WATER QUALITYIs Softened Water Better for Plants?

April 5, 2022

You might choose to drink, shower, wash clothes and do everything in your home with soft water. Soft water, water with the vast majority of minerals filtered out of it, may not though be the best for plants, inside or outside. Is softened water better for plants? Then, if you want the benefits of soft water, how can you keep plants and gardens growing well?

What’s Soft Water?

Soft water is water that’s been treated, most usually with salt, so minerals and some other contaminants are removed. Most water, from a public treatment facility or a well, is hard water.

Soft water can be better for consuming. It can give you better results with showers, cleaning and laundry. It can better preserve the look and condition of plumbing and fixtures in a home. When it comes to plants, a lawn, a garden, even house plants, soft water is missing the minerals flora often naturally needs. And, the salt in water softening products can be harmful, even toxic, to plants. Is the answer, get rid of plants? No. Is it, get rid of soft water? No.

Can You Water Plants with Soft Water?

Generally, it’s not good to water plants with softened water. In most cases, on most plants, high levels of sodium harm plants. For some it’s very bad and quick, for some plants it’s a longer-term issue if there’s too much salt. Salt dehydrates humans, too. Salt dehydrates plants even if they are getting a normal amount of water.

With too much salt in water, you can kill the current plants, grass or garden and make it difficult to grow anything in the future. You’re putting too much sodium in the ground, which will be in the soil for a long time, and have an effect on growth in the future.

Having Hard Water in a Soft Water Home

Is Softened Water Better for Plants?
Can You Water Plants with Soft Water?

There are some ways to have hard water, or effectively create hard water, for plants. Let’s look at some of the possible options.

  • Have a hard water, or bypass, line

You can have a plumber install a second line, or a bypass line, to a spigot – most likely an outdoor spigot – to water yards or gardens. This line can bypass or be separate from or be a line which gets water before it runs through a soft water filtration system you have.

  • Combine some rainwater

You can collect rainwater and use a mix of your home tap water (softened) and the natural (minerals) rainwater. This will dilute the salt and add the naturally occurring minerals for your plants. However, it’s worth knowing the salt from the soft water will still gather and stay in the soil. This could harm plants over time or make it difficult to plant new plants down the line. It’s possible to test your soil for salt and mineral levels.

You can Use 100% Rainwater

Rainwater – for clear reasons – is perfect for plants. It’s what plants crave.

Rainwater has everything plants need to grow. You can collect rainwater to use with indoor plants, too. You can collect it to use when there’s a draught in the area. For most situations, some buckets or barrels will do just fine. If you need more water, think about a rain collection barrel. Using rainwater is also the most environmentally friendly answer.

More Solutions About Salt

  • Potassium Chloride

Potassium chloride may be a good potential alternative to sodium when it comes to turning your hard water to soft water. Then with plants, potassium chloride is a plant nutrient. Consult a professional or expert first, but you may be able to use potassium pellets instead of salt for your water softening.

  • Set up a salt-free system

You can choose a salt-free water softener system. Salt-free softeners may be a good choice over salt-based softeners anyway. As for plants, salt-free soft water should be excellent for any watering. Meanwhile, you keep all the positive reasons you switched to soft water in your kitchen, bathroom and so on. A salt-free soft water system will still mean no marks, stains, residue or streaks on fixtures in your bathroom or kitchen.

How to Treat Soil with High Salt Levels

If you have dirt that has been watered with soft water for a long length of time, you might need to find out about the sodium levels in your soil, then try to correct the high salt level over time. There are no chemical methods or products which can do this. You have to solve this issue through a manual method called leaching.

Leaching brings the salt out of soil. It can either push the salt deeper into the ground or bring it up so it will wash away. Leaching draws salt out. It also brings other minerals and elements out of the soil, so now you have another step. Once you leach a piece of land, if you’re going to plant anything on it, you’ll probably need to add nutrients and minerals back into the ground to have healthy soil for plant growth.



South End Water Filtration specializes in HALO Water Filter products including the HALO H2 Zero Whole Home Water Filter. HALO systems solve hard water problems, give your family clear, great-tasting water and are totally maintenance free. We’re just a click away to help and answer any questions. South End Plumbing and South End Water Filtration will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-486-1988 or contact us online to schedule a visit.