Green Talk: How Water Quality Affects Plants

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Water quality is as vital as the quantity needed by our plants. Plants are sensitive to chemicals and contaminants present in the water. Our attention often stays put on how much water and how often we ought to water our plants. We don’t think about the iron, calcium, chloride, fluoride, or magnesium in our water and how plants respond to these chemicals. We rarely think of the metals or chemicals present in the water and how they may stunt or cause plants’ death.

Well, let’s focus on water quality and how the plant reacts to different chemicals present in the

Water Quality?

Water “quality” is an estimate of the appropriateness of water for a particular use. It could be for
drinking, cleansing your skin, general cleaning, or hydrating your plants. The biological,
physical, and chemical components present in the water affect its quality. You will encounter
terms like salinity, alkalinity, acidity, or turbidity as you learn more about water quality.

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How Do the Plants Respond to Water Quality?

The chemical, biological or physical matter in your water may make it good or bad for
consumption and your plants. The quality may harm or result in lush and productive plants. Let’s
look at how the water constituent may affect your plants.


Water salinity describes the levels of salts in your water. All types of water, sea, brackish, or
freshwater, have dissolved salts. The concentration of these salts differs and may change as the
water moves from the source to your home. Just like us, plants need salt. However, salinity
becomes an issue if the dissolved salts exceed the tolerable threshold.
If you keep exposing your plants to high dissolved salt levels, they will accumulate on the roots.
The accumulation will prevent the roots from absorbing water from their surrounding
environment. Therefore, your plants will go through a dehydration phase resulting in plant stress,
poor growth, or salt poisoning.

Alkalinity and Acidity

Water contains chemical compounds that impact its alkalinity or acidity. The atmospheric
deposits, land deposits, or wastewater discharge may change the water’s pH as it moves from the
source into your home. They may raise or lower the water’s pH.

High alkalinity may affect the plant’s capability to take in nutrients from the soil. Long-term
subjection to alkaline water may change the surrounding soil’s pH level. You may notice issues
such as the leaves turning yellow, wilted leaves, and purple or red stems. If you have plants that
love acidic environments, you’ll end up killing them.

On the other hand, acidic water may be great for plants. Plants often prefer acidic to alkaline
water. However, when the water pH dips too low, it may be detrimental to the plants. Plants may
suffer from a lack of nutrients due to soil degradation.

Chlorides and Fluorides

Fluoride and chlorides are naturally released into the water by the surrounding environment.
Despite the natural occurrence, many municipalities often add chlorides and fluorides into the
water supplied to our homes. Therefore, it may result in high fluoride or chloride toxicity in your
tap water. When you expose the plants to that water, you may notice a reduced growth rate. High
fluoride toxicity affects the growth process and yield.

Most plants cannot tolerate excessive chlorides in water and their surroundings. Chloride toxicity
may result in scorched plants and reduced plant yield.

What Can You Do About Your Water Quality?

As you’ve noticed, most chemical compounds affecting water quality occur naturally and
artificially. Municipalities may eliminate some of these chemicals at the source. However, others
find their way into your water as you pump it into your house.

Therefore, it’s advisable to eliminate these chemicals before drinking or hydrating your plants.
An efficacious way to clear these chemicals is by filtering your water. You may install
mechanical, absorption, ion exchange, sequestration, or reverse osmosis water filters. Each of
these filters has its designed mechanism to remove contaminants in your water. At the basic
level, a mechanical filter will remove dirt and sediments. A reverse osmosis water filter will do
the job if you want an advanced water filtration system. It removes all contaminants from your
water, making it healthy for your plants.

Last Thoughts

When we talk about water quality, we refer to how the chemicals in the water affect our general
health and not the liveliness of our plants. We only care to ensure the plants remain hydrated
without considering how the chemicals in the water affect their growth. Water quality affects
plants’ growth and yield. Therefore, you should be concerned about your water quality. Don’t
hydrate the plants without considering the water’s salinity, fluoride, or chloride toxicity level.