One of the most fundamental aspects of caring for a plant is ensuring that it gets enough water. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the type of water that you feed to your plants can have a huge impact on their health. Whilst tap water has been chemically treated to be safe for human consumption, the purification methods leave traces of chemicals like fluoride and chlorine, which can be harmful to your plants, killing good bacteria on their roots. A simple way to circumvent this is to use a water filter to remove any contaminants. This way, you can ensure that you are providing your plants with the purest kind of water, encouraging them to thrive.
The Characteristics of Water
Differences in the makeup of your water depend largely on the region you live in, mostly due to the type of rock at your water source.
When rain falls from the sky, it is naturally soft. However, if it meets a porous material like chalk or limestone when it reaches the ground, it soaks up minerals such as calcium and magnesium, making it ‘hard.’
So that these minerals don’t build up in our plumbing systems, most water is treated with water softeners, which work by replacing existing minerals with potassium or sodium ions.
The problem is that the elevated sodium content can trick your plants and lawn and disrupt their water balance. In a worst-case scenario, your plants will die of thirst, and the salt build-up in the soil will also prevent future plants from growing.
As you now know, the most prevalent minerals found within hard water are dissolved calcium and magnesium, which are responsible for limescale deposits and blockages in pipes, heating systems, and appliances.
Whilst you might be forgiven for thinking extra minerals can only benefit your plants, there can be too much of a good thing. Over time, these minerals can accumulate, reducing the presence of other essential nutrients and altering the pH levels in the soil.
Choosing the Right Water for Your Plants
Whilst many houseplants can survive on a diet of tap water, some plants which are more sensitive can suffer or even die. This is because of the trace chemicals left in treated water, most typically fluoride and chlorine. If you must use tap water to feed your plants, naturally dissipate the chlorine by leaving it in a container to sit (uncovered) for a day or so.
Rainwater is great for your plants as it is naturally soft. However, there are some cons to consider, such as difficulty collecting sufficient quantities and pollution, and high acidity if you live in the city or an industrial area.
Bottled water can contain useful nutrients and minerals that encourage healthy plant growth; however, we would not recommend this method due to the serious environmental impact of plastic waste.
Installing a water filter at home is easy and effective. You can remove dangerous viruses, bacteria, compounds, and toxins responsible for causing illness not just in plants but also in humans. Pre-filtering your water will not just boost growth in your leafy companions but improve the quality of your drinking water as well.
You do not need to buy expensive water filtration systems. There are easy ways to make your own DIY garden water filters just like the one in this video:
To help your plants live their best life, filtered water is your safest bet. You can be confident that any contaminants and nasty chemicals have been removed, and your plants’ roots can absorb all the hydrating water they need, free of impurities.