The Effects of Tap Water on Plants

The Effects of Tap Water on Plants image by Justin Coleman
The Effects of Tap Water on Plants image by Justin Coleman


Whether pumped from treatment plants or pulled from a home well, tap water can contain a range of contaminants that harm plants. Watch for signs of impure tap water to prolong plant life and promote stronger growth.

Leaf damage can be caused by contaminated tap water.


Tap water with excess salts can prevent roots from absorbing enough water and nutrients. Tap water treated with chlorine and fluorine produces leaf spots, singeing and curling of leaf edges.


Plants poisoned by tap water may die very suddenly after many months of apparent good health.

Tap water with excess salt leaves a white residue on clay pots.

Other Indications

The formation of white residue on soil, leaves or clay pots indicates the use of tap water with too much salt.


Tap water from home wells may be softened to reduce mineral content, introducing many salts that will injure roots and leaves.

Spider plants develop singed leaf tips when exposed to fluorine in tap water.


Gardeners can remove some harmful chemicals from tap water by allowing it to sit for a day before being used.


Some plants are susceptible to being damaged by water that is too hot or cold. Only water plants with tap water that is close to room temperature.


  • GardenLine: Plants Prefer Pure Water
  • Growing Edge: Clean Water Is Good, Pure Is Better
  • BellaOnline: Water Quality and Your Plants

Who Can Help

  • WaterRoots: Watering Houseplants
Keywords: tap water, plants, effects

About this Author

Justin Coleman is a freelance writer based in Connecticut. Since 2007, he has covered a variety of topics, including biology and computers, amongst others. Coleman is currently a freelance nature and technology writer and wildlife photographer. When not working, Coleman tirelessly explores new areas of nature, history, philosophy, comparative religion, technology and sociology.

Photo by: Justin Coleman