Tap Versus Distilled Water for Plants - Knowledgebase Question

Oviedo, FL
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Question by geosharp
December 30, 1998
What type of water is best for plants - tap or distilled. Can you explain the advantages or disadvantages of each.

Answer from NGA
December 30, 1998
That depends on the quality of your tap water. Distilled water is always a safe bet. Although it lacks any mineral content, you can always add nutrients by fertilizing. Another great option you did not mention is rainwater.

Tap water can vary in quality from town to town. Some sources are high quality while others have various problems such as high pH, salts, sodium, bicarbonates, etc. In addition to this, some plants are quite tolerant of such problems while others are very sensitive.

Your state Extension Service soil and water testing laboratory can analyse your water and let you know what problems, if any, may be present.

Contact your County Extension Office at 407-323-2500 for more information on water testing. Your city water department may also be able to provide such information on the community water supply.

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