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The Benefits of Using Distilled Water for Plants

Explore the advantages of using distilled water for plants. Our guide delves into the reasons why distilled water is essential for sensitive plants, offering insights into its purity and where to buy it.

Water is one of the most essential elements of plant care. Literally, without water, your plants will not survive.

Not only do you have to figure out the frequency and the amount to water your plants, but you also need to determine what kind of water to water them with.

What kind of water?!?! There are kinds of water?!?!

Yes, there are different kinds of water and today I am excited to talk about distilled water and why it’s a great option for watering your plants!

the benefits of distilled water for plants

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is water that has undergone a process called distillation to remove impurities and minerals. During distillation, water is boiled, creating steam. The steam is then cooled and condensed back into liquid form, leaving behind most of the impurities, minerals, and contaminants.

Distillation effectively removes not only minerals like calcium, magnesium, and sodium but also other substances such as bacteria, viruses, and chemicals. The distillation process results in highly purified water, often referred to as demineralized or deionized water.

filling watering can

Is Distilled Water Good for Plants?

Yes, distilled water can be good for plants, especially for those that are sensitive to minerals and impurities found in tap water.

Here are a few reasons why distilled water is beneficial for certain plants:

Reduced Mineral Buildup

Distilled water is devoid of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can accumulate in the soil over time, potentially leading to nutrient imbalances and stunted growth. Using distilled water helps prevent mineral buildup in the plant’s root system.

Prevention of Leaf Burn

Some plants, especially those with delicate or sensitive foliage, can experience leaf burn when exposed to water with a high mineral content. Since distilled water is mineral-free, it eliminates the risk of leaf burn, ensuring the leaves remain healthy and vibrant.

Healthier Root Development

Plants absorb water and nutrients through their roots. When these roots are exposed to excessive minerals or contaminants, it can hinder proper absorption. Distilled water provides a clean, pure source of hydration, promoting healthier root development.

Avoiding Contaminants

Distilled water is free from contaminants such as chlorine, fluorine, and other chemicals commonly found in tap water. These chemicals can be harmful to plants, particularly those with sensitive root systems.

golden pothos

Which Plants Need Distilled Water?

It’s important to remember that not all plants require distilled water. Some plants are more tolerant of the minerals present in tap water and may not be negatively affected by it. It’s crucial to understand the specific needs of your plants and observe their responses to the water you provide.

As a general rule, if you notice signs of mineral buildup, leaf burn, or other issues related to water quality, switching to distilled water can be a beneficial solution for those particular plants.

Here are some plants that benefit most from being watered with distilled water:

  • Orchids: Orchids are sensitive to mineral buildup and benefit from the purity of distilled water, which prevents damage to their aerial roots.
  • Ferns: Ferns, with their delicate fronds, are susceptible to leaf burn caused by minerals in tap water. Distilled water ensures their foliage remains healthy and lush.
  • Bromeliads: Bromeliads, including popular varieties like Guzmania and Tillandsia, appreciate the purity of distilled water, especially in their central rosette where water collects.
  • Sensitive Plants (Mimosa pudica): Sensitive plants, known for their rapid leaf movement in response to touch, are often sensitive to minerals. Distilled water helps maintain their health and responsiveness.
  • African Violets: African violets have tender leaves that can be damaged by minerals in tap water. Distilled water provides a clean source of hydration for these indoor favorites.
  • Carnivorous Plants: Plants like Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, and sundews are highly sensitive to water quality. Distilled water ensures their traps remain functional and free from mineral buildup.
  • Air Plants (Tillandsia): Air plants, which absorb water and nutrients through trichomes on their leaves, benefit from the purity of distilled water to avoid clogging these tiny structures.
  • Calatheas: Calatheas, with their decorative and often colorful leaves, thrive when watered with distilled water, which prevents browning and leaf damage caused by mineral accumulation.
  • Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata): Fiddle leaf figs are sensitive to overwatering and can suffer from root rot. Distilled water helps maintain proper moisture without the risk of mineral-related issues.
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum): Peace lilies, appreciated for their elegant white blooms, prefer distilled water to prevent leaf tip burn caused by mineral content in tap water.

While these plants benefit from distilled water, it’s essential to monitor individual plant responses to it. Some plants within the same species may have varying tolerances to water quality, so observing their health and adjusting watering practices accordingly is crucial to keep them happy!

Calathea roseopicta plant close up

Choosing the Best Water for Your Plants

Trying to decide what water to use on your plants? Here are some comparisons of distilled water and your other options.

