Best Water for Growing Plants | Cannabis
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Water is one of the most important things when it comes to life as we know it on our planet, including plants, but what is the best water for growing plants? It stands to reason that the quality of the water that you give your cannabis plants directly influences the quality of the final result. People generally tend to use the first water that they can get their hands on, which is usually tap water – combined with the fact that people usually add loads of different products to the water in order to feed their plants without checking pH or EC, this can be disastrous. Your plants will be more likely to catch plant illnesses and attract insect and fungi infestations, which can lead to terribly quality flowers once harvested.
In order to guarantee quality flowers and to make the most out of the nutrients used, the most important thing is to make sure that you know the type of water you’re going to use, and its contents. Secondly, you’ll need to work using specific pH and EC levels so that your plants can absorb everything they need; these levels vary depending on the phase your plants are in and depending on the strain grown. This is why you absolutely need pH and EC meters when growing cannabis, although this post is more about different types of water and how they can be used.
What’s the Best Water for Growing Plants?
We’re going to go through a few different types of water that you can use when growing plants, whether they’re cannabis, flowers, aromatic or decorative plants – many people have misconceptions regarding this issue.
Tap water is probably one of the most used types of water when it comes to watering cannabis, as it’s definitely the easiest to access. Whether you should use this type of water or not depends on where you live, as the water in certain areas has different characteristics than others. You should be able to check this at the town hall or through town officials Tap water can be hard, (EC + 0.8), medium (EC + 0.4) or soft (EC – 0.4), and it generally has a pH of over 7.0 as well as containing a lot of products that help keep it clear. Tap water also contains lime, chlorine and fluoride in some cases, which can kill natural life in soil and decrease its quality.
In order to water your plants using tap water you can do various things; let the water sit for about 24h so that some of the minerals and other components have time to fall to the end of your tank. The second thing that you can to is you can use an osmosis filter in order to clean your water and make it potable for both people and plants.
Distilled water is sold in supermarkets and drug stores, and it doesn’t contain any minerals or any other type of microorganism, bad or good. This water is perfect for plants and can be consumed by people although due to the fact that it contains no minerals at all it’s not recommended for continuous consumption. In order to use it on plants, all you have to do is keep in mind that it generally has a pH over 7.0 and an EC of 0.0, so we recommend adjusting the pH and adding calcium and magnesium until it reaches 0.4 EC.
Distilled water is obtained through a process of distillation, which essentially heats the liquid up until it becomes vapor. The vapor is then cooled down in order to retrieve the water, with every other component having evaporated.
Air Conditioner Water
Air conditioner water is taken from your very own air conditioner, and you can use this water when it comes to watering your cannabis plants, as it’s essentially distilled water, although we always recommend using an EC meter; depending on how old the AC unit is or its design, it may actually have an EC of 0.4 rather than 0.0. Its pH is usually over 7.0.
Reverse Osmosis Water
Reverse osmosis is a type of water that’s similar to distilled but not quite as pure, as it doesn’t eliminate 100% of all minerals (lime, chlorine etc.) and other impurities in water, but it’s incredibly similar and you can get it from your own type by simply getting a decent osmosis filter and setting it up. Depending on the filter and how long it’s been there for, osmosis filters tend to produce less than 0.4 EC and around 7.0 PH, so you can drink it if you want and you can use it to water your plants without needing to modify it at all.
Reverse Osmosis water is obtained by using filters that trap the minerals and other unwanted elements in the water; depending on the filter and the model, the water will be more or less pure, and therefore higher or lower quality. Reverse osmosis water is always a better bet than tap water or water that you can get from rivers/lakes etc.
Rain water, as the name suggests, is water obtained straight from nature herself, filling tanks up with rain which you can store and then use at a later date. This water is generally not potable, although some studies would suggest that it is. Regardless, it can be used to water pretty much any type of plant, as when rain is gathering it tends to automatically eliminate any harmful elements, plus plants in nature grow using rain water; rain water is one of the cleanest fresh waters on earth. It tends to have a pH close to 7.0 and an EC no higher than 0.4.
In order to get the highest quality rain water possible you’ll need to set up a water collection system, which will need to stay as clean as possible in order to avoid absorbing elements that could decrease the quality of the water. You can also have it set up on an impurity filter. We recommend using rain water obtained outside of cities, as the rain that falls in the city is usually contaminated as it falls through an already contaminated environment.
Well, reservoir, spring water etc.
