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Distilled Water for Houseplants- Good or Bad?

Distilled Water for Houseplants- Good or Bad?

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Your houseplants help keep the air in your home clean and return an abundance of oxygen. However, keeping them healthy can often be a challenge, especially for the more finicky varieties of plants.

We are often more careful about the pots and soil that we use for our plants than the water we use to hydrate them.

The soil of potted houseplants can build up with salts and minerals over time and can affect the health of your plants.

If you live in the city and use water from a municipal system, your water is likely to contain chlorine and fluoride.

However, suppose you have well water and use a water purification system. In that case, this water may not be suitable for your plants, either, due to salt.

To learn the best kind of water for your houseplants, read on for the benefits of distilled water.


Distilled Water for Houseplants

Water that is distilled has gone through a process that removes any impurities that might be in it. What you get is pure, clean water with no additives to affect your plant’s health. However, the absence of minerals in your plant’s water will need to be considered if you want healthy plants.


Chemicals and your Houseplants

Bottled water, rainwater, and distilled water are void of minerals unless they are added back in, as they are in some bottled water products.

Your tap water, on the other hand, may contain chlorine, fluoride, and those are the least of your worries.

Tap water can contain heavy metals, even after it is treated, including copper, iron, lead, arsenic, aluminum, herbicides, pesticides, and more.

Distilled water has none of these contaminants due to the method used to produce purified water.

Distilled water is void of everything but hydrogen and oxygen. So with that in mind, if you use distilled water for your plants, you need to be sure that they get the nutrients they require.

Some of the metals, like iron, copper, and magnesium, are removed by distillation and are plants’ nutritional requirements.

Thus, they need to be added to the soil or water so that your plants receive what nutrients they require to be healthy and thrive.


Do Houseplants Need Distilled Water: The Answer

Most plants will do fine with tap water unless you live in an area plagued with heavy metals and chemicals. Then, the water may be fine for hydration, but the toxins from the water will build up in the soil over time.

Flushing the soil of your houseplants can wash these buildups away. However, it may be too late to save your plant once you realize something’s wrong.

You can avoid the issue of toxin buildup in the soil from watering using distilled water. However, it would help if you flush your houseplants occasionally.

Fertilizer can cause the same buildup of metal, as well as nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, and other nutrients, as impure water.

Your water can be tested for the presence of heavy metals, chemicals, and other contaminants, at your local health department.

You may find that your tap water is acceptable for your plants, and then again, you may not.


Can I Make My Own Distilled Water

Yes, you can; however, buying distilled water is the least expensive route to take. In addition, distilling water requires special equipment and time.

Unless you have both time and equipment, making distilled water from tap water or any other water source is impractical. That’s unless you can spare time to create one.

An alternative to purchasing or making distilled water is to capture rainwater for your houseplants. Rainwater is as close to distilled water as you get without buying it or making it yourself.

However, it too can cause issues.

When living in a highly industrialized or populated area, the rainwater may be of lower quality than your tap water.

It can also be highly acidic, which can upset the pH balance of your soil and cause stress to your plants.


Keeping the pH Balanced When Using Distilled Water for Houseplants

Houseplants grow the best when their soil pH is between 5.0 and 6.0. The higher pH of water from municipal water systems tends to be higher.

This pH level is okay for some plants, but if you have plants with an affinity for acidic soil, you will need to increase the soil’s acid content to keep them happy.

Since distilled water is flat, it has a neutral pH of seven, so it neither adds nor takes from the soil. The pH of the soil of your houseplants can be tested with a simple pH soil tool from your local garden supply.

Testing your soil regularly will help you keep it at the level it needs for every plant you have. Many plants that you grow will thrive in soil with a 6.5 pH range.

However, some plants may do better with soil that is slightly more alkaline or acidic.

Readings above a pH of 6.5 are alkaline, while pH readings below it are acidic.

Therefore, if you choose to use distilled water for your houseplants, learning the required pH for each one will let you know what you need to add to the soil for a healthy, thriving plant.


Frequently Asked Questions about Distilled Water for Houseplants


Is water from my home’s filtration system okay for my houseplants?

It is not unless you purify it using UV light. Home filtration systems remove the calcium and magnesium from the water and add sodium. Plants do not like sodium, and the buildup of salts from filtered water can keep your plants from growing to their potential.


Is distilled water hard or soft water?

Its pH balance determines whether water is hard or soft. For example, with a pH of 7.0, distilled water has a neutral pH, which means it is neither hard nor soft.