Distilled Water For Plants: What You Need To Know

Ed Wike
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Not All Water is Created Equal

Distilled water is by far the most effective water for plants hobbyists can use.

Plain tap water, even water from a filtered tap, contains salts and minerals. A usual rule of thumb is to use tap water that has been left in an open container for 24 hours before using it on plants.

You could replace tap water with bottled water for plants but it is not that effective either.

While bottled water is obviously cleaner than tap water, it still contains mineral salts. The only difference when compared to tap water is that the minerals in bottled water are not in a form that can leach into the soil.

In most provinces in Canada, tap water is safe for use with plants.

If you do not use any tap water, even after one week, the salt will accumulate at a safe level for most plants. This salt concentration is enough to inhibit bacterial growth and can be harmful to your plant.

Plants are extremely sensitive to salt levels. The soil's salt concentration should be below 0.2% to prevent salt burn to the roots.

Distilled water, with a salt concentration of zero, can be used to water any plants, including orchids.

Many plants thrive using distilled water for plants due to the pH stability.

What is Distillation?

Distillation is the process of heating a liquid to the boiling point in order to collect its evaporated components. This technique is used as a purification method for drinking water and to remove poisonous components.

Water is boiled, and steam is formed. The steam then travels up a column and is cooled and condensed back into water. The condensed steam is clean water. Any impurities that were present in the water are left behind and only pure, distilled water is collected.

Distillation is used for residential or commercial purposes as a type of water purification technique. It is also useful when you want a clean, fresh supply of water.

That is why you may choose to use it in your home garden or in ponds to create clean water for your fish. One of the methods effective at killing algae and bacteria is distillation.

Distillation is a process used by nature and by humans for thousands of years. Even today, it is still the best way to purify water.

How To Make Distilled Water

Distilled water reflects the purity from which it comes. This quality makes it the perfect water for plants and in cleanliness solutions. You can also use it to top up aquarium water, clean your teeth or even make cocktail drinks.

Distilled water is free from any minerals, which leaves it odorless. Once distilled water is through boiling, the steam runs through a layer of resin. This layer absorbs the impurities in the steam without absorbing the steam itself. When all that remains is water, the flow stops and the vapor is condensed back into liquid. When this water is cooled, it is completely pure.

Using Distilled Water To Grow Plants

If your plants are suffering from over watering, have root rot, or are showing poor growth, you may want to consider changing your watering techniques.

A new form of hydration may be the answer to your problems. Pure water is the best way to go.

Distilled water provides perfect hydration for your plants. It is easier to use and poses little risk to your plant’s health. While not all plants need distilled water to grow, it is better for overall plant health.

Water is water…right?

If your plants are important to you, you want to make sure they are getting the right amount of water and that it’s the right water. Say you have tried every trick in the book to get your basil to grow. One day you accidentally pour distilled water into this herb’s pot. All of a sudden, its leaves start to perk up.

So what’s going on here? It’s your water.

Most of the time, what’s in the water is to blame for poor plant growth. In fact, plants thrive when they are hydrated with pure water.

Distilled water has no hard minerals, making it the perfect water source for plants.


Since the rise of the commercial agriculture industry, growers have been using chemicals to make their water suitable for plant growth. Water that is hard, polluted, or naturally acidic can cover the critical elements needed by plants and prevent them from absorbing moisture. The use of distilled water to make a "plant" solution is one step to make water more favorable to your grow.

Distilled water is water that has had all of its minerals and pollutants removed. Because of this, it is one of the most common choices for hydroponic environments.

One major benefit of using distilled water is that it doesn’t contain any carbon, which makes it easier for plants to absorb calcium and other elements. It also has an alkaline pH of 7, which keeps the soil more alkaline, according to the AsktheGardenDocs.

Another benefit of using distilled water is that it increases the availability of oxygen around the plant roots. The plant needs to be able to freely access oxygen to release CO2 and metabolize nutrients.

Finally, distilled water carries less dissolved salts, so it can be used when testing the soil for nutrients. Because plants must be able to sense their levels, using distilled water makes it easier for plants to absorb the nutrients they need.

Nutrient Deficiency

There are many different symptoms that may be caused by nutrient deficiencies in your plants.

For example, the young leaves of a corn plant get a yellow color while the older leaves turn dark green.

Because nutrient deficiencies occur if the plant doesn’t get enough of a particular nutrient, there are foliar sprays and special fertilizers available for each specific element that you can buy.

However, it is much easier to just use distilled water for plants. It is less expensive, easier to handle, and gets the same results in most cases.