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The Effects of Tap Water on Plants

By Justin Coleman ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.


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.

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.


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.


About the 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.