I wanted to find out what water to use for my plants. This post is all I could research to find what is the best water to use for potted plants.

The best type of water for potted plants is rainwater or distilled water. You can also use bottled water and cooking water that contains useful nutrients for plants. Tap water is OK to use if you don’t have other choices.

You can continue reading to find out more information about each type of water and how it benefits your plants. I’ve also written how you can transform your tap water into something good for your plants.

Rainwater and snow

These are the best forms of water you can use for the plants. They do not contain many impurities, minerals, and salts that can harm your potted plants.

It is important where you gather this type of water. You don’t want to collect rainwater from polluted areas. And for snow, you don’t want to collect it from the sidewalk where salt could be mixed into it.

It’s easy to collect rainwater in a rain barrel. Make sure to clean the barrel before use. Then place it in your yard to collect fresh and pure rainwater. Once it’s collected, you can transfer the water to another container for storage.

You can collect snow from an area that is clean and away from the sidewalk. Then put the snow in a container at home, and it will melt into pure water.

Distilled water

Distilled water is the next best type of water you can provide to your potted plants. This water is completely free from minerals and chemicals you would otherwise find.

You can either buy such distilled water or use a distiller with regular tap water to extract the minerals and chemicals from it.

This can get expensive whether you buy it from a store or the distilling machine.

Bottled water

Bottled water is another good source of water for your potted plants. It is not completely free from minerals but that’s a good thing.

The minerals in such water can be beneficial to the growth of plants. You won’t need to provide the nutrients to your plants separately.

The problem with using bottled water is it becomes quite expensive. You might be able to use bottled water if you have a few potted plants. But it might not be feasible for a large collection.

Cooking water

Cooking water is a great option to water your plants. You just need to use water that you used in the kitchen for cooking pasta, boiling eggs, or steaming vegetables.

This water has plenty of nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and calcium that are good for the plants.

Cooking water is an inexpensive source than using distilled or bottled water. It’s sustainable and saves energy in the process.

Just be careful to cool the water down to room temperature before you use them for the plants.

Tap water

We all have access to tap water and it’s tempting to use it for watering potted plants. The problem is that it can be hard or soft water.

Hard water may contain lots of minerals that can damage your plants. Soft water can contain some salts that too will damage your plants. And tap water can contain chemicals that are used for treatment like fluoride and chlorine.

Using tap water can stunt the growth of your plants and kill them in the worst case. But there is a way you can make the water suitable for use.

You can use a filtration system to remove unwanted minerals and chemicals from tap water. If the tap water just contains chemicals like chlorine, you can place a container in the sun for 1 to 2 days.

This helps dissipate dissolved gases like chlorine from the water and make it suitable for watering the plants.

You can also boil the tap water as this will remove the unwanted minerals and chemicals making it suitable for potted plants. Do remember to bring the water to room temperature before using it.

What are some water filter options you have when using tap water?

Garden hose filter

A garden hose filter is one that attaches to your garden hose. This helps to filter out unwanted particles, chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, bacteria, and viruses from the water.

This usually is a small filter but that makes it suitable for watering a few potted plants.


A distiller can help you get the purest form of water. It works by evaporating the water so the minerals and chemicals are separated out.

Then the water is condensed and collected which gives you the best water to use for your potted plants.

The drawback of using a distiller is that it’s a slow process. And it consumes electricity which makes it a bit expensive.

RO Filter (Reverse Osmosis)

A RO filter is one of the complex filters to extract unwanted particles, chemicals, bacteria, and viruses from the water. There are filters that can add some essential minerals and nutrients back to the water.

The drawback of using an RO filter is that it is a complex equipment that needs maintenance and periodic filter replacements.

House Water Filter

You can have a filtration system installed for your entire house. This gives you pure water for your family’s consumption as well as to water your potted plants.

This is a very convenient system to have without worrying about how much water is available for your plants.

Should you use salt or sugar water?

Some people may suggest using salt or sugar water for your potted plants. This is bad advice and you’ll end up killing your plants.

Some may advise using a little Epsom salt in your water. Many believe it helps improve plant growth, absorb nutrients, and deter pests and diseases.

What temperature should the water be?

You want to make sure the water is tepid before using it for your potted plants. This means the water should be at room temperature. It should neither be too hot nor too cold.

Hot or cold water will end up damaging your plants causing issues like root rot or wilting of the leaves.

You need to be very careful when you have boiled water or brought in snow from the yard. Make sure the temperature is optimal before using the water.

You can invest in a good water thermometer to determine the temperature before using it on your plants.

When should you water your potted plants?

The best time to water your potted plants is in the morning. This gives the soil enough time to absorb the moisture and use it for the plant.

But it also helps to evaporate the excess water from the soil as well as the foliage. This will prevent fungal diseases from infecting the soil and the plant.

You can also water the plants in the evening. But the problem is if water remains on the plant, it can be an invitation to fungal problems.

You should not water your potted plants in the day unless they are indoor plants. The excess water will heat due to sunlight and can damage the leaves and the plant.

Further Reading

Giving the potted plants the right type of water is crucial for their growth. There are other factors you will need as well including fertilizing, pruning, and mulching to keep them growing well.

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