Your house Plants on Reverse Osmosis Water
Many Nebraskans are already aware of the significance of high quality drinking water for their homes. This is one of the reasons residential water treatment devices, such as Reverse Osmosis are commonly used throughout the state as an effective choice for removing excess minerals and contaminants common to Nebraska’s drinking water.
But have you ever stopped to consider the impact R.O. water may have on your house plants?
Reverse Osmosis 101:
Reverse osmosis is widely considered to be the most common and effective method for TRUE water purification. Originally developed for desalinating seawater to create drinking water, the process has been used for decades in both domestic and commercial water filtration applications. R.O. uses water pressure to push H2O through a membrane. This semi-permeable membrane is approximately the thickness of cellophane, allowing only the water molecules to pass through, while separating out any solid contaminants or impurities. These impurities can then be flushed away, leaving as close as you can come to pure and clean drinking water.
Your Plants and Reverse Osmosis H2O
In fact, R.O. filtration can effectively remove up to 99% of the dissolved solids (salts, bacteria, organic material from water,) because the membrane rejects the contaminants based on the charge and size of the molecules. Water molecules only have a molecular weight of 18, blocking contaminants with a greater molecular weight by the membrane. The result is that reverse osmosis, as a filtration protocol, can effectively remove most sodium, calcium, potassium, nitrate, zinc, iron, phosphate, magnesium and manganese molecules. It can also remove harmful lead, arsenic, and other toxic chemical trace elements and biological contaminants. While high levels of these minerals can damage household appliances and plumbing, and in some cases be potentially harmful to human or animal health, removing them could ironically compromise the health of your plants.
Unlike humans, who source their essential vitamins and minerals via the food they eat, plants rely on the minerals in the soil and their water supply. In fact mineral free water is the last thing you want to give your plants. Your green ornamentals need twenty essential minerals to maintain basic healthy growth. While hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen are obtained from the air in your home, minerals and nutrients must be either present in the soil or provided in the water they are supplied. These essential minerals include potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, magnesium and calcium. By FILTERING OUT these elements from ALL your water, you could, in fact, be depriving your plants of vital nutrients needed for survival. For example, nitrogen is vital for photosynthesis and as a result plant growth. If your plant does not have sufficient nitrogen, it will have small stunted leaves. Another critical element is potassium, which is needed to protect the plant from disease. Plants lacking in potassium will have yellow leaves.
In the very unlikely scenario where R.O. water is the only water available in your home for your house plants, you may want to boost the nutrient content of the potted soil with an added feed product or fertilizer. Most feeds usually contain nitrogen, but others also contain a host of other essential minerals. Without these nutrients your plants, in time, will inevitably become sickly and possibly even die. So, while purified water can be a great for humans and pet survival and good health, you may want to reconsider this water source for the health of your plants.
About The Author, Terry Reeh, Partner EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:
With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space , Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. In addition to running the day-to-day operations of EcoWater Systems of Nebraska, one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery enterprises in the state, Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices.