How to Soften Hard Water for Plants – 3 EASY WAYS!

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Is your hard water killing plants on every use? We’d show you why and also tell you which water is best for your plants.

Possible Reasons Why Some of your Plants may be Dying

  • The high level of calcium found in hard water
  • The water contains too many different microflora than for instance human
  • Little light during the winter time

The best water for plants is rainwater or melted snow (the yellow snow is best). Even when softened, the salt in softened water can accumulate and kill your plants. The next best solution would be water from a nearby stream or creek.

Another alternative would be to use Peat or Sphagnum Moss SEE ON AMAZON

ALSO SEE: How To Remove Water Hardness From Pool 

ALSO SEE: How To Remove Water Hardness at Home

How to Soften Hard Water for Plants

As earlier stated, rain water is best for your plants. However, if you live in the city and still want to soften hard water for your plants then you can. But how?

If you must use “City” water then you should let it air out for at least 24 hours or use a stone to evaporate the chlorine and other volatile molecules. However, if your tap water/municipal water is chlorinated or fluoridated then that’s not best for houseplants either but it’s safe for them (as long as you don’t use pool water).

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You can get rid of chlorine but not fluoride from the tap by letting the water sit for a while.

Note: The fluoride in normal drinking water is not high enough to harm your plants.

Softened water using commercial process is not good for garden or house plants and lawns because of too much salt (sodium) content.

You can use peat or sphagnum moss (BUY ON AMAZON) as a media to soften your semi-hard water by either soaking it with water or pouring water through it. Warm water works best as when its dry it resists wetting. This method helps to reduce PH but does not eliminate the calcium (not sure about magnesium) contents, but in doing so, you will also get tannic acid. Are your houseplants acid loving plants?

You can buy dried Peat or Sphagnum moss in most garden centers/lawn & garden shops or on AMAZON; the moss may have a range of pH less than 4 or pH less than 5.


Why is Hard Water Bad for Plants?

Softening agents are harmful to plants and hard water is high in mineral content; too high for good plant health. The minerals and nutrients that plants require should be in the soil, and not in the water.

The level of fluoride in normal drinking water is not high enough to give your plants issues. But superphosphate and perlite fertilizers are both strong sources of fluoride that should be avoided with fluoride sensitive plants, especially spider plants, Dracaenas and peace lilies.

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Chlorine is also not typically a problem to plants in concentrations used in most drinking water. However, chlorinating swimming pool water certainly would be an issue.

Acid rain is a problem in certain areas of the country that are downwind from industrial areas that emit smokestack pollutants. It is devasting to local forests. If it is not a problem in your area, then collecting rainwater is a good source of water for plants. Filtered and distilled water are also good options.

How Can I Soften Hard Water for My Plants?

You can use peat moss SEE ON AMAZON as a media to soften your plant’s water. Personally, I have used this in my aquarium as part of my water treatment and it worked well. I got my fourth compressed bale on AMAZON (Pure Canadian Sphagnum) for a couple of bucks.

To soften water with it, soak it or pour water trough it. I have found warm water to work best as it can resist wetting once dry. If you decide to go the soaking route simply place it in a bucket and squeeze the water out you want to use, but that can be plenty of work.

You can place it in a bucket with a little hole in the bottom. Then pour water in the top, collect it in a container below. Since I mostly water my plants from my aquarium, the water goes in there to refill what I took for the plants.

It’s quite solid if you don’t mind the setup or the water having color to it, as your watering plants with it.

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How to soften hard water for plants

List of Plants Sensitive to Tap Water

Here is a list of some plants super-sensitive to tap water:

  • Palms
  • Spider plants and
  • Dracaenas are quite sensitive to fluoride.

How to Remove Salt from Softened Water for Plants

The best and easiest way to remove salt from softened water for plants is by watering the affected soil, frequently. This is referred to as leaching.

Leaching is a process that draws salt out of the soil and will either wash it away or push it deeper in the soil.

Watering Plants with Hard Water

It is fine to use hard water on your plants as far as they can handle it. It may have some harmful consequence on some delicate plants. Watch out for damage caused by alkaline PH water or high levels of minerals.

Effects of Tap Water on Plants

One effect of tap water on plants is calcium and magnesium build-up on the plants soil surface. It then turns into a powdery film that can store salts.

Is Potassium Chloride Water Softener Safe for Plants?

Yes, potassium chloride is safe for plants. I have tried hooking up my water softener to outside water and the result is greener and faster growing plants.

Potassium Softened Water for Plants

You can use potassium softened water for plants with no adverse effects. Potassium is an important plant nutrient safe for houseplants and soil.

Is Hard Water Bad for Grass?

No! Hard water is not bad for grasses on lawns and landscape. Magnesium and calcium in the water helps counteract the sodium in the water. Magnesium and calcium in household water makes soap hard to dissolve.

Author: Howard S. Baldwin

My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.

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