Have you ever been curious to know what water you should bottom water your plants with? Although it may seem too small of an issue, the choice of water is of great importance.
The best type of water for bottom watering plants is rain water. The quality of water influences the growth of the plant. Different types of water such as: tap water, pool water, well water, mineral water have different minerals and nutrients values and not all types are ideal for bottom watering plants.
The nutrient and mineral value of water is important when it comes to water in your plants. This article will give a beneficial guide on which water type is ideal for bottom watering your plants and why.
Types of Water for Bottom Watering Plants:
When it comes to caring for plants, we usually pay more attention to things like fertilizers, growing mediums, and nutrients.
What potting mix to use and which fertilizer is most effective to accelerate plant developments, etc.
However, how many of us pay enough attention to the quality of water? Water is one of the most crucial factors that can significantly affect plant health.
Therefore, it is pivotal for us to pay extra attention to which type of water we are using on our plants.
Down below, we have briefly explained a number of water types that are frequently used by gardeners for irrigation purposes.
The best type of water for bottom watering plants is rainwater only if it is not highly acidic.
Acidic rain will not only damage the plant body but will make the growing medium toxic/acidic. Usually, acidic rain is only found in highly polluted areas.
However, in most cases, rainwater is only slightly acidic with a pH ranging between 5.5 to 6.5. This slight acidity is good for plants as it promotes nutrient availability for the plant.
Furthermore, rainwater contains a small number of minerals which include calcium, magnesium, and iron.
While it is relatively low in mineral content, it is also free of toxins, such as fluoride and chlorine.
I have tried bottom watering with rainwater and it never failed. The only thing is that it might be a bit tricky setting up a viable method for collecting the water.
However, in some states, the collection of rainwater may be illegal.
Colorado and Utah are the only states that are currently heavily regulated to keep homeowners from harvesting and using the rain that falls on their property.
2. Pool water
Pool water can be used to bottom water plants only if the chlorine is removed.
Watering plants with pool water is a good way of reusing the water instead of throwing it down the drain and is also a convenient source when the normal watering source isn’t easily available.
However, the chlorine found in pool water can directly affect plants’ normal growth and functioning.
It is highly dangerous for plants if present in higher quantities.
Chlorine is first converted into chloride in soil and is then taken up by roots to the entire body of plants.
However, the pool water is highly chlorinated which raises chlorine levels even more.
3. Distilled Water:
The most frequently recommended option is to use distilled water. This type of water uses the same formula as deionized water and is treated with UVC radiation with a germicidal effect.
The distillation process boils the water and then condenses the steam back into a liquid to remove impurities and minerals.
Distilled water does not contain any minerals, so it is useless for plants except to moisten the soil and hydration.
By far this is the cleanest form of water you can provide for your plants but it has some work as well as an added cost of boiling the water.
Distilled water is ideal for carnivorous plants since these plants are used to living in soils with few nutrients.
Carnivorous plants are habitual to eating insects for nourishment. While in the case of acidophilic plants, distilled water may not be recommended since they do need nutrients in the water.
In case you prefer to use distilled water, I would suggest that you stick to your fertilization schedule to ensure your plants are getting the required minerals that they need.
4. Tap Water:
Tap water or municipal water is supplied through a tap, a water dispenser valve.
It comes from a treatment plant that removes contaminants and purifies the water before it is pumped out and eventually reaches our homes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies (Source).
For me, if it is safe to drink then it is safe to water plants. And rightfully so, I have watered my plants with tap water for years and haven’t seen any side effects when it comes to planting ailments.
However, depending on your location and environmental conditions the water in the tap may have contaminants and if you suspect that it does then you should consider other more viable water options for the health of yourself and your plants.
5. Bottled Water:
Bottled water sells in packaged form. There are many types too: Some have a higher concentration of salts than others.
However, it is very interesting to use them for bottom watering the plants, except for its price, of course.
The pH of bottled water is around 7, and if you have little sodium they will grow luxuriously.
6. Well Water
Well, water is untreated groundwater. The well is drilled down into an aquifer, which is an underground layer of permeable rock containing water.
Apart from tap water, well water is one of the cheapest water which may be available for plants.
Well Water is beneficial to plants as long it is treated and clean from harmful chemicals. Some chemical and biological contaminants are present in well water that can harm your plants.
Chemical contaminants found in well water include salts, heavy metals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, lead), human waste, and animal dung.
Biological contaminants found in well water include certain bacteria, protozoa, pathogens, parasites, etc. These microorganisms are not visible to the naked eye.
Besides these contaminants, a bulk of nitrates and nitrites are also present in well water. These are present in fertilizers, animal waste, and human sewage.
They reach the well water through groundwater movement.
These contaminants make the water toxic which cannot be used either for drinking purposes and other purposes like agriculture, watering the plants, etc.
7. Pond Water
Similar to Well water, pond water can also be used to water plants after purifications. Pond water contains microbes, fish waste, aging or decaying plants, and other pond additives.
Therefore, using pure pond water directly on plants can be dangerous and highly toxic.
Why Should We Be Selective When Choosing The Type of Water?
When you start to research which water should be used for your plants then you realize that choosing the most appropriate one is sometimes not as easy as it seems.
There are different options available for watering plants. Some are better than others. Some are more acidic than others. Some are chalkier than others.
The amount of soil in the pots is small.
For this reason, when the water contains too many mineral or toxic elements, such as lime and chlorine, it causes a concentration of substances that are harmful to the specimens.
Plants react with a general weakening. To avoid this situation, it is advisable to select the best water for them.
With all these watering options in mind it is also important to ensure that the pant is not being overwatered and bottom watering helps prevent overwatering from occurring.
Which Water is Most Beneficial for Bottom Watering Plants?
As always, the best option to water the plants is the natural one, which is rainwater.
However, it does not always rain when we need it.
In addition, this option is not entirely recommended for cities with a lot of pollution because the pollution will turn the rainwater into acidic water.
However, it is better to use rainwater collected the day after it has rained.
The second best option is bottled spring water.
Additionally, to add an extra boost to your plants you can choose to add fertilizer while bottom watering which allows for the nutrients from the fertilizer to be distributed evenly throughout the soil.
Which Water is Least Beneficial For Bottom Watering?
Tap water is considered the least beneficial water for bottom watering plants as it has a large number of mineral salts, polluting elements such as lead, and other heavy metals that are toxic to plants.
These harmful components in tap water can even cause plants’ death if used in the long run.
What is Bottom Watering?
Bottom watering is done by placing the plant in a tray of water at approximately 1 to 2 inches high. The water is then absorbed into the soil from the bottom up after which it is allowed to drain freely leaving the soil moist and aerated.
Bottom watering :
- Stimulates healthy root growth
- Prevents pests such as gnats
- Prevents overwatering
- Allows fresh air into the soil
Rainwater and bottled spring water can be considered one of the best choices for bottom watering plants.
Water types such as pond water, pool water, or tap water need to be purified before even thinking about using them on water.
If you mistakenly exposed your plants to fresh pool water or unpurified pond water, your plants may die due to excess salinity and toxicity.