Water obtained from wells, springs, reservoirs and other similar sources is not entirely recommended unless you actually know its composition via a study done in your area; you need to know its mineral and chemical content. This is absolutely necessary, as it may have been contaminated using chemical insecticides or mineral fertilizer, which might render it useless for your plants. Plus, these types of waters tend to contain large amounts of bacteria, fungi, virus and parasites due to animals and possibly even people.
In order to use this type of water we highly recommend studying it beforehand and then, if necessary, treating the water or preparing your storage area to avoid bacteria from spreading. If it’s a well that you own, you can empty and treat the surface using ultraviolet light, or you can also treat it with chlorine. If it’s a spring or reservoir or somewhere public, you’ll need to talk to the authorities in the area in order to figure out its contents and take the necessary measures if the water isn’t apt for plants or life in the area.
River water may sound like a great idea for watering your plants at first, and maybe even for drinking, although this is not recommended at all. Rivers are generally kilometers long and can have stretches in which they’re contaminated by pesticides, industrial areas or factories that use the water for residues; rivers can also contain dead animals which contaminate water due to decomposition.
On the other hand, the location of the river can give its water unique characteristics; you’ll never find the same type of water in two different rivers. Plus, due to the content of certain minerals, it’s probably more than likely not apt for cannabis growing and you’ll need to analyze all of its contents, not just pH and EC.
In order to use river water you should probably live near somewhere where your town hall can assure you that the rivers don’t contain any sort of contamination caused by human kind. If you nonly have access to water that’s in rivers near or in cities, we highly recommend avoiding using it.
Bottled Mineral Water
Bottled water is obviously designed for people to drink, although it’s not the best option for cannabis plants. Still, it’s better than using unknown tap, river, or well water. Mineral water is guaranteed to contain no harmful substances, and its EC levels are lower than 0.5, with a pH around 7-0, although it may have high amounts of different minerals which may end up affecting how your plant grows and how the soil behaves, such as calcium.
In order to work using bottled mineral water you need to choose a brand that has the lowest amount of minerals, and you need to adjust the pH and EC like you would with any other type of water; it’s easy.
The Best Water for Growing Plants
So, after going through various different types of water you can use when growing cannabis, including some you may not have thought of, the best water for growing plants is clearly reverse osmosis or distilled water. These two types of water can guarantee that your plants aren’t getting any toxic minerals or anything they shouldn’t get unless you’re adding it to the water – it also makes it easy to give your plants a 100% controlled diet. Let’s have a look at our ranking of the type of water you should use for growing your cannabis plants:
- Distilled water
- Reverse osmosis water
- AC Unit water
- Bottled mineral water
- Rain water
- River water
- Well, reservoir etc. water
- Tap water
This ranking is of course just an estimate, and the different types of water mentioned in this post may vary in position depending on their individual characteristics related to location and environment.Do you want to know what the best water for growing plants is? Read on to find out how to get the most out of your crop through correct water prep!
Straight From the Source: Clean Water Tips for Your Cannabis Homegrow
Like all plants, cannabis requires water in order to perform its most basic functions. Water delivers nutrients throughout the plant, and without it cannabis can’t survive. But in order to raise healthy, strong cannabis plants, you’ll need to pay close attention to the type of water you’re providing your crop.
There are two common misconceptions when it comes to sourcing water for a cannabis garden:
- All water is the same.
- Water deemed safe for consumption will also be adequate for your plants.
Water can contain a number of contaminants, some of which are safe to be used in a garden and some that can have serious consequences for the plant’s health. Every grower should know where to source clean water and how to treat contaminated water to make it suitable for a garden.
Know Your pH and PPM
An important term to understand when talking about water quality and distinguishing between water types is pH, or potential hydrogen, which is used to measure the acidity and alkalinity of a given fluid. pH measurement occurs on a scale of 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline).
Examples of highly acidic fluids include battery acid, lemon juice, and vinegar, while highly basic fluids include household ammonia, milk of magnesia, and bleach. Distilled water is neutral with a pH of 7.
Depending on the grow medium you’re using, cannabis prefers its water to be in the 6-7 range, the optimal pH for nutrient uptake.
Another important term to know is ppm, or parts per million. This measures the presence of dissolved solids in water. Because most water isn’t pure H2O, ppm gives an accurate measurement of the percentage of contaminants in a given water source.
Contaminants found in water sources can include:
- Chemical: chlorine, chloramine, magnesium, calcium, salts, nitrogen
- Physical: rocks, sand, sediment, organic material
- Biological: bacteria, mycotoxins, viruses, parasites
- Radiological: uranium, cesium
Many water sources naturally have contaminants. Streams, ponds, and lakes can contain a range of biological contaminants like bacteria and parasites.
