Houseplants you ‘shouldn’t ever’ give tap water to – ‘burns leaves’

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It’s pretty safe to say that most people understand that plants need water if they want to keep them alive. But water quality varies massively and can impact the health of houseplants. While tap water is usually ok for most houseplants, it depends on the plant and the quality. Tap water quality varies, and some plants can be sensitive to minerals and chemicals in tap water. To inform indoor plant owners on which houseplants don’t like tap water, Fiona Jenkins at, her top six.

1. Dracaenas plants

The expert said: “You shouldn’t ever contaminate your dracaenas with tap water for the right reason. The contaminants in tap water bother dracaenas. In particular, fluoride and chloramine.

“Dracaena plants can react adversely to tap water since they are sensitive to fluoride and salts. Yellow blotches and brown tips on the leaves are indications that your dracaena plant is unhappy with the water you are giving it.

“Brown leaf spot or brown leaf tip is among the most frequent issues that might develop when you water your plants with tap water.”

Instead, the expert recommended using purified water, distilled water, or rainfall as these three types of water will make dracaenas the “healthiest”.

2. Spider plants

For a good reason, one of the most popular indoor plants is the spider plant. They are generally easy to maintain, can thrive in various environments, and produce many eye-catching baby plants.

Clean water is necessary for spider plants to flourish. However, Fiona warned: “Due to the dangerous chemicals in tap water that might destroy the plant’s leaves, you shouldn’t use them to hydrate them.

“Also vulnerable to fluoride, which is frequently present in tap water, are spider plants. Fluoride should ideally be avoided if possible because it can result in brown stains on the leaves of spider plants.”

In order to avoid chlorine, fluoride, and other contaminants present in tap water, the expert said: “You should use distilled or rainwater.” Water the plant once or twice a week throughout the summer and allow the soil to dry between applications.

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3. Ti plants

Ti plants are tropical houseplants that give homes and offices vibrant foliage and a lucky charm. While caring for these plants is quite simple, “giving them the right type and amount of water is crucial” to ensuring their success.

Fiona warned: “Fluoride and other substances in tap water may cause sensitivity in ti plants. These chemicals may harm the plant’s leaves, turning them brown and discoloured. This is why it is better to give them plenty of sun and water them with rainwater or distilled water.”

Then, to give the plants a break, draw the curtains during the midday sun in climates with excessive sun.

When the first inch of the soil feels dry to the touch, water the plant with rainwater or filtered water. Water thoroughly until moisture escapes through the drainage holes in the pot. To keep the plant well hydrated, water it once a week on average.

4. Calatheas plants

Despite how much calatheas are adored, they don’t enjoy tap water, according to the pro. Fiona said: “It might even be damaging to them. Calatheas are extremely delicate to strong chemicals, including those in tap water. Therefore, the fragile leaves of this plant may be harmed by an excess of these substances.”

Calathea plants could start browning around the edges because they prefer to drink filtered or chlorinated water, not tap water. Rather than having to spend money on bottled water for calathea, owners can get the water they prefer by leaving it out overnight, allowing the chlorine and other chemicals to dissipate completely, advised the expert. 

She added: “Never use tap water to water plants since chlorine burns the leaves and turns the tips brown. Instead, use distilled, chilled, or boiling water as an alternative.”

5. Prayer plants

Prayer plants need potting soil that is regularly damp but not saturated or humid. Make sure to supply a suitable pot and soil, and check the soil periodically, so they don’t dry out between waterings.

According to the expert, prayer plants “will struggle a lot” if given tap water, as it prefers distilled water. Additionally, they react negatively to chlorine, chloramine, and other common contaminants in tap water.

Instead, water the area when the top inch of soil feels dry and the layer beneath it feels just a tiny bit damp. Then, to allow chlorine and other contaminants to dissipate, Fiona instructed using lukewarm, distilled water or leaving tap water out overnight to use on them.

6. Carnivorous plants

There is “no doubt that you should not use tap water” to water carnivorous plants, claimed Fiona. Generally speaking, it’s advisable to be cautious when watering carnivorous plants as they require a bit more tender care because they are less durable than other species of plants. 

The expert said: “You can ensure that your carnivores remain healthy and happy by avoiding tap water. Instead, use reverse osmosis, dehumidifier, distilled, or deionised water to water your carnivorous plants. For carnivorous plants, improper soil can be quite harmful.”

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