Why use distilled water for tropical plants?
Written by William Fryer - MA Oxon
All plants need water to live. However the type of water we choose for our plants can have a huge impact on their health and even the cleanliness of our homes. So, should you use distilled water for tropical plants?
What is distilled water?
Water usually contains minerals, contaminants and even chemicals that we cannot see. This is not always a problem and some of these things can even be helpful in some circumstances. For example: small amounts of chlorine can kill bugs and make water safe to drink. But there are times that these impurities cause problems.
Distilled water is purified water which has been boiled and then the vapour collected and condensed back into liquid to be collected in a separate container. The impurities are left behind in the original container, giving you absolutely pure water.
How water quality impacts plants?
Plants need water to live. However, the quality and composition of the water they get can have a huge impact on their health.
- Hard water
You probably already know if you live in a hard water area. The high mineral content of calcium, magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates and sulphites in this kind of water is responsible for the limescale in your kettle, pipes and appliances.
If you use hard water for your plants you will get a build-up of calcium and magnesium salts in the soil which can alter the pH and inhibit the availability of important nutrients.
- Heavy metals
Although most water sources have some level of heavy metals, they can quickly build up and cause a reduction in growth in sensitive plants.
- Sodium level
Most plants do not do well with water showing high sodium levels as it damages their cell structure. If you use a water softener, it will increase sodium levels and make the water unsuitable for many plants.
Even low levels of fluoride can impact on photosynthesis and respiration in plants, eventually making them unhealthy.
In some areas of the UK, fluoride is added to tap water to aid dental health. Even if this is not the case near you, it is possible your tap water has a level of fluoride that is problematic to your tropical plants.
We have all heard of chlorine as it is often added to make drinking water safe for humans. However, it can also kill ‘good bacteria’ and microorganisms in the soil that are needed by tropical plants. It can also even directly cause leaf browning, spots and even dropped leaves in some cases.
Oxygen is important to roots and for healthy growth. The oxygen content of water can contribute enormously in this respect and it is worth ensuring your water has a good oxygen content.
Water which has less dissolved minerals will typically have a higher oxygen content.
Why should I use distilled water for tropical plants?
Tropical plants are particularly sensitive to water quality. Distilling water removes the impurities mentioned above, leaving you with pure H20. Using distilled water for tropical plants ensures you know exactly what you are giving them and not giving them.
Also, if you use a humidifier, filling the tank with distilled water prevents unwelcome powdery mineral deposits of calcium carbonate etc. on your plants, furniture or around the room.
Distilled water also makes sense botanically. Tropical plants come from the tropics and areas of high rainfall. Rain is distilled water. It is what tropical plants are adapted to receive.
How to make distilled water for tropical plants?
There are two options if you decide to use distilled water for tropical plants:
2. Use a water distiller to make your own.
The benefits of using a Megahome water distiller for use with tropical plants
Vlogger and plant expert, Hannah, aka Tropical Plant Addict is passionate about tropical plants. Her house and garden are jam-packed with gorgeous, unusual plants she shares with the world through YouTube and social media.
One of Hannah’s recent videos discussed the benefits of a Megahome distiller for use with her plants. She was noticing an unpleasant powdery deposit around her home when using her humidifier for tropical plants. After realising the issue was the hard water, she tried a few methods to solve the problem.
After trying water butts and filtered water, she noticed no difference. She considered reverse osmosis but it was too expensive. Eventually, she decided to try a countertop water distiller.
She found that using distilled water immediately solved the problem of dusty residue and the health of her plants improved. Her choice of Megahome Deluxe 316 Distiller suited her needs, and it was quiet, compact and stylish.
From a financial standpoint, she looked at the alternatives and took time to calculate the costs involved. Ultimately, using the Megahome countertop distiller to generate distilled water for tropical plants was easy and affordable and cheaper than buying distilled water. The perfect solution for Hannah’s indoor jungle.
Watch Hannah’s video below.
Find out more
There are so many benefits to using distilled water for tropical plants. If you are thinking of trying it yourself: browse our range of Megahome distillers to find one perfect for your needs. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch.