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All living things need water to stay alive, and plants are indeed living things, and without them, we wouldn’t exist!
Plants are primarily 90% water, so they definitely need much more water than people. Of course, it depends on the type of plant, the environment in which it lives, and the age of the plant too.
You usually can tell if a plant needs a drink because if it is thirsty, it will wilt. The stem will begin to bend over and the leaves and flowers will shrivel.
The water pressure or turgor, inside the cells of the plant, keep the plant looking good and standing tall.
See the turgid plant vs. the flaccid plant. Which one needs water?
Water enters a plant through its roots. This process is called osmosis. The water hydrates the plant as it travels from the roots, up its stem or trunk, and finally the leaves get the drink they have been waiting for.
Photosynthesis takes place in the leaves where water becomes food for the plant. Once in the leaves, water evaporates, as the plant exchanges water for carbon dioxide. People breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
Plants do the opposite, filling our air with new oxygen. That is why plants and gardens are so important. Gardens are places where plants are protected by people. We believe that all the world is a garden.
When water moves into the leaves of a plant, this is called transpiration. This happens through tiny openings in the plant’s leaves, called stomata.
The water from the leaves evaporates through the stomata, and carbon dioxide enters the stomata, taking the water’s place.
Plants need this carbon dioxide to make food.
Where should the water come from?
Water that is free of minerals and chemicals is best for plants and humans! So let’s think about this for a moment. Would you feed your children “junk” food if you had enough money to buy whatever food you could? NO!! It is the same for plants. They need the purest form of water they can get to be the healthiest they can be, and so do people.
The advantage of using water from the tap is that it’s cheap and readily available, at least in most civilized places.
For many people and plants, straight from the tap is fine. Make sure it’s not too hot or cold. Water at room temperature is just right.
Minerals and Chemicals in tap water
Tap water can be loaded with minerals or chemicals that can harm plants. This tap water can still be fed to plants, as long as some simple precautions are taken.
- Chlorine is used by some people to treat water for disease causing micro organisms. Chlorine is bad for plants and people.
Chlorine is a gas that evaporates out of water easily, and it can be easily smelled.
If you smell chlorine, let the water sit for 24 hours before using it on your plants. I wouldn’t drink it if you can help it.
Use clean, empty milk jugs or soda bottles to hold the water while it “breathes.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency in the USA recommends storing tap water in clean plastic, glass, enameled metal, or fiberglass containers. Seal the containers and store the jugs in a dark, cool location. It should be good for about 6 months.
2. Magnesium and Calcium is found in hard water. Be cautious if you live in an area where the water is considered hard. Excessive amounts of magnesium and calcium will harm your plants.
You also shouldn’t use hard water that’s been run through a household softener; the salt used in softeners is also bad for the plants.
You could purchase a simple carbon-type filter from the hardware store and filter your hard water. The Brita company claims that Brita water is better water. It does remove cadmium, copper, and mercury from your tap water which plants and people don’t find useful.
If you notice a whitish crust on your soil or plants, that could indicate the presence of minerals from the water you are using to feed your plants. Flush it away and add new soil.
The best way to flush away unwanted minerals is with rain water.
• Precipitation is when rain falls from clouds in the sky in the form of water droplets.
- Hail, sleet, snow, and ice are all forms of water.
- Water is part of a cycle.
- Rain occurs on other planets like Venus where it is sulfuric acid and due to the intense heat it evaporates before it even reaches the surface.
- Meteorologists or weather people can find rain and tell us where it is going to fall and how much.
- The most rain that ever fell to Earth was in 1966 in India.
- Antarctica near the south polar is the driest place on Earth.
- Heavy rain is dangerous to plants and people.
- Rain is powerful and people use water to make electricity.
- Plants receive most of their water from rain which is the most natural form of water.
- The Amazon Jungle in South America is the largest rainforest on Earth and it receives the most rainfall.
- Rain with high levels of acid is called acid rain which is harmful to people and plants. Factories and automobiles produce sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which mixes with water in the air to form acid rain. Not good!
1. Rainwater is 100% soft water, and it is free of the salts, minerals, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals that are found in cities. Salts and chemicals build up in your soil and eventually harm plants.
2. Rainwater is naturally slightly acidic. This means that the soil ph level for plants is best between 5.5 and 6.5. Rain water is best for plants when the soil is at this ph level.
3. Stored rainwater contains some organic matter which is good for your plants. Some rain water can be contaminated depending on how close you live to other people like in cities. Pollution is in the air and in the soil because of how people live. But, rain water from a barrel is better for the plants than the water from your tap.
4. Rain contains nitrates which are important macro-nutrients for plants. Nitrate is a healthy form of nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the three key nutrients for healthy plants. The other two nutrients that plants need are phosphorus and potassium. Nitrates, which are made up of nitrogen and oxygen come from nature and your plants need this food. Plants absorb nitrates from the soil and the soil gets it from the rain.
In closing, I would just like to say that my wife and I have had many plants in our house for over 50 years. We live in a colder part of the world so our warm summer temperatures are limited. When the air outside did feel somewhat tropical, all of our house plants went outside. They flourished and grew there feeling pampered by the sunshine and natural rain water. I know they felt like they were on summer vacation.
So, I hope you follow my golden rule for watering your garden…
Feed your plants rain water, whether they are outside plants or inside plants.