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Is Alkaline Water Good For Plants? How pH Affects Nutrients

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The movement of nutrients from the soil to the plants is enhanced with slightly acidic conditions whereas alkaline conditions may inhibit this nutrient ion mobility causing a nutrient deprivation or deficit which will be evident in the symptoms associated with various nutrient deficiencies.

So in my view, I do think, although theories state that alkaline water is beneficial to humans. It may not be as good for plants.

Any fluid which has a pH greater than 7.0 is called alkaline water. 

Just like acidic water, some plants like alkaline water as it has some minor benefits.

  • Alkaline water also reduces the level of fluorine. Fluorine inhibits the photosynthesis process, which harms the plant badly.

In our opinion, we would say that alkaline water is not good for plants and you will understand more as we explain further in this article.

What is Alkaline Water?

Alkaline Water for plants

Alkaline water is basically water that is above a pH of 7.0. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, where 7 is neutral below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline.

In the alkaline range (7.0 to 14) water tends to have more hydroxide ions present in the solution.

Alkaline water has a PH level of between 8 and 10. It is not considered to be “alkaline” because it does not have a pH level higher than 7.0.

pH range for plants

How Does Alkaline Water Work?

There are many theories about how alkaline water works. Some say that it is due to an increase in pH levels, while others claim it is due to the presence of various minerals or trace elements.

One theory says that alkaline water increases the concentration of calcium and magnesium in the soil. Calcium and magnesium are essential elements for root development.

Another theory states that alkaline water increases iron absorption in the plant roots. Iron deficiency causes chlorosis, a condition where the plant’s leaves turn yellowish-brown.

Other theories state that alkaline water contains carbonates, bicarbonate, and other compounds that help build strong cell walls. This leads to better growth and development of the plant.

How does Alkaline water Affect Plants Growth?

Do plants need Humans

Plants need certain amounts of nutrients to grow well. They require certain types of nutrients at different stages of growth.

When you add alkaline water to your garden, it will affect the amount of available nutrients in the soil.

The availability of nutrients depends on the type of fertilizer added to the soil. If you use organic fertilizers, they can release nutrients slowly into the soil over time.

By using alkaline water, you are adding some degree of minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorous, etc. These minerals may cause the nutrient content of the soil to increase.

This effect is temporary and the soil will eventually return back to its original nutrient content.

How does Alkaline water Affect Soil And Nutrient Availability?

Because alkalinity (pH) is related to soil acidity, an increase in alkalinity will reduce nutrient availability. If you add lime or limestone to acidic soils, they become less acidic, making them easier for plants to grow.

Now acidity is in the range below 7.0. Meaning that the acidity of the soil can be some around 5.0 or below this will kill many plants and a buffer is needed to bring the acidity somewhere close to 7.0.

Having a mare-neutral pH is good for plants even if it’s slightly above the 7.0 mark. (7.0 to 80)

Since alkaline water increases the pH of the soil, it will make nutrients harder for plants to absorb.

That means that if you apply alkaline water to soil with poor nutrient content, you could end up wasting money as you buy expensive fertilizer to supply to alkaline-based soil.

Soil Minerals

How to Determine the pH of Soil

To determine whether your soil needs lime or limestone, take a sample of the soil and test it. You can do this by digging a hole, filling up a bucket with the soil, and then testing the bucket.

You can also take samples of soil from around your property, mix them together, and then test the mixture.

If the soil is too acidic, you should add lime or limestone. To test whether your soil is too acidic, follow these steps:

1. Dig down about 4 inches into the ground.

2. Fill up a small bucket with the dirt.

3. Add one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to the bucket.

4. Stir the contents of the bucket until all the air bubbles disappear.

5. Test the bucket with a pH meter. The number displayed should be above 7 if alkaline and below 7 is acidic.

6. Repeat Steps 1 through 5 with samples from different areas around the garden. 

7. Compare the results obtained to determine if the problem is isolated to one garden bed or soil type or if it’s something that you are adding to your plants that is making the soil alkaline.

Cheap Soil pH Testing

Another more analytical way of determining soil pH is by using pH test strips. The test strips change color depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the soil sample.

Testing pH Using Soil Strips

  1. Use 2 teaspoons of the soil sample
  2. Place the Soil in a Clean Glass.
  3. Add in ¼ cup of Distilled Water.
  4. Stir the soil to dissolve it in the distilled water
  5. Pour the solution through a Coffee filter
  6. Filter the liquid Into another clean container
  7. Dip the pH Test Strip into the Liquid.
  8. Note the results

To test the moisture and pH of the soil you can use the cost-effective Trazon Soil 3-in-1 Meter. It not only tests for pH but also moisture content and light intensity. You can find it by clicking here!

Trazon Soil pH Meter 3-in-1 Soil Tester Moisture

How To Make Alkaline Water For Plants?

