Is Soft Water Bad For Houseplants

Watering your garden with softened water is generally not a smart idea. This is because softened water frequently contains a lot of sodium, which is obtained from salt. High salt concentrations are generally toxic to plants. Because it tricks plants into believing they have absorbed more water than they actually have, the sodium in softened water actually disrupts the water balance in plants, which can lead to their death. The plants in your garden essentially starve to death from softened water.

In addition to harming the plants you water with softened water, the salt will accumulate in your soil and make it difficult for new plants to thrive.

Can softened water be used to water indoor plants?

Water softener salt is at the center of the discussion regarding soft water for plants. As a result, soft water (obtained through a water softener) differs slightly from rainfall. You see, the majority of softeners use specific salt in their procedure. Simply put, this method substitutes low quantities of sodium for calcium and magnesium. To be clear, though, soft water is not salty. Just contrast its salt content with other foods and drinks.

A teaspoon of table salt comes with 2,300 milligrams of sodium. The salt content of a piece of bread can range from 80 to 230 mg. Just the brand makes a difference. Salt is present in even low-fat milk. About 120 milligrams are present in an 8-ounce glass. The sodium content in soft water contrasts sharply with the levels in all of these foods.

A fair average is roughly 20 mg of sodium for 8 ounces of soft water, while the low level of sodium will vary depending on the water source. Foods and drinks with the FDA’s Low Sodium designation contain no more than 140 mg of sodium per serving. Anything containing 35 mg or less of sodium per serving is considered very low sodium. Given those conditions, the sodium content of soft water produced by a home water softener can range from very low to zero. The majority of house plants shouldn’t have a problem with it.

Naturally, we don’t want to provide salt water to our plants. But compared to your other options, like hard, chlorinated tap water, soft water barely registers with sodium, making it much more similar to rainwater. So yes, it is safe to give your plants gentle water.

Do plants like hard or soft water?

While some plants also despise soft water, many plants don’t enjoy it. Although natural water is ideal for plants, filtered water may be used to water them if they are not sensitive to soft water.

What happens if you use hard water to water plants?

When you water plants with hard water, the plants will develop a mineral scale or deposit. The leaves will be stained by this deposit, and your plant may potentially die as a result.

How long should let tap water sit I water my plants with it?

Give the chemicals and minerals that are already present in the tap water time to sink to the bottom of the container you are using by letting it sit for 24 hours before watering your plants. The next day, plants will be more secure in the top three-quarters of the water, according to this.

Can I water plants with soft water?

Salts of calcium and magnesium carbonate are present in hard water. It leaves stains, marks, and buildup on your sinks and other household fixtures. However, the appropriate amount of the minerals in hard water might benefit your plants. Just be sure to keep an eye out for any indications of stunted growth because gardens with greater variety might suffer from extremely high calcium and magnesium levels.

You must measure the pH of your water if you are growing acid-loving plants like Azaleas, Caladiums, and Begonias. Hard water frequently has high alkalinity, which could be detrimental to plant growth. Reverse osmosis water might provide more manageable watering in this situation.

How Does Soft Water Affect Plants?

If your plants receive a lot of rain, a little soft water here and there won’t harm them. However, it is not advised to only use soft water to water plants. The majority of water softeners employ sodium chloride, which can gradually increase the sodium content of garden soil. Issues with plant growth may result from this.

Use hard water or reverse osmosis to water plants instead of soft water. For outdoor spigots, your neighborhood Culligan Man may quickly install a bypass so that you only get soft water where you need it.

Growing Plants with Reverse Osmosis Water

Contaminants are significantly reduced with a reverse osmosis filter. And it’s a really well-liked option for gardeners who want a variety of plants. The production of steady, pure water is the main advantage. So you have simple control over the fertilizers and nutrients you add. Reverse osmosis water has advantages that gardeners with bacterial, iron, and chlorine issues will appreciate. It is comparable to getting rainwater from your tap.

