Distilled Water For Plants – Using Distilled Water On Plants


By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Distilled water is a type of purified water achieved by boiling water away and then condensing the vapor. Using distilled water on plants seems to have its benefits, as watering plants with distilled water provides an impurity free source of irrigation that may help prevent toxicity build up.

Why Distilled Water for Plants?

Is distilled water good for plants? The jury is divided on this, but many plant experts claim it’s the best liquid, especially for potted plants. Apparently, it reduces chemicals and metals that are contained in tap water. This, in turn, provides a clean water source that will not harm plants. It also depends on your water source.

Plants need minerals, many of which can be found in tap water. However, excessive chlorine and other additives may have the potential to harm your plants. Some plants are especially sensitive, while others do not mind tap water.

Distilling water is done through boiling and then reconstituting the vapor. During the process, heavy metals, chemicals, and other impurities are removed. The resulting liquid is pure and free of contaminants, many bacteria, and other living bodies. In this state, giving plants distilled water helps avoid any toxic buildup.

Making Distilled Water for Plants

If you want to try watering plants with distilled water, you can purchase it at most grocery stores or make your own. You can buy a distillation kit, often found in sporting goods departments or do it with common household items.

Get a large metal pot partially filled with tap water. Next, find a glass bowl that will float in the larger container. This is the collection device. Place a lid on the big pot and turn on the heat. Put ice cubes on top of the lid. These will promote condensation which will collect into the glass bowl.

The remnants in the big pot after boiling will be heavily laced with contaminants, so it is best to throw it out.

Using Distilled Water on Plants

The National Student Research Center did an experiment with plants watered with tap, salt, and distilled water. The plants that received distilled water had better growth and more leaves. While that sounds promising, many plants don’t mind tap water.

Outdoor plants in the ground use the soil to filter any excess minerals or contaminants. The plants in containers are the ones to worry about. The container will trap bad toxins which can build up to unhealthy levels.

So your houseplants are the ones who will benefit most from distilled water. Yet, giving plants distilled water isn’t usually necessary. Watch the growth and color of the leaves and if any sensitivity seems to arise, switch from tap to distilled.

Note: You can also let tap water sit for about 24 hours before using on your potted plants. This allows the chemicals, like chlorine and fluoride, to dissipate.

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What Is The Best Water For Houseplants?

It’s pretty safe to say that most people understand that plants need water if you want to keep them alive. But water quality varies massively and can impact the health of your houseplants. So should you use tap water, rainwater, distilled or filtered water for houseplants?

What is the best water for houseplants? Tap water is usually ok for most houseplants, but it depends on the plant and the quality of your tap water. Tap water quality varies, and some plants can be sensitive to minerals and chemicals in tap water. Rainwater or distilled water are excellent alternatives.

This article will explain everything you need to know about water for houseplants, to ensure they remain healthy and looking great.


Can You Water Plants With Tap Water?

You can water plants with tap water without too much worry. Most tap water sources will not cause major problems for most plant species (especially in the short term).

Most tap water is ok for plants, but you might want to check the pH, calcium, and magnesium levels first.

However, there are some potential problems with tap water from some cities and towns. For example:

  • Water pH – some tap water has a high pH, which can make nutrients unavailable to plants.
  • Hard Water – this water has lots of dissolved calcium and magnesium, which raises pH. Too much of one can prevent plants from absorbing the other.
  • Treatment Chemicals – this often refers to fluoride and chlorine, which are added to tap water by municipalities to kill bacteria and improve dental health.

The only way to know for sure that you have one or more of these problems is to do water testing. You can get a test done privately, or you can ask the city or town for a copy of the water report.


Most Common Methods of Watering Indoor Plants

Depending on the roots structure, each group of plants prefers water to be delivered from a different side. This can help a lot when brainstorming how to water indoor plants.

I know that it sounds a bit puzzling, but allow me to explain it further!

To start with, I shall say:

  • Top to bottom watering
  • Bottom watering plants
  • Immersion

One group is reserved for plants that like to receive the water from top to bottom. That’s right it’s how you usually water them- pour the water from the top and allow the soil to “drink” it and deliver it to roots.

The second group are plants which like to receive the precious liquid from the bottom.

It’s quite simple- their roots grow closer to the bottom of the container, so you need to enable such plants to receive the needed amount of water from that direction.

For this setting, you need to place some tray or a saucer under the pot and allow your plant to take as much liquid as it needs.

Once it takes, make sure you remove the tray otherwise you can damage the plant.

Not all of them are tolerant of wet feet.

And finally, immersion is the method you use for plants that like having their entire home soaked in water.

So, what you do is take the pot, and let your plant spend about an hour in a sink full of water.

This method of watering is particularly important for plants that grow rapidly.

During the growth season, you should repeat this ritual more often, about once a month- your plant will be very thankful!

Just make sure the excessive amount of liquid is gone before you return the plant to its usual place.

Pro-Tip: When in doubt whether your green friend needs water, you can simply check the soil. What you should do is insert about an inch of the finger inside the soil. If the tip is dry, then your plants could use some precious liquid. However, this rule doesn’t work for cacti and succulents.


Is Pure Water Good For Plants?

Now, this is a different question about watering plants. As pointed out in the previous article filtered water really doesn’t impact plants at all, as long as the water being filtered is not toxic. Purified water however is a different story. From previous articles you may have learned that pure water is aggressive to dissolve anything it comes into contact with. In other words, it will attract any free electrolytes in the soil or even in the plants that uptake the purified water.

A couple of crazy things can happen if you water your plants with distilled or deionized water. Some of the things are good, and some are bad. What actually happens to your particular plants depends on a variety of factors.

  • The pure water will tend to dissolve and hold the fertilizer and nutrients in the water. Then when the plants “drink” the water, they will get a good dose of food.
  • If the plant is over-watered, the pure water will take a lot of the nutrients from the soil and drip away, or seep into soil away from your plants. In this case using pure water can deplete your plants of nutrients.
  • If you are growing plants hydroponically, pure water could cause your plants to swell, and the internal cells to rupture, thereby killing or severely damaging your plants. What happens is the pure water pulls electrolytes out of the plant cells and the pure water, under what is called hyper-osmotic pressure runs into the plant cells causing them to swell. The purer the water, the more dramatic the damage will be.

The bottom line here is that you really don’t need purified water for your plants. It may do more harm than good including increasing your nutrient bill, or exploding your plants.


When watering yours pots, the most common is that you do it from above. Using the watering can is an easy way to ensure the hydration of your plants. And proceeding with caution, wetting the substrate and not the leaves, it will also be appropriate. However, there are exceptions if they are very sensitive to fungi, it is better to water them from below.

Watering from below may be a bit uncomfortable - it will take you a bit longer, perhaps, than the traditional way - but it will give you some interesting benefits. Among others, you will ensure that the plants only absorb the water they need, avoiding excesses, and all without splashing.

Do not think that you will only end up with your plant in the trash because of watering if you miss its frequency or because of waterlogging. In some cases - such as African violets, cyclamen, spatyphils . - it will be enough to wet the leaves, the stem or other tissues during the process, so that - if they do not dry quickly and under certain conditions - fungi end up proliferating.


Watch the video: Distilled Water for Plants. High Maintenance House Plants


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