watering plants

Everything you need to know about water!

Water is a vital life necessity for many living beings, as for our plants. It might sound like a simple task to provide your plants with water, but many PLNTS parents still struggle with this. This is because water is not just water, water can consist of many different components that some plants like and others don’t. But you have nothing to worry about, because we will explain all the ins and outs about water within this blog!

Why does my plant need water?

We start this blog by telling you why your plant needs water. Water is the resource used by your plant to carry nutrients from the soil, through the plant to where it's needed. Think of your plant growing an amazing new leaf for you, that is the place where the water is needed and is carried to. Pretty cool, right? Water is also an essential when it comes to Photosynthesis. This is the process of how plants produce energy and how they grow. Without water this process can not occur, which results in the plant dying, which is not something we want to happen to our green babies.

Water PH for plants

Water consists of many different components, some are beneficial for the plants, others can harm our plants. One thing that water has is a PH level. This determines how acidic a fluid is. The lower the PH the more acidic, the higher the more basic. The preferred water PH can differ per plant, Philodendron like their water to be between 4.5 and 6 and Begonia between 6 and 8. It is important to find a good middle ground for your plants, so you can satisfy all of them. If you are giving your plant the wrong PH level, your plant can get certain symptoms.

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A too low PH might cause:

  • Stunted growth
  • Brown spots on leaves
  • Leaf necrosis
  • Withered, stunted or twisted leaves
  • Leaf tip burn
  • Leaf chlorosis (where the leaf veins remain green but the rest of the leaf turns yellow)

A too high PH might cause:

  • Chlorose (disease due to lack of nutrition, in which the leaf gets pale)
  • The tip of new leaves is death
  • Stunted or wilted leaves
  • Spots of leaf necrosis
  • Brown spots on leaves
  • Dark green leaves tinged with red, bronze or purple
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This is what leaf chlorosis can look like

Different types of water

Tap water

The most commonly used water is tap water. The quality of tap water differs drastically per country. It can contain substances that are harmful for plants. This does not mean that you can’t use tap water to water your plants. You can reduce the chemicals in your tap water by filling up your watering can at least 24 hours before you want to water your plants. This will help with chemicals evaporating. Tap water’s PH is averagely between 7 and 8.5.

Filtered water

Filtered water is tap water that has gone through a filtration process. This removes substances out of the water. There are several ways of filtration, but some ways can also eliminate substances out of the water that are good for your plants. Activated carbon filtration uses natural materials like wood or coconut shells that are heated to produce a charred product, which will absorb the substances from your water when it runs through it. The PH of filtered water is averagely between 6.5 and 7.

Distilled water

Distilled water has been through a process of being boiled in vapor and condensed back into liquid. This removes impurities from the water, like bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. This water is almost 100% pure. It does lack nutrients for the plant, but this can also be given separately. The PH of distilled water is 7, neutral.

Rain water

You can also collect rainwater for your plants. This is considered to be the best and cheapest water option for your plants. Rain water is very soft and contains components that are beneficial for your plants. The PH of rain water is 7, neutral.

Temperature of water

You can provide your plants with water at room temperature, which will be around 20 degrees. This is a perfect temperature, since it makes sure the water still has lots of oxygen and triggers the pump mechanism in the roots.

How can I water my plants?

There are 2 ways to provide your plants with water from the top or from the bottom. Most common is to water your plants from the top. You do this by using a watering can or to place your plant underneath the faucet. This way of watering helps to flush excess salt and minerals from the soil, which is healthy for the plant. The cons of top watering is that the soil is very moist, which can attract pests or mold on top of your soil.

With bottom watering you place your plant inside its (nursery) pot with holes inside a bucket of water. Only the bottom touches the water, which lets the plant soak up all the water it needs. You can leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes and let the excess water drain out. This way of watering will provide your plant with the amount of water it needs and also helps to prevent pests, since the top layer of the soil will stay dry. It does not flush the excess salt and nutrients, which can result in the plant not being able to absorb other nutrients well.

We would advise you to play around with both of these ways of watering your plants.

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How often should I water my plants?

Every plant has different water needs, some plants love to have slightly moist soil, others like it more on the drier side. To determine what your specific plant needs, you can find on our PLNTS doctor page, plant care per family. Here you will find information for the most common plant families. Most plants will need to be watered weekly, this can increase by heat and a low humidity, or decrease in a cold and humid environment. You can always check the soil moistness with your finger. Does it feel dry? Your plant needs a sip of water. Does your soil feel moist, your plant is still fine but needs to be watered in the near future. Does it feel wet? Your plant has more than enough water within their soil to go on for a while still.

We also have some cool tools to support you with watering your plants correctly!

Tessa watermeter

The Tessa watermeter can simply be placed inside your soil and she will show you how wet it is. Now you know when your plant is thirsty and when she isn’t.

Naomi sensor

For a whole health examination, you can use the Naomi sensor. Naomi will not only tell you about your plants water needs, but also if she is receiving the right amount of sunlight, how the nutrition of your plant is and many more handy insights!

What are signs that I am not watering my plant correctly?

Overwatering can cause lots of problems. Waterlogged soil causes roots to die, since they can not absorb the oxygen that they need, this results in roots dying off and root rot. Symptoms that may occur due to overwatering are:

  • Stunted growth with yellowing leaves
  • Leaf scorch or leaf burn
  • Water soaked spots and blisters
  • The plant starts rotting
  • Pests, most are attracted to damp places

You can try to save your plant by changing the soil and removing the roots that have died. You might also need to treat the root rot if that has occurred.

Underwatering might cause the following symptoms:

  • Drooping leaves
  • Very dry soil
  • Drying out very quickly after watering, this can also be because the plant is root bound in a too small pot

You can revive your plant by bottom watering her on a regular basis, since this will make sure she can soak up all the water she needs. If your soil is dry and hard, water might have a hard time reaching the roots. You can poke holes in the soil with a skewer to guide the water.

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Your plants need nutrition in order to grow. You can add nutrition to your plants diet in the growing season, which is in spring and summer. Your plant grows very rapidly in these seasons and we want to support this, right? You can use our PLNTS nutrition for every houseplant and it is also almost 100% organic. It is simply added to the water you’re giving to your plant. The needed amount of nutrients can differ per species, so it’s best to look up their special needs on our PLNTS doctor page. But most plants will be satisfied with a monthly portion of nutrition added to their water.

This is everything you need to know about water! We hope this information makes you an even more skilled PLNTS parent than you already were. If you’re applying any of this information in your routine, we would love to know about it! You can tag us in any post on Instagram or send a private message! If you have interest in any other topic, let us know! :)


PLNTS instantly make Renée happy as she's always on the hunt for cool plant trends. Inspiring our community with interior tips, surprising DIY's and fun lists is what she does best!

March 14, 2023