Additionally, it is simple to alter the pH of RO water. Therefore, the adaptability of reverse osmosis will be beneficial for plants with particular acid or alkaline requirements.


You can use hard water on your plants, yes. However, gardens with a variety of plants or fragile plant life may experience issues, especially if hard water is their primary water supply. Watch out for damage brought on by water with an alkaline pH or by high mineral concentrations.

Although using soft water is acceptable, your garden won’t profit from it. Additionally, outside gardens that receive natural rain should only periodically be watered with soft water. For your indoor plants, use regular tap water in all other cases.

The ideal water for a serious gardener is reverse osmosis. It enables exact control over the delivery of nutrients to your plants. If you take care of delicate plant life, use reverse osmosis. If not, use hard water for your typical indoor plants.

What kind of water is ideal for indoor plants?

Maybe you’re unsure whether tap water is safe for your plants. It depends, is the succinct response. Unless it has been softened, most tap water should be fine for your houseplants. Softened water contains salts, though, which can accumulate in the soil over time and cause issues. Although most houseplants can tolerate chlorinated water, a filtration system is far better for your plants. Rainwater collection is an additional choice.

The ideal water for plants is what?

Your plants won’t actually be harmed by distilled water, but you’ll notice that they won’t grow as tall or as quickly as ones that are irrigated with rainwater or bottled spring water. Epsom salts have also been recommended as a way to help plants grow more quickly, however there is no evidence to support this claim.

Natural elements found in spring water are crucial for your plants’ optimum growth. Your plants will survive in distilled water, but it won’t supply them with any nutrients that will make them thrive.

Can I use softened water to irrigate my lawn?

You can still irrigate your grass with soft water, but you’ll need to use agricultural gypsum to reduce the sodium buildup in your lawn. Gypsum can remove any buildup from plant roots and leaves, allowing your plants to more efficiently absorb water. Additionally, it enriches the soil with calcium, thereby re-hardening the water you use to water your lawn.

Gypsum is available in big bags akin to fertilizer at any home improvement or agricultural supply store. Gypsum should be poured into a fertilizer spreader and distributed to your lawn in accordance with the directions on the container. an average of 2.5 pounds per 100 square feet.

Is drinking softened water acceptable?

The quantity of salt in the treated water will depend on how hard the original water was, even though most softened water is absolutely safe to drink. Before you soften the water, if the calcium hardness is less than 400 ppm, you can drink it without any worry. To lower the salt concentration in the soft water, you will need to further cleanse your water if your water hardness is higher than 400 ppm.

Rainwater has a delicate texture.

Despite being naturally soft, rainwater becomes slightly acidic due to dissolved carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere. (Acid rain, which is much stronger and brought on by different gases, should not be confused with this.) After it rains, water soaks into the ground and slowly permeates the rocks and dirt underneath.

Does the tap water I use harm my plants?

The minerals in tap water have been added, so you don’t need to bother about fertilizing your plants as much. You might want to test the water to be sure it includes the chemicals and minerals your plants need because different types of water have different minerals.

Con: Chlorine additives are frequently added to tap water, which is bad for plants. Water quality varies among cities as well, and some of it might be very poor. You could find that your plants are not developing as tall and robustly as they could if you use tap water.

Before using tap water to water your plants, let it sit out for at least 24 hours to lessen the possibility of dangerous compounds in the water. The chlorine can now disperse as a result.

Do house plants suffer from hard water?

Hard water can harm your plants in addition to leaving an ugly white crust on the soil and in the pots. They might result in the soil becoming too salty, which would make it difficult for your plants to adequately absorb rainwater. Your plants may therefore fail to thrive as a result of this. Slow new growth, yellow or brown-edged leaves, and even withering are all signs of the condition.

Be aware that very dry air, underwatering, or overwatering can all result in brown margins. To make sure that the water is the root of the issue, think about having it tested. This can also assist you in figuring out whether the pH or chlorine levels in the water are problematic and may be harming your plants.

