Is Your Water Killing Your Houseplants?

using distilled water in white jug to water indoor plants

What is the best type of water for houseplants?

Overwatering is the most common cause of death in houseplants but did you know, the type of water you’re using could also be causing harm?

The right type of water for your indoor plants is almost as important as the right amount of water when it comes to keeping houseplants alive and healthy. Houseplants are picky about their water, just like humans. In the wide world of water, there are plenty of different types to choose from, so what type of water is best for your houseplants?

Any water without salt, sugar, or chemicals is best for your houseplants. Rainwater and bottled spring water are the best types of water to give to your plants. The minerals and nutrients found in these water types will keep plants healthy. 

If you haven’t been overwatering your houseplants and they are getting the proper sunshine needed but still aren’t thriving, it very well could be the type of water you’re using that’s preventing them from living their best life. Read on to determine what type of water is best for your houseplants.

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Can you give house plants tap water?

Yes, it is ok to give your houseplants tap water. However, watch for brown tips on your plants, this could be a sign that there is too much chlorine in your water that is causing damage and stunting your plant’s growth. Also, if you have a water softener, it’s recommended to use a different type of water on your plants as softened water can cause salt build up in the soil which can cause damage to your plants over time.

It is recommended that you test the water using a water testing kit to determine what kinds of nutrients and additives are in the water. Cities may place other additives in the water due to their poor water quality.

How long should tap water sit before watering plants

Allowing tap water to sit out for 12-24 hours prior to watering your plants will help ensure you’re using room temperature water on your plants, which is preferred.

There’s a lot of debate around if there are benefits to letting tap water rest before using, allowing chlorine in the water to slowly dissipate and make tap water a more viable type of water to use. Laidback Gardener has proven this to be a myth. As mentioned above, typically there is not enough chlorine in your tap water to do major damage to your plant but it’s advisable to have your water tested to know for sure what additives are in it.

Is filtered water good for houseplants?

Yes, filtered water is a great option for watering houseplants. Just like the name suggests, it filters out the chlorine and other additives that may be found in tap water.

Filters can get expensive though so if you’re only installing one for the sake of your plants, be prepared to endure the costs of changing the filter regularly to maintain its benefits.  

Is softened water good for houseplants?

No, softened water is not suitable for houseplants. Softened water has a higher sodium content than other types of water. Over time the salt will affect your plants ability to soak up an adequate amount of water and will cause your soil to degrade, leaving it without the proper nutrients plants need.

Is bottled water good for houseplants?

Yes! Bottled water for your plants can be a great alternative to tap water. Bottled water has typically been filtered and has taken out most of the additives found in tap water. Bottled water also does not contain high levels of sodium (such as softened water) which can cause plants to die.

Is aquarium water good for houseplants?

If you have a fish tank at home and you are going to clean it, do not just get rid of the water. The water can be reused to water your plants. The dirty fish water contains some of the very best nutrients for plant growth.

The fish and filters used in the water rid the water of chlorine while also adding nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and healthy bacteria. These are all things your plants need, and it is always great to reuse items!

Is spring water good for houseplants?

Yes, spring water is excellent for your houseplants. If water has been taken from a stream, it is usually bustling full of all the nutrients your plant needs. These things can help your plant become fortified and strong.

Spring water can be expensive to use though, because most of the time, spring water can only be found as bottled water. Bottled water can be costly and the plastic bottles it comes in can be harmful to the environment.

Is distilled water good for houseplants? 

Distilled water should only be used if you are in a pinch. If you do use distilled water, add some liquid fertilizer to make up for the nutrients that are removed during the distilling process.

Is rainwater good for houseplants?

Yes! Rainwater is the best kind of water for houseplants. Rainwater doesn’t have any additives typically found in tap water making it the most natural source of water for your plants. Not to mention, when plants are grown in their natural habitat, they rely solely on rainwater for survival. Rainwater has the nutrients plants need to survive and thrive indoors and outdoors without the salts and chemicals that can buildup in your soil and damage your plants.

Can water add nutrients to my plants?

Water’s purpose is to transport nutrients throughout your house plant and give it the moisture needed for optimal plant growth. When choosing the appropriate water to use, you want to make sure it is free of chlorine and doesn’t contain high levels of sodium.

Rainwater, spring water, and aquarium water are most recommended for your houseplants, if you are using another type of water you may need to use fertilizer to up the nutrients required for plant growth. Always read and follow the instructions on the fertilizer you choose as too much can have a determinant affect on your plants.

Can you overwater plants?

Yes, it is possible to give your plants too much water. Overwatering can cause less oxygen to go into the roots of the plant and the soil which can lead to root rot. Proper aeration and drainage in your soil is crucial for plant survival, otherwise your plant will die or have slow, stunted growth.

Use your fingers to check the soil for dampness about 2 inches deeper than the surface, if it already feels wet do not add more water. If you don’t want to get your fingers dirty every time, grab a moisture meter instead to make sure you are giving your plant enough water without overdoing it.

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Is Your Plant Getting The Right Type Of Water?

Now you have a better grasp on what type of water to use on house plants and how harmful some types of water can be.

The best way to make sure your plants are getting a proper amount of plant-friendly water is to check the moisture content in your soil regularly with a moisture meter and monitor plant growth.

If you notice that the plant’s growth seems stunted or the leaves are turning yellow, it’s a good sign that you need to examine the type of water you’re using and the frequency of watering and switch up your routine.