City Water Has Been Bad for My Plants?

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Some city water contains minerals such as chlorine and fluoride that may not be good for your plants. This is a page about city water has been bad for my plants.


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I have a problem. We live in the city and use city water. Apparently the water is high in something, calcium maybe, because all of my plants get a white crust around them that they didn't have when I lived in the country and used well water. (I had to give up my aquarium because of this awful white build-up.) We don't get enough rain to be able to collect rain water as an alternative. Is there anything I can do or add to the water to stop this from happening? I had some beautiful plants when I moved here 3 years ago, and now almost every one of them is dead or dying. Help!

Hardiness Zone: 8a

Tripleb from Greenville, AL



It sounds like you're getting salts and/or lime build up from calcium carbonate deposits in your water. The white ring is limescale, a white (calcium carbonate) residue left by hard water when it evaporates. This sometimes occurs naturally in areas where water is pumped from underground aquifers. Hard water isn't bad for human health, but it can definitely wreak plenty of havoc on the health of your plants, not to mention your aquarium, water heater, dish water, clothes washer, shower fixtures, coffee maker, etc. Watering plants with hard water can leave behind deposits in the soil that can actually prevent plant cells from taking up adequate amounts of water and nutrients.


An easy solution is to invest in a filtering pitcher like those made by Brita or PUR for watering your plants. At $20-$50 (depending on size and features), you'll be seriously reducing your hard water problem and purifying your drinking water without filtering out the important minerals. If you want to spend a lot more money, there are also filters designed for the end of your faucet. I use a pitcher to filter all of my water for cooking, making coffee, drinking and watering my plants. Heck, my cats and dog even get filtered water. These pitchers make it handy for filling up water bottles, too.



By Cathy (Guest Post)
October 18, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Get a soil testing kit ASAP and check the PH levels. If it is too alkaine, there are products you can buy make it more acidic.


Alternatively, dilute some vinegar in water and pour it around the plants (keep away from the stems and leaves though), or mix in some coffee grounds into the soil. Good luck!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 15, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

Letting water sit for a day or a week does not get rid of minerals, it does get rid of chlorine (but not chloramines, which many cities are converting to). I do not think the original poster's problem is chlorine, I think the problem is hard water and minerals. (I have aquariums and am familiar with these things. I also breed freshwater shrimp.)

The OP could get a distiller from Sears (where I got mine) which will remove all chemicals and minerals from the water. But the distiller (I had a counter top version) uses heat at about 1500watts, and thus costs money to run. The OP could also buy bottled spring water in bulk, costing 30-50 cents per gallon.

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By Laura (Guest Post)
October 18, 20060 found this helpful

I don't know if this will help or not. We have a water softener here as we have very hard water. We also have a reverse osmosis system because I think the wateris fairly gross. I love the R/O water. Problem is it has no nutrients for plants.


So Mom makes a huge cup of tea each day and saves the last 2 inches in a jar and on Saturdays she waters all her plants with her herbal and green tea mix. The plants are really thriving. She has been doing this for about 3 years now. So for you I would say buy a gallon of distilled water and make tea!

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By Donna (Guest Post)
October 18, 20060 found this helpful

Try letting the water sit in an open container for a week before watering your plants. Works for us.

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