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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

The Best Water for Apartment Gardening: Tap Water, Bottled or Distilled?

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

When I first started gardening in my apartment, I was confused about the type of water to use. I watered with tap, bottled and distilled and I noticed some differences.

Did you know that the health of your plants depends on the kind of water you use?

Distilled Water

I've used a water distiller for many years. I purify water from the tap.

Distilled water heats up water and collects the steam. All the chemicals and minerals are removed and only pure water is collected in my jug. To be sure, the results are tested with a TDS meter.

It might be of concern since the distilled water doesn't contain any minerals in it. It wouldn't be a problem if you ensure that your plants are getting their minerals and nutrients from other ways.

My plants flourished on distilled water because I was providing minerals and nutrients by making sure they were fertilized using mainly compost teas and worm castings.

A water distiller makes about 4 litres of water in 3 hours. When it was just me, I'd make a batch of water pretty much when I needed it. When I had to include my entire vegetable garden in its usage, I had to make 2 to 3 batches in order to save my plants from dying while I still prioritized the water used.

If you would be using distilled water just for plants then you might not have a problem. However, If you use distilled water for other things as well, it's best to buy storage containers and fill them up.

Tap Water

There was a time when I was tempted to use tap water for plants when I ran out of distilled water. It eventually turned out to be a short-term fix and a long-term issue. For reasons such as:

  • Tap water has chlorine which is used by the authorities to kill harmful micro-organisms. Unfortunately, chlorine can harm your plants too.

  • Also, tap water is usually classified as 'hard water' which is a type of water that has too many minerals in it such as excess calcium and magnesium. This excessive amount of minerals is dangerous for plants.

  • Using tap water frequently may leave a build-up of hard salts and minerals as residue on your plants over time, thereby, stunting their growth. Using tap water leaves visible damage such as hard water stains:

If you experience this, you'll have to physically wash off the residue from the leaves.

But have you also considered that those residues would have gone to the roots as well? How then do you wash it off?

Bottled Water

The third option would be bottled water. This is far better than tap water because there are no harsh chemicals in it.

The only problem is that it's not feasible. Bottled water is expensive and it's difficult to move large quantities from the store to the point of usage.

Also, using bottled water accumulates plastics in the environment which leads to environmental pollution.

Ultimately, I recommend using bottled, filtered, or distilled water for plants.






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