vacation, you can use some watering globes for plants that can carry out the watering for up to two weeks.
Your plants will greatly appreciate being watered with fresh rain water, but there are a few things that you need to consider first.
Firstly, the location that you live in. If the area that you are residing in is highly populated, or you live close to an industrial area, you need to be careful of polluted rainwater — acid rain.
This rainwater is not ideal as it contains a lot of pollutants and the pH level may be wrong for your plant, causing more harm than good in the end. This is one of the cons of rainwater.
If you live in an environment where the surrounding air is clean, collecting rainwater to water your plants with is a great idea. Be sure to collect rainwater in containers that are placed in the middle of the yard.
Collecting it from a rain gutter or other run-offs may cause the rainwater to become impure as the gutter might be dirty or, even worse, have dead animals lying in it somewhere along the line.
Our advice is to use rainwater on more sensitive plants that do not tolerate tap water.
Why Is Spring Water Good For Plants?
We all know that plants need certain amounts of water to survive and grow. So, water is obviously good for plants. But, is it beneficial to use bottled water on your shrubs?
There are some types of bottled water that are good to use on plants and then there are others that should rather not be used.
Spring water, for example, is one of the best types of bottled water to use, whereas distilled or purified bottled water has been shown to be less beneficial to your green babies.
Why Bottled Spring Water?
Bottled spring water is probably the purest source of water you can find in a bottle. This type of bottled water comes from naturally flowing underground water sources, and it contains a lot of natural minerals that plants take great benefit from.
It is also free from chemicals or other substances that might contaminate it, this makes it a popular choice for watering plants, as it helps maintain their health and vitality. Spring water’s pH level is typically neutral or slightly alkaline, which is ideal for most plants.
Watering your indoor plants with spring water will increase their growth rate as well as help them to grow more beautifully.
Downside To Spring Water
Purchasing this bottled water at the supermarket might become quite pricey in the long run. This is the one drawback of using this type of water to hydrate your plants. If you are lucky enough to have access to water from a natural spring, then we would encourage you to make use of it.
Fun Fact About Sparkling Water & Plant Growth
Sparkling water is also a type of bottled water that can be used to water your plants. It contains carbon dioxide, which increases plant nutrients, nitrogen levels and boosts the rate at which the plant photosynthesizes, often making plants grow faster than they would without the increased CO2.
Water infused with carbon dioxide has been shown to make a positive contribution to your plants growth and well-being.
Bottled Mineral Water
This type of water is similar to bottled spring water, except that it contains even more minerals. It is very likely that bottled mineral water contains traces of sodium, potassium, sulfates and calcium as well.
There are a few disadvantages to making use of this type of water to hydrate your shrubs. Firstly, bottled mineral water is pricey and, secondly, the high sodium levels may cause problems for your indoor plants.
It can slow plant growth and can make your plant generally less healthy. Also, keep in mind the additives in mineral water that your shrub may not need.
Purified Water Or Distilled Water
Bottled water that is purified, means that it has undergone a treatment process in order to remove any dissolved solids and bacteria. These treatments could either be reverse osmosis water treatment, which is also known as RO water, or the distillation process, which produces distilled water. Distilled water is also good for use in humidifiers for plants.
Very often, these water treatments such as reverse osmosis also remove beneficial bacteria, certain minerals and other nutrients, decreasing the water quality, which in turn means that it benefits plant health less.
Some water treatment companies purify the water and then re-add a few minerals, whereas other purification companies add additives or artificial elements. Should this be the case, it may cause many plants major problems and ultimately stunted growth when using this water to water plants.
Aquarium Water For Plants
Using fish tank water — of course only if it is freshwater — is great for your indoor plants as it contains a lot of good nutrients. It could even be used as a fertilizer to a certain extent.
The downside, is that, unless you only own 1 or 2 houseplants or alternatively, a massive aquarium at home, using fish water to hydrate your plants is unfortunately not feasible as a permanent source of water.
There you have it. Just some information on the different types of water and how they can affect how your plants grow.
We hope that this brief information will help you on your path to choosing the best water for growing plants in order to grow healthy and beautiful plants.