Tap WaterFiltered WaterDistilled Water
PurityVaries; may contain minerals and impuritiesVaries; some minerals and impurities may remainHighly pure; virtually free of minerals
ConsistencyDepends on local water sourceDepends on filtration method and device usedConsistently pure
Effect on PlantsMay contain minerals, leading to buildup in soilMay still contain minerals; impact depends on filterIdeal for sensitive plants; prevents buildup
AvailabilityReadily availableReadily available; requires a filtration systemReadily available; purchase from stores
ConvenienceConvenient, directly from the tapRequires a filtration device and regular maintenanceConvenient; ready to use
CostTypically low cost or included in utility billsModerate cost for a quality filtration systemModerate cost for distilled water
Suitability for PlantsSuitable for most plantsSuitable for many plants; depends on filtration qualityIdeal for sensitive and all plants

Rainwater vs. Distilled Water for Plants

When considering natural water sources, both rainwater and distilled water have their merits.

Rainwater is naturally pure, free from minerals and chemicals, making it an excellent choice for plants in many cases. However, its availability can be inconsistent, relying heavily on weather patterns.

On the other hand, distilled water offers controlled purity, ensuring a consistent quality.

The choice between the two depends on the accessibility and reliability of rainwater versus the convenience and assured purity of distilled water.

While rainwater provides a natural and often free source of water, distilled water offers a dependable alternative, especially in areas with irregular rainfall.

rain barrel

Filtered vs. Distilled Water for Plants

Filtered water and distilled water undergo different purification processes.

Filtered water typically removes larger impurities but might retain residual minerals and contaminants, depending on the filtration method.

Distilled water is treated through a distillation process and removes almost all impurities. For sensitive houseplants, the lack of minerals in distilled water makes it preferable over filtered water.

While filtered water might seem clean, its mineral content can still affect certain plants negatively.

Distilled water ensures a purer, consistent source, minimizing the risk of mineral buildup in the soil and promoting healthier plant growth.

Tap Water vs. Distilled Water for plants

Plants demonstrate remarkable adaptability to different water sources, including tap water and well water.

However, the mineral content in tap water can vary significantly, potentially leading to issues such as mineral accumulation in the soil or leaf burn in sensitive plants.

Distilled water, despite lacking minerals, provides a stable and safe option for most houseplants. Its consistent purity eliminates the guesswork, ensuring that plants receive water free from harmful chemicals and minerals.

While tap water might suffice for some plants, distilled water offers a reliable choice, especially for those seeking optimal conditions for their indoor greenery.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cutting propagating in water

Where to Buy Distilled Water for Plants

Ensuring a reliable supply of distilled water is essential for the well-being of your plants. Here’s a helpful guide on where to purchase distilled water, along with tips on making the right choice:

  • Local Stores:
    • Many grocery stores and supermarkets carry distilled water in their beverage or health sections. Look for labels specifying “distilled” to ensure you’re purchasing the right type of water for your plants.
    • Pharmacies and drugstores often stock distilled water, commonly used for medical purposes and preparing baby formula. Look in those aisles if it’s not with the bottled water!
  • Online Retailers:
    • Online marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay provide convenient platforms to order distilled water in various quantities. Read customer reviews to ensure the quality of the product.
    • Specialty online retailers focusing on gardening and plant care products might offer distilled water along with other gardening essentials.
  • Garden Centers and Nurseries:
    • Local garden centers, nurseries, and home improvement stores typically have gardening sections where you can find distilled water.

Tips for Choosing Distilled Water

Here are some things to look out for when selecting the distilled water to use to water your plants!

  • Check the Label: Look for labels that explicitly state “distilled water” to ensure you’re purchasing the correct type of water without any added minerals or impurities.
  • Brand Reputation: Opt for well-known and reputable brands to ensure the quality and purity of the distilled water.
  • Container Condition: Inspect the containers for any signs of damage or tampering. Intact, sealed bottles guarantee the water’s freshness and purity.
  • Expiration Date: Although distilled water doesn’t expire, a lot of brands give it an expiration date. Check for the production or expiration date to ensure it’s a recent batch.
  • Storage: Once purchased, store distilled water in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight to maintain its quality.

By following these guidelines and exploring these various options, you can easily obtain high-quality distilled water for your plants, ensuring their optimal growth and vitality.

Before you go…

Want to dive deep into watering your plants? What about bottom watering?! Check out my complete guide to bottom watering plants including an explanation of what it is, how to do it, and why you should bottom water!

Thanks for reading!

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