Filtered Water For Plants (Everything You Need to Know)

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If you’re not ashamed to admit that your house plants have become an important part of your family, you’re probably keen to know what water type is best to keep them happy and healthy.

Filtered water is tap water that’s low in, or free from, common contaminants.

Here, we’ve shared everything you need to know about filtered tap water for plant growth.

πŸ“Œ Key Takeaways:

  • You can give your plants filtered tap water because it’s free from chlorine and other chemicals but still contains necessary minerals.
  • Filtering water for your plants is easy and affordable, and your human family members can benefit from drinking the water, too.
  • Filtered tap water is better than using distilled water, which is lacking in minerals, or bottled water, which is wasteful and often isn’t any better quality than tap water.

🌿 Should I Give My Plants Filtered Water?

We think that yes, you should give your plants filtered water – for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is that filtered tap water has had several contaminants removed that could harm your plants, including chlorine (which is added as a water disinfectant during treatment), pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxic materials and harmful chemicals.

Removing these contaminants from your plant water means you won’t risk harming your plants with impurities that could cause stunted growth or even cell death.

Plus, watering plants with filtered tap water still gives them many of the nutrients they need because of the natural minerals present in the water. Filtering water doesn’t remove these minerals, so your plants can enjoy water that’s low in the bad stuff while still providing the healthy stuff.

Will you notice a massive difference in your plant growth and health after switching to filtered tap water? Probably not. But it’s still satisfying to know that you’re feeding your plants with cleaner, healthier water than the stuff that comes out of the tap.

Woman watering plants with filtered water

🚱 Which Water Contaminants Can Be Harmful To Plants?

Just like with humans, there are hundreds of drinking water contaminants that could be harmful to plants, even at trace levels.

Here are some of the most common contaminants and their potential effects on plants.

Chlorine

Chlorine is a chemical disinfectant that’s added to water at the treatment plant.

While chlorine plays an important role in drinking water safety – it kills pathogens like bacteria and viruses – it’s also a contaminant itself, and may kill microorganisms in soils that are actually beneficial for plants. In very large concentrations, chlorine may even be toxic to your plants.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s often produced synthetically and added to public drinking water supplies because of its dental health benefits.

Some plants are particularly sensitive to fluoride, and the mineral may disrupt photosynthesis and water intake, causing a plant to dry out, wilt, and develop brown tips on the leaves.

Illustration of fluoride concentrations in US
Fluoride Occurrence in US Groundwater, via United States Geological Survey (usgs.gov)

Lead & Heavy Metals

Heavy metals like lead may also inhibit plant growth. Some metals are naturally present in our drinking water, while others (like lead and copper) enter the water as a result of leaching from pipes and plumbing.

There are a few ways that heavy metals in water could affect your plants. They’ve been linked to inhibition of photosynthesis, altered water balance and nutrient absorption, and, if large quantities are present, plant death.

✨ Benefits of Filtered Water for Your Plants

Let’s look in more detail at the benefits of filtered tap water for your plants.

Free From Harmful Chemicals & Contaminants

The key benefit of filtered tap water is that it’s free from chlorine, heavy metals, and other contaminants that could be detrimental to plant growth.

By filtering your water, you remove many of the impurities that could affect your plant’s ability to photosynthesize, absorb nutrients, and more.

So, your plants should look green and healthy, with plenty of new growth.

Retains Healthy Minerals

Filtering your water doesn’t remove everything. Beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium are retained.

You won’t neglect your plant’s nutritional needs by watering them with filtered tap water. Only the bad stuff gets removed by a water filter.

Healthy minerals found in water

Easy, Convenient Solution

You don’t have to spend a fortune on special water for your house plants when you can simply use a water filter at home.

If you’ve never used a water filtration system before, start with an affordable option, like a water filter pitcher that uses an activated carbon filter.

Activated carbon filters dechlorinate tap water, which is just what you need to make it safe for watering plants. The more advanced filters use a blend of activated carbon and other filtration media to remove excess chlorine and contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, and fluoride – all for less than $100.

Filter Your Drinking Water

If you’re filtering the tap water for your plants, you may as well filter your own drinking water, too.

There are plenty of human health benefits from drinking filtered tap water, and chlorine-free water tastes nicer, so water filters are a great solution for your whole family.

βš—οΈ Distilled Water vs Filtered Water For Plants

So, using filtered tap water for watering is a great way to keep your plants healthy. But should you go one step further and use purified distilled water or reverse osmosis water for your plants?

The answer is no. We don’t recommend using water that has been treated in a distiller or a reverse osmosis filter because this water is too purified and lacks beneficial minerals needed to support plant growth.

If you have the choice between filtered or distilled water, always go for filtered tap water.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ”§ Related: Understanding the Impact of Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water for Plant Watering

Distilled water lacks minerals and nutrients for plant growth

🚰 Filtered Water vs Softened Water For Plants

Softened water is different from filtered tap water: it has been produced in a water softener, which exchanges calcium and magnesium minerals with sodium ions.

We don’t recommend using softened water for your plants because it still contains additive chlorine and other contaminants, but many of its healthy nutrients – the tap water impurities that plants actually need – have been removed.

Plus, while water from a water softener is ideal for preventing limescale in your plumbing, it contains too much sodium for most plants. Stick to filtered water or plain old unfiltered tap water to keep your indoor plants healthy.

πŸ₯€ Filtered Water vs Bottled Water For Plants

Trying to decide whether filtered or bottled water is best for plants?

It depends on the type of bottled water you use. Some bottled water products are simply bottled tap water, so when it comes to quality, they’re no different from your home’s tap water supply.

Other bottled waters, like natural spring water, are great for plants because they contain low levels of unwanted contaminants and are naturally high in minerals and nutrients.

However, buying bottled water solely for the purpose of watering plants is wasteful, so we don’t recommend it.

🌧️ Rain Water vs Filtered Water For Plants

Rain water is considered the number one choice for watering plants by most gardeners because it has a low mineral content and has the right pH and acidity for most plants.

We recommend using rainwater instead of filtered tap water for your house plants whenever you can. Collect the water in a bucket or watering can, so it’s always ready foe when you want to use it.

When you don’t have enough rain water to get by, switch back to filtered tap water for watering your plants.

Collecting rain water to use for watering indoor plants

πŸ” How To Filter Water For Plants

The best way to filter water for your plants is to use an activated carbon filter.

Activated carbon is ideal for filtering municipal water because it’s one of the most effective ways to remove chlorine and other unwanted chemicals, improving water quality and taste.

You can find activated carbon filters in a variety of filter types, including under-sink systems, countertop filters, faucet filters, and water filter pitchers. You could even buy a whole home filtration system if you want to filter the water in all your fixtures and appliances.

πŸ“‘ Final Word

Filtered tap water is superior to normal municipal water for your plant babies. It’s free from chlorine and other nasties, while still containing healthy minerals that your plants benefit from.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ”§ If you’re ready to start looking at affordable water filters for the humans and plants in your household, check out this guide.

❔ FAQ

Will boiling water make it healthier for plants?

Yes, boiling water for around 15 minutes will make it healthier for plants by removing chlorine and killing microorganisms like bacteria. Boiling your tap water is a good method to consider if you don’t have a water filtration system at home, although it’s more time-consuming than filtering water.

Can I use Brita filtered water for plants?

Yes, you can use Brita filtered tap water for your plants. The benefit of water from a Brita pitcher is that it has a lower chlorine content. However, it may still contain other contaminants that could harm your plants, like fluoride and heavy metals.

How do you make filtered water for plants?

The easiest way to make filtered tap water for your plants is to put it in a filter pitcher. A water pitcher filters batches of water that can be used for drinking, watering your plants, cooking, and any other purpose around your home.

Is boiled water the same as filtered water for plants?

Filtered and boiled water are similar for plants. They both lack chlorine, but filtering water often removes a greater range of contaminants, making it the better choice for healthy plants. Boiling water is only good for killing microorganisms, which are unlikely to be present in a municipal tap water supply anyway.

  • Laura Shallcross
    Senior Editor

    Laura is a passionate residential water treatment journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Print Journalism and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. Over a span of 5 years she's written on a range of topics including water softening, well water treatment, and purification processes.

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