In addition to applying alkaline water directly to the soil, there are many ways to use alkaline water to benefit your plants.

Some people like to drink alkaline water because it helps them feel healthier. Others use it to clean their teeth or even cook with it.

You can also use alkaline water to hydrate your plants. As mentioned earlier, alkaline water has more dissolved ions than regular tap water. This increased concentration makes alkaline water ideal for watering your plants.

However, you need to keep in mind that although alkaline water contains more ions than regular water, it still doesn’t contain enough to harm your plants.

List of Alkaline Water-Loving Plants:

Whereas, few plants are also there which require alkaline water or an alkaline medium for their survival. The higher the pH increases, the higher the water will become alkaline. 

A few alkaline water-loving plants are also enlisted below:

Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana)Coral bells (Heuchera)Caryopteris/Bluebeard (Caryopteris)
Leather flower (Clematis)Coneflower (Echinacea)Golden bell (Forsythia)
Barberry (Berberis)Crocus (Crocus)Chinese hawthorn (Photinia)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)Lilac (Syringa)Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)
Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)Austrian pine (Pinus nigra)Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Oleander (Nerium oleander)Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)Smoke Bush (Cotinus)
Viburnum (Viburnum)Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)Meadowsweets (Spiraea)
Geranium (Geraniaceae)Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster)Boxwood (Buxus)
Plantain lilies HostaFalse goat’s beard (Astilbe)Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Sage (Salvia)  

To increase the pH of the water you can add lime, wood ash, or a specially formulated solution to the water to raise the pH, or add sulfur, and phosphoric acid.

Watering Plants with Alkaline Water

If you do intend to increase the soil’s pH to a near 7.0 mark there are some traditional and non-traditional ways to go about this.

When it comes to applying alkaline water to your plants, you should be careful how it is done in order not to cause any unintentional harm and stress to the plant.

Top Watering –

Using the top watering method, water is applied from the top, and by doing so can get alkaline water on the leaves of the plant. 

Alkaline water may cause the leaves to change color or even die depending on how alkaline the water is or how long it is allowed to sit on the leaves.

Therefore, if you are to water from the top we recommend using a watering can that has a long spout that could effectively channel the water to the base of the plant without touching the leaves.

There are many options out there when it comes to a watering can, but we have found this affordable can that is durable and effective when watering plants without causing a mess.

You can find it on Amazon by clicking here!

Bottom Watering –

Bottom watering is an effective way of watering plants which allows the entire mass of the soil to absorb water.

This is especially useful when adding alkaline water to plants. 

Here’s how to do it. Bottom watering allows plants to absorb water from the bottom up through capillary movement throughout the soil when placed in a watering tray. The plant is then removed from the tray after 15 to 20 minutes and the excess water is allowed to drain freely from the soil.

Step 1:

Fill your tray or container with water so that it will reach 1 inch from the bottom of the soil in your planter. 

Note: Different types of soil will absorb the water differently especially if there are rocks at the bottom of the planter, which has to be compensated for by adding enough water so that it reaches 1 inch higher than the rocks.

Step 2:

Place your plants in the tray which contains the water. 

In my experience, with smaller plants that have really dried out soil, when placed into the water the plant and soil can come straight out floating. Don’t worry just leave it there and it will eventually soak and settle back into the container. Now may be a good time to consider repotting the plant as I have done.

Step 3:

Let the plants sit in their bath for about 15 to 20  minutes before you check the moisture content of the soil. 

What I have found is that when the top of the soil is moist to the touch then you can remove the plant from the watering tray. 

If the top of the soil isn’t moist after the time has passed you can simply add some water to the top and allow that to drain so that the total mass of the soil is moist.

Step 4:

Drain the water out of your sink and let the plants hang out for a few minutes to drain.

As the water is absorbed into the soil the water level will drop in the watering container. This is perfectly fine. If all the water has been used from the container and the top of the soil does not feel moist to the touch then you will have to top up additional water into the container.

Is Acidic Water Good For Plants?

Yes, slightly acidic water between the pH range of 6.0 – 7.0 is suitable for plants. Many plants give priority to acidic water over alkaline water for better growth. This is because the acid easily liberates the soil’s ionic nutrients, making it soluble for plants to absorb.

One of the great benefits of using acidic water is that it helps in the germination process (the growth of a plant from a spore after a period of dormancy).

  • Acidic water is used to break down many organic minerals, so they easily get dissolved by plants. 
  • Acidic water with appropriate pH helps in boosting plant growth.
  • Acidic water helps in the fast sprouting of vegetables.
  • Tubers, bulbs, and seedlings grow well and hold roots strongly.
  • Acidic water helps in the stimulation of the blossoming of flowers.
  • The acidic water helps plants for fast blooming and aids in reviving the drooping plants.

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