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The Best Water for Plants + Watering Tips for Your Houseplants

Wondering what the best water is for your houseplants? Great!

In this article, the best water for plants, I’m spilling the tea on the different types of water and the best water to use for the overall health of your indoor plants.

As a proud plant mama of over 40 plant babies, I’ve learned a thing or two about caring for houseplants. Including what the best water is for plants.

I will go over the benefits and disadvantages of tap water, soft water, spring water, bottled filtered, distilled water, rainwater, and even aquarium water!

the best water for plants

The Best Water for Plants: The Different Types of Water

Tap Water for Plants

What is Tap Water?

Tap water (also known as faucet waterrunning water, or municipal water) is water supplied through the tap.

Tap water quality varies depending on your location.

Benefits of watering plants with tap water: If tap water is all you have available to water your houseplants, water away. Unless you have a water softener, that is.

Unsoftened Tap water is OK but not great.

Most houseplants can tolerate tap water, but it could harm to sensitive plants such as spider plants.

Spider plants are very sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals, such as fluoride, which can turn the tips of the leaves brown and cause brown spots on even hardy plants like pothos or snake plants.

Disadvantages of water plants with tap water: Tap water contains chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, and various metals that can hamper plant growth.

the best water for plants-tap water

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If Tap Water is all you have

If tap water is the only water available for watering houseplants, it’s a good idea to let water sit for at least 24 hours before watering.

You may also want to consider purchasing a home filtration system or a water distilling machine to use for your houseplants’ drinking water.

Softened Water for Plants

What is softened water?

A water softener may be installed if you live in a hard water area.

Water softening removes calcium, magnesium, and other metals in hard water.

Soft water is not the best choice for watering houseplants because most water softeners use sodium chloride.

Sodium chloride can cause a build-up of sodium ions on the soil surface, which will cause plant growth problems.

The problem with softened water for plants:

Most houseplants hate high salt levels, so don’t water your plants with water that has run through a water softener.

Consider using rainwater, filtered water, distilled or bottled water instead.

beautiful house plants tips and tricks

Natural Spring Water for Plants

What is Spring Water?

Spring water is a popular form of bottled water. It comes from natural springs or groundwater.

Spring water may have a higher mineral content than water collected from a river or stream.

Spring water is considered pre-purified, as it has traveled through natural filters like limestone, sandstone, and clay.

Spring water meant for human consumption is then tested and filtered. Source

Benefits of watering plants with spring water:

Using spring water on plants provides nutrient-rich minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the pH range between 7.0 and 8.0, which plants love.

Shop Houseplant Essentials


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Distilled Water for Plants (a fan favorite)

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is steam from boiling water that’s been cooled and returned to its liquid state. Some claim that distilled or purified water is the best for human consumption, but what about houseplants?

Distillation rids water of impurities and removes more than 99.9% of the minerals dissolved in water. That means it’s removing even healthy minerals.

Benefits of watering plants with distilled water:

Distilled water is one of the best choices for watering houseplants because it contains no harmful chemicals.

Disadvantages of watering plants with distilled water:

While distilled water may be the best type of water for watering plants, during the distillation process, healthy minerals like magnesium salts that are important for plant growth and the overall health of your plants are removed.

In my experience, long-term use of distilled water can result in stunted growth and discoloration because they aren’t getting the necessary nutrients.

If you want to water your plants with distilled water, make sure you are using a good multi-purpose plant food at least once per month to replace lost minerals.

Did you know you can distill water at home? If you are interested in making your own distilled water at home, this article: How to make distilled water at home will get you well on your way!

You can also buy Home Countertop Distiller Water Machines that make distilling water at home easy!

Distilled Water for Plants


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Filtered Water + Bottled Water for Plants

What is Filtered Water?

Filtered water or bottled water is sourced from municipal tap water, which is then run through carbon filters or reverse osmosis to remove the chlorine and sometimes a micron filter.

After the filtering, it is ozonated and bottled.

Reverse osmosis is one of the most common filtration systems used to filter water.

Reverse Osmosis Is a highly effective filtration system.

Reverse osmosis removes heavy metals and common chemical contaminants, including sodium, chloride, copper, chromium, and lead;

The reverse osmosis process should also reduce arsenic, fluoride, radium, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrate, and phosphorous. (Let’s sure hope so, right!)

You can purchase a reverse osmosis system for your home to filter water which is more cost-effective than purchasing bottled water.

There are many home filtration systems available that are easy to install and quit costs effective.

One of the most commonly know at home filtered that uses an activated carbon filter are Brita water filters.

Brita-filtered water will remove the odors and chemicals like chlorine, lead, asbestos, and benzene from the water.

This makes it safer than directly using water straight from the tap.

Shop The Best Water for Plants:


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Rainwater or Melted Snow

Rain water is ultimately the best kind of water for watering plants! While rainwater is the better option, it may not always be available.

