Every indoor gardener’s top interest is to help their garden thrive. Thus, we try to provide the best fertilizer, quality pots, and excellent humidifiers to our plants, but… Sadly, we often forget about one thing that can be crucial for house plant care – water quality.
Should we use distilled water for watering house plants? Is tap water bad for plants? In the end, how much water is enough?
To find the answers to these and other questions regarding watering plants indoors, stay with us!
The Three Ground Questions on Plant Watering
Before you see in what ways you should use tap water for indoor plants, let us go through some basic rules when it comes to watering indoor plants.
The three essential questions are – how often and how much to water plants, and in what way to do it.
1. How to Water Plants?
In the beginning, we will answer the most important question of the three – how to correctly water plants?
There are a few things you should pay attention to.
The first important rule – never to use hot or cold water!
Plant water should always be lukewarm. The temperature shock may cause stress and damage to the roots.
The second important rule – make sure you water the soil evenly.
You want to reach all sides of the roots. Go around the plant while watering to ensure equal water distribution. This way, all the roots will develop equally.
And the last rule – when watering, try to reach the soil only.
You should avoid getting the plant’s parts such as leaves, stems, and especially flowers, from getting in touch with water.
If the pot is small enough to be lifted, you shouldn’t water the plant the regular way.
Instead, place the whole pot in a container filled with water.
Let it sit for five to ten minutes.
This way, the roots will soak up as much water as the plant needs.
After that, simply take the pot out and let the excess water from the pot dry.
2. How Often to Water Indoor Plants?
Now that we’ve learned how to properly water house plants, it is time to learn how often we should do it.
The answer to this question differs from plant to plant.
Some varieties require everyday watering, while some (cacti, for example), don’t need watering for weeks, even months.
The general rule is that you should let the topcoat of the soil become dry before you water the plants again.
Put your finger in the soil to determine how moist it is.
OF course, keep in mind that during the growing period, in spring and summer, plants need more water than in autumn and winter.
3. How Much to Water Your Plants?
If you prefer the old-fashioned way of watering, by pouring the water into the pot (rather than soaking the pot in a water-filled container), quantity is an important factor.
Overwatering is one of the main problems when it comes to indoor plant care.
Try not to do it!
Water just enough so you see that the excess water is running through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
The exact amount of water depends on the size of the pot, the specific plant’s watering requirements, and the time of the year.
When watering, make sure the soil is nicely soaked. The whole root zone should be nicely covered with water, to ensure equal growth.
Still, don’t let the soil become waterlogged! This may cause root rot and even plant death in some cases.
Tap Water for Watering Plants
If you are asking me if tap water is bad for plants, the answer is – yes.
If you are asking me – are there ways to use it without harming the plants, the answer is, once again – yes.
All you have to do is process it before you put it into use.
Fill glass or plastic bottles with tap water. Leave them open under the direct sunlight.
In a day or two, harmful substances will evaporate and the water will be okay for watering.
Since tap water is treated with minerals, you should lower the amount of fertilizer you normally add to your plants.
Also, remember that showering your plants once in 3-4 months can help wash off the excess salts and minerals from water.
1. Rain Water
This is the healthiest, cheapest, and most ecological option.
Just collect some rainwater in barrels or any other container, and use it for your indoor plants.
Still, some USA states have strict laws when it comes to collecting rainwater, so you should check the regulations before you start harvesting it.
2. Distilled Water
You can use distilled water, as well.
The thing with it is that it doesn’t contain any harmful substances, but neither is it beneficial.
If you use distilled water for long periods, fertilizer will be needed.
Another con – if you have more than a few plants, it isn’t all that cheap.
3. Aquarium Water
This is another ecological and useful option.
If you have fish, just save the water when cleaning the aquarium.
The fish will already have fertilized the water, so it is a win-win situation.
1. Is Tap Water Good for Plants?
Before we move any further, I would like to emphasize that the answer to this question can differ in dependence on your living area.
In some parts of the world, water is much healthier and processed with fewer chemicals.
On the other hand, some places have low-quality tap water treated with different chemicals so it could become good for human consumption.
Tap water in general isn’t beneficial for your plants because it contains chlorine that can be harmful.
2. How to Tell if a Plant Needs Water?
The best way to be sure whether your plant needs water is to stick a finger in the soil.
The top layer should be dry.
If you see that the first layer (about 2, 3cm) is still moist, there is no need for watering.
If the pot isn’t too large, lift the whole pot.
If it feels ‘light’ to the weight, you should water the plant.
3. When Is the Best Time to Water Plants?
In general, watering during the night isn’t advisable.
The humidity left on the foliage and other parts of plants may cause damage and rot.
The best time to do it is in the morning.
This way, the humidity left on the plant will evaporate by the end of the day under the impact of sunlight.
When it comes to watering indoor plants, there are some ground rules.
You should use lukewarm water, try to water all the root parts equally, and try to reach the roots only.
When it comes to watering frequency, it depends on the particular variety.
In general, you should let the topsoil become dry before you do it.
Tap water isn’t good for plants because it contains chlorine and other harmful substances that can be harmful to your plants.
If you still decide to use it, let the water sit in bottles under the sunlight.
The harmful substances should evaporate in a couple of days.
Other options you have are harvesting rainwater, or using distilled or aquarium water.
Still, no matter which option you decide on, watering with love is the most important asset!