Do house plants suffer from hard water?

For life to exist as we know it, we need water. Everything on earth, with the exception of some types of bacteria, depends on water for survival and growth. However, just as there are several distinct species of living things on Earth, different organisms require different sorts of water—most often what is dissolved in the water. You must use different types of water for different purposes, such as drinking and nourishing your plants. Consider where your water originates from, what might be in it, and how you can determine this for yourself.

Types of Water

Water is typically divided into hard water and soft water categories. The amount of salts and bicarbonates dissolved in the water makes a difference between the two. While soft water has lower levels, hard water has higher concentrations of salt and bicarbonates. Scale and water stains are left behind on surfaces by hard water. This means that in the case of plants, hard water will result in the formation of a layer of salt and calcium carbonate on the soil (or roots), which will eventually start to deter water. Additionally, because fertilizers include a lot of salt, watering your plants with a fertilizer and hard water mix would produce an even thicker residue and make watering more challenging.

Water provided to a tap, or a domestic or business faucet, is known as tap water (running water, city water, municipal water, etc.). Adding chlorine to municipal tap water as part of the purification process cleans the water. Although safe for human consumption, the chlorinates employed destroy microorganisms from the soil. Even though it doesn’t take long for these organisms to reappear after watering, a hydroponic system’s regular use of chlorinated water will stop microorganism growth in grow mediums. Additionally, older pipe can pollute water with metal or soil particles, clogging irrigation system emitters or filters. The most typical supply of water for plants is tap water, although careful monitoring and testing are needed due to the varied quality.

Steam vaporization is used during the distillation process to get clean water. It is quite pricey and has a low salt and bicarbonate content, making it a poor choice for watering plants. A much better source of fresh water that is suitable for consumption by both people and plants is reverse osmosis water. The water’s low salt content makes it suitable for liquid fertilizers or soil washing.

Rainwater is the ideal source of water for plants. When properly collected, rainwater is pure and nearly contaminant-free (e.g. covered barrels using clean conduits to move the water before it touches dirt or other contaminants).

How to Test Water

Even while official testing facilities or academic institutions should test water sources, doing so can be pricey if all you want to do is determine whether water is to blame for your plant’s sluggish growth. You may check your water and soil for pollutants and dangerous elements using a variety of tools. It goes without saying that your tap water is heavy in salts and bicarbonates if you use the same tap water as your home and experience problems with hard water stains. You can check the pH or electrical conductivity of the water you use if it comes from a source other than your household faucet (EC).

According to nutrient levels, as was previously demonstrated, pH values can represent what’s in your water or soil. Water that is highly acidic will be exceedingly salty and detrimental to your plants. Most plants should have a pH of around 5.5. Water’s EC is typically quite low because pure water is a very strong electrical insulator, but impurities make water more conductive. The conductivity of the water will increase as the level of contamination increases. You can quickly determine how clean your water is by performing an EC test. Electrical conductivity (EC) should have a value of 2.0 deciSiemens/meter for conventional plants.

Reducing Harmful Elements

What can you do about the high salt percentage in your water now that you know about it? You might change to a whole different supply, but this can be pricey since it requires buying water or moving your greenhouse. If using rainwater or reverse osmosis water is not an option, you should routinely drain the grow medium. Leaching is the process of dissolving or washing away salts by rinsing the roots and soil with pure water. In general, we advise a clean water rinse after every third watering. Finding salt-tolerant plants, such as asparagus or squash, is your final alternative.

It should be mentioned that it is not recommended to use water softeners to treat irrigation water. High sodium or potassium concentrations left behind by water softeners can cause additional issues for your plants.

You now have it. When growing plants indoors or outdoors, you should consider base water quality! The most exact way to determine the composition of your water is to speak with a testing facility, however a simple EC or pH test can help you spot issues right away. Please leave a comment below if you have any tips you’d like to contribute so that we can all gain. Through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest, we’d also love to hear from you or see the things you’re working on!