What Should I Water Indoor Plants With? [Complete Guide]

Any home can benefit from having indoor plants, but plants need adequate care to flourish.

Indoor plants by window with watering can on wooden surface.

Giving indoor plants enough water is one of the key components of their care. Watering houseplants can be tricky as it’s easy to overwater or underwater them.

Should you use tap water, or is purified water better? What about rainwater or distilled water?

This guide will give a bird’s eye view of how much water your indoor plants need, what kind of water works best, and tips and tricks for watering your houseplants effectively.

Considerable Types of Water for Watering Indoor Plants

Indoor plants can be watered from various sources, including tap water, purified water, rainwater, and distilled water.

The best choice for watering indoor plants will depend on the specific needs of the plant and the availability of different water sources.

Let’s discuss how different types of water can have advantages and disadvantages in various scenarios.

Tap Water

Hand pouring water into potted basil from a glass.

Watering indoor plants with tap water can have positive and negative effects, depending on the water’s quality and the plant’s specific needs.

Pros

  • Tap water is readily available and convenient to use.
  • It is usually inexpensive or free.

Cons

  • Tap water may contain chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride, which can be harmful to plants in large amounts.
  • It may also contain minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which can build up in the soil over time and lead to nutrient imbalances.
  • In areas with hard water, these minerals can also leave deposits on the leaves of plants, which can lead to yellowing or other problems.

Overall, it is generally safe to water indoor plants with tap water as long as it is not contaminated with pollutants.

But if you are concerned about tap water quality or have plants prone to chemicals. You may consider using watering options instead.

Purified Water

Watering indoor plants with purified water can have several benefits, as it does not contain the chemicals and minerals that are often present in tap water.

Woman misting a potted indoor plant with a spray bottle.

Pros

  • Purified water does not contain chlorine, fluoride, or other chemicals that can harm plants in large amounts.
  • It is also free of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which can build up in the soil over time and lead to nutrient imbalances.
  • Using purified water can help prevent yellowing and other problems caused by mineral deposits on the leaves of plants.

Cons

  • Purified water can be more expensive than tap water.
  • It may not be as readily available, depending on your location.

Using purified water to water indoor plants can be a good choice for those concerned about tap water quality or plants particularly sensitive to chemicals.

However, it is important to note that purified water is not necessarily always the best choice for all plants and situations.

Rainwater

Watering indoor plants with rainwater can be beneficial in some cases. Still, it is best to remember that rainwater contains pollutants and minerals that may not be suitable for all plants.

Here are a few potential effects of watering indoor plants with rainwater:

  1. Rainwater is generally softer than tap water, which means it has a lower mineral content. This can be beneficial for some plants, as it can help prevent the buildup of excess minerals in the soil.
  2. Rainwater is also slightly acidic, with a pH of around 5.5-6.5. This can be beneficial for plants that prefer a little acidic soil, such as ferns and African violets.
  3. However, rainwater can also contain pollutants such as smog and industrial emissions, which can harm plants. If you live in an area with high levels of air pollution, it may be best to use filtered or distilled water for your indoor plants.
  4. It is also important to consider the source of the rainwater. When collecting rainwater from a roof, ensure the roof is clean and free of any pollutants or chemicals that could potentially harm your plants.

In general, it is a good idea to use a combination of tap water and rainwater for your indoor plants, as long as the rainwater is clean and free of pollutants.

This will help ensure that your plants receive a balance of minerals and nutrients.

Distilled Water

Watering a potted houseplant with a clear plastic bottle.

Watering indoor plants with distilled water can have positive and negative effects, depending on the type of plant and the mineral content of the water.

Here are a few potential impacts of using distilled water for indoor plants:

  1. Distilled water is pure water with all its dissolved minerals and impurities removed through distillation. This means it is very soft, has low mineral content, and has a neutral pH of around 7.0.
  2. One of the main benefits of using distilled water for indoor plants is that it can help prevent the buildup of excess minerals in the soil, which can be harmful to some plants. This is particularly beneficial for plants that prefer low-mineral soil, such as African violets and orchids.
  3. However, because distilled water lacks the minerals naturally found in tap water, it can be less nutritious for plants. This can be a problem for plants that need those minerals to thrive. The lack of essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium can lead to certain nutrient deficiencies, stunting growth, and abnormal leaf shape.
  4. Some plants, such as succulents and cacti, naturally found in arid regions, could be significantly affected by the lack of these minerals. And also might not be suitable for the long-term use of distilled water.
  5. It is also important to note that distilled water differs from sterilized or filtered water. It can still contain small amounts of bacteria or other microorganisms, so storing it in a clean and sanitized container is important.

It is best to consider the type of plant you’re watering and the soil mineral content before deciding to use distilled water.

For most plants, it may be best to use a combination of distilled water and tap water to ensure they receive a balance of minerals and nutrients.

If you decide to use distilled water on your plants, I suggest you regularly monitor your plants’ health and fertilize them to compensate for the lack of minerals in the water.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the type of water you use for your indoor plants can critically affect their health and growth.

Tap water is the most convenient option and is usually safe for most plants, but it can contain dissolved minerals that can build up in the soil over time. Rainwater is also a good option, but it can contain pollutants and may not be suitable for all plants.

Distilled water is pure and free of dissolved minerals but can lack the essential nutrients that some plants need to thrive.

When choosing which type of water to use for your indoor plants, it is important to consider each plant’s specific needs and the water’s mineral content.

In any case, the most important aspect to consider is the quality of the water. It’s significant to use water that is free of bacteria and other microorganisms, as well as pollutants and chemicals.

Also, make sure the container or the water collecting system is clean and free of any contaminants. Regular monitoring of your plant’s health and keeping an eye on the soil condition is key.

With the right combination of water, nutrients, and care, your indoor plants will thrive and bring a touch of nature and oxygen to your home.

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