To have rainwater on hand, you must catch it and store it when it rains.

The Benefits of watering plants with rainwater: Rainwater is the best bet for watering plants because Rainwater contains nitrate.

Nitrates are a form of nitrogen. Nitrogen makes plants thrive!

The disadvantages of watering plants with rainwater: In many cases, rainwater is difficult to catch and may not be readily available.

the best water for plants-fish tank water

Aquarium Water

Aquarium water or fish tank water is a fantastic choice for watering plants if you have it available.

Aquarium water contains algae growth and is rich in beneficial bacteria, potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and trace nutrients that promote lush, healthy plants.

These are the same nutrients you’ll find in many commercial fertilizers.

If you don’t have fish tank water available, I suggest trying this amazing plant fertilizer.

It’s organic, living fertilizer and soil-conditioning humus compost made from fish manure for indoor and outdoor plants.

Plants love it, and it’s odorless! No fishy smell!

The Bottom Line: The Best Water for Plants

I’ve given you an outline of the best water for plants and the pros and cons of each type of water for plants.

Ultimately the form of water is based on availability, personal preference, and how your houseplants respond.

Your houseplants will let you know if they are unhappy.

Related: How to kill Fungus gnats forever

Watering Tips for Houseplants

Choose the best water possible and follow these watering tips for plants:

Get the Temp Right- water temperature impacts dissolved oxygen content, so it’s best to water plants with room temperature water. Warm water or cold water can shock plants.

Watch for signs of problems- Watch for signs of fungal diseases, insects, and overwatering. If you think your plant is un-well-it’s a good idea to use a plant care app to diagnose the problem.

Schedule consistent watering- The best time to water plants is in the morning. Avoiding watering plants during the hottest time of the day whenever possible.

I water once weekly during the summer months and once every two weeks rest of the year. The watering schedule will vary based on the time of the year and on climate.

Be sure not to overwater- Too much water is worse than not enough water. Less water is better than More. Excess water causes soggy soil and even root rot.

Test the water: you can test the ph levels in the water you use if you think your plants are unhappy.

The optimum ph level for houseplants is between 7.0 and 8.0, which plants love.

Provide proper drainage- Make sure your plant’s soil is draining properly. Proper drainage holes on the bottom of the pot. Also, transplant your plant using a good quality potting mix if it’s not draining properly or showing any signs of distress.

Different Types of Plants Have Different Needs.

Some plants require more water, some less. Some plants like bright light, while others do well in low-light areas.

Some plants love distilled water, while others prefer filtered or bottled water.

And some plants are more sensitive than others:

English Ivy. Salts present in ordinary tap water are highly detrimental to English Ivy. The best water for an English Ivy plant is distilled water.

Peace Lily. Peace lilies are sensitive to tap water chemicals, so distilled or rainwater is optimal. Peace lilies love humidity and bright filtered light, although they do ok in lower-light rooms for a season.

-African violets-African violets prefer distilled or filtered water that is lukewarm temperature.

Chinese evergreen plants– Chinese evergreen plants are beautiful houseplants but are a tad bit picky. Make sure you water Chinese evergreen plants with distilled water and fertilize them once per month.

Tropical Plants– My tropical plants do best when I water them with bottled/filtered water bought from the store. (I can’t use water from my tap because it’s softened).

Tropical plants love many natural minerals found in water, so distilled water is not the best choice.

My tropical plants quickly show yellow leaves and slow growth when watered with distilled water for long periods of time.

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FAQs: Best Water for Plants

Yes. But why? You can water plants with mineral water, but it is high in sodium and could harm plants long-term. Also, watering plants with mineral water is not cost-effective. 🙂

Rainwater contains the highest oxygen level.

Limescale deposition is a substance mainly made up of calcium and magnesium which is left behind when hard water evaporates. Limescale can also potentially cause damage to your houseplants.

Sure. If you live in a hard water area, it would be beneficial to water your potted outdoor plants with filtered water.

In my opinion, bottled water and filtered water are the same things. Most plants do well with both bottled water and filtered water.

Conclusion: The Best Water for Plants

Ok. In this article, I’ve done my best to help you discover the best water houseplants.

I’ve outlined the different types of water available and the pros and cons of each one.

The bottom line is I think that Trial and error is the best way to know which plants like which kind of water best.

I prefer to use distilled water on my houseplants-however I have found that some of my plant’s growth has slowed, and a few have yellowing leaves.

That said, I have decided to alternate between filtered or bottled or filtered water and distilled water.

I am also considering purchasing this rain catcher to catch rainwater for my plants whenever possible. Although I live in Arizona, we don’t get that much rain. 🙂

I hope this article was helpful. Please let me know your thoughts below, and if you’ve got any plant tips for me, please tell me!

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

XO, Christine

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