Other water sources, such as treated municipal water, or tap water, is often treated with some amount of chemicals like chlorine, calcium, and magnesium, in order to get rid of the possibility of biological growth.
Water that contains higher quantities of minerals such as calcium or magnesium is called hard water. This type of water has a higher ppm due to the extra dissolved solids in it. Water with less minerals and a lower ppm is called soft water.
How and Where to Source Water
Cannabis homegrowers have several options available at various price points when sourcing water for a garden, each with its pros and cons.
Factors to keep in mind when looking at water sourcing options include:
- Total cost upfront vs. cost accrued over time
- Availability of water
- Overall water quality
- How difficult it is to scale or increase the amount of water needed
- Labor needed to bring in water
- Environmental impact
The options below represent the most practical water sourcing methods available to the average homegrower, but keep in mind that other methods are available.
Water Collection Systems
You can create a system to collect your rainwater or gray water. These systems work very well under the right circumstances and can be both inexpensive and environmentally friendly.
The Pros: Water collection systems such as rainwater catches are a great way to sustainably source water for a garden. These systems can last for long periods of time with little maintenance and can be scaled for any size of garden. Systems like this are especially useful in climates with dry periods where water saving is encouraged.
Gray water recycling is a great way to reuse unwanted water. Using catching and filtration systems, you can recycle water that has already been used on a property.
The Cons: Unfortunately, many jurisdictions have ordinances that either completely prohibit or set strict limits on the collection of rainwater and the reuse of gray water. Proponents of these restrictions argue that there are health and safety concerns for doing this.
Although setting up a simple water-catching system can be inexpensive, there is still some start-up capital required. Water that has been collected either by rain or by reuse will need to be filtered and stored properly, requiring filter systems and specially graded storage containers built to withstand the elements without risk of contamination or breaking.
Unfiltered Tap Water
Contrary to popular belief, using unfiltered tap water on cannabis is not a death sentence for your plants. This type of water varies greatly depending on the municipality and their water-treatment protocols.
Contrary to popular belief, using unfiltered tap water on cannabis is not a death sentence for your plants.
Some cities use incredibly hard water with high levels of contaminants such as chlorine, calcium, and magnesium. While water with a low ppm concentration of these chemicals won’t necessarily kill a plant, it can have a negative impact on the biological activity in organic soil.
One trick to rid water of chlorine is to let your water sit out for 24-48 hours. Doing so will allow ample time for the chemical to evaporate, making tap water usable for growing.
The Pros: Tap water is inexpensive, meaning it’s easy to scale and you can increase the amount needed if you have a high plant count. Also, there’s little labor involved in using tap water after the ppm and pH are adjusted.
The Cons: This option may not be available for growers living in cities with heavily treated water systems. Organic growers will also find that the chemicals in treated water may have a negative impact on the biological life in their soils.
This water is a great pure, uncontaminated source that’s relatively inexpensive for a small-scale garden. Most grocery stores and shopping centers have bottled distilled water and many companies offer water delivery services at reasonable prices.
The Pros: This water is affordable in low quantities and easy to source. It’s also safe for plants and doesn’t need any extra filtration.
The Cons: The cost of sourcing bottled water will accrue over time. It’s great for small growers, but large-scale growers will find this expensive. There is also a certain amount of labor involved in retrieving the water itself.
This method also has a big negative impact on the environment, in the resources needed to create containers for the water and resources needed to transport the water, such as fuel. Trash is also a consideration with water containers.
Water Filtration Systems
For large-scale growers with less financial restrictions, water filtration systems are the go-to option for an unlimited supply of clean water. There are several effective filtration systems available, though reverse osmosis (RO) systems seem to be the most popular for cannabis cultivators.
These systems work by pushing water molecules through a semi-permeable membrane, filtering out most contaminates. There are many varieties of RO systems that vary greatly in price.
The Pros: Using an RO system will ensure absolute filtration and decontamination, making it the safest method for cleaning large quantities of water for a grow operation. After initial installation costs, this system will supply a virtually endless supply of clean water for a garden.
The Cons: The initial cost upfront for even the most basic RO system can be expensive, hundreds of dollars, with more advanced systems stretching into the thousands. With such a high barrier-to-entry, small-scale growers may find that this system is a pipe dream.
RO systems are also known to waste quite a bit of water, making them high on the list for negative environmental impact. RO systems continue to draw and filter water for a period of time after use, thus wasting water. By installing a permeate pump, you can reduce the amount of water wasted.Not sure what kind of water to use in your cannabis garden? This guide will dispel some myths and tell you how to get clean water to keep your plants healthy and vibrant. ]]>