can of distilled water for succulents

Is Distilled Water Good for Succulents & Cactus?(2020)

In case you have been using tap water for watering your succulents and worried about the effect the chlorine and mineral content of that water will have on the succulent health, you are absolutely in the right place.  This is something I had no idea when I just got started with my succulents, however then onwards I have done some research on this matter, and let’s take a look at that. So,
Is Distilled Water Good for Succulents? Distilled water is totally free of harmful chemicals, microbes, and toxins which makes it highly suitable for watering succulents. They dont contain unwanted minerals in them that can affect the soil health. 
Let’s take a deeper look at this matter…

What type of water do you use for succulents?

Succulents are extremely low maintenance plants however like all plants they are extremely responsive to the watering schedule and the water quality.
  • You need to make sure that the water you are using for watering the succulents is free of harmful chemicals and unwanted minerals.
  • Also ideally it needs to contain electrolytes, traces of the beneficial minerals, and should be totally free of microbes and viruses.
  • It will also help if the pH of the water is slightly acidic as succulents like to thrive on acidic soil conditions.

Why you should use distilled water instead of Tap water?

Most plants can withstand tap water and grows to be quite healthy. However, there are some instances where succulents are seen to grow better when other forms of water including distilled water and rainwater are used.
  • In the majority of the places, tap water is treated heavily with chlorine, chloramine and contains traces of fluoride and other minerals including calcium, iron, etc.
  • It is true that succulents need minerals in the soil to grow properly. However, that varies as per the type of the mineral, and the amount is needed to be monitored properly and higher concentrations of even the beneficial elements in the soil will do more harm than any good.

is tap water safe for succulents

  • All these components are totally unnecessary for the proper growth of the succulents and in turn, harms them heavily.

With time all these chemicals and minerals accumulate in the soil and end up harming the roots and affect their ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. As a result, the succulent health will deteriorate slowly.

To avoid this from happening you should abide by two practices:
  • Use water which is free of these harmful components
  • Repot the succulent at least every 2 years to give their growth a fresh boost

Is using Distilled water okay for plants? Do succulents need Distilled water?

Distilled water is one of the viable options you can explore for watering your succulents. It is a completely safe option as distilled water is free of all kinds of chemicals and minerals. Succulents will be happy with any source of water that is free of components that won’t harm them.
So from that point of view, it is better for succulents to be watered with distilled water instead of being watered by tap water or water from the springs or lakes as in this scenario you have peace of mind that your succulent health is not compromised by any means.
Distilled water won’t miraculously boost the growth of the plant as it does not contain any form of supplement however it won’t harm the plant as well.
  • Also, there has been an experiment done by the National Student Research Center, where the growth of various plants was monitored when watered with the distilled, tap, and saltwater. It was found that plants that were watered with distilled water grew much faster and healthier than the other ones(source).
  • Having said that many plants can cope up with tap water especially if the tap water you have in your place is of really good quality. If you wanna be safe go for distilled water.

Pros of using Distilled water

  • Completely free of any toxic chemicals like chlorine or fluoride that is totally unnecessary for their growth. The presence of those components can lead to stunted growth of the succulent and lead to root burning.
  • It does not contain any kind of mineral or living components in the water so you dont have to worry about any mineral buildup in the soil. Mineral buildup can lead to discoloration of the leaves and also change the soil color as well.
  • Distilled water is easily available at every location and can even be bought online.
  • It is not pricey and as succulents have a very low water need so the water reserve can last for quite some time.

Cons of using Distilled water

  • You need to pay for it. If you used tap water or water from any other source it would have been mostly free. However, this is a small price to pay for the optimal health of your beloved succulents.
  • They do not contain any unwanted minerals as well as the beneficial minerals. They are totally free of any kind of mineral or chemical debris. Along with this succulents also dont get any supply of electrolytes as well from distilled water.
  • As they dont get any kind of nutrition or helping hand from the water you need to fertilize them at least once a year which is an absolute must and maybe sometimes twice a year. This is because the soil contains a limited amount of resources and with time if you dont recharge the soil, it will lose its viability and the succulent will be malnourished.

You can go through the below-mentioned articles to make sure your succulent soil remains fertile throughout the year:

Alternatives to Distilled water

Rain Water

Rainwater is the most common and dependable alternative to distilled water. If your place gets rain from time to time you can easily collect the water in a big container and that stock will last you for quite some time.

  • Rainwater is what the succulents depend on for their growth in their natural habitats and so you will find them growing vibrantly if you use rainwater for watering them.
  • Rainwater is slightly acidic in nature which is just what the succulents love. It will help in transforming the soil pH to acidic and will even help in flushing out unwanted chemical buildups in the soil.

Using rainwater in many instances has been found to work as a tonic for the succulents.

Filtered Water

Another great option is to use the water off RO or reverse osmosis filters.

  • These filters will help you to adjust the water pH and will remove all the unnecessary toxins and chemicals present in the water to maximal efficiency.
  • Also, they will remove all living elements present in the water including bacteria, protozoa, and viruses.

The great thing is there won’t remove the beneficial minerals from the water. So in case you dont wanna depend on nature or if your place gets infrequent rainfall this is an easy fix.

Where to Buy Distilled water

You can buy distilled water from grocery shops as well as from medical stores. You can even find it online on Amazon and Walmart.

In case, you wanna make your own Distilled water

Refer to the following video:

Key Takeaways from this article

  • Distilled water is totally free from any kind of chemicals, microbes, viruses, toxins, contaminants, and minerals. This makes them highly suitable for watering succulents.
  • However, as they are free of all kinds of minerals including the beneficial ones you need to be serious about fertilizing your plants.
  • Using distilled water is not an absolute necessity in case the tap water you have in your place is quite good. If you are unsure you can try watering your plants with that and look for any color changes or improper health after a few weeks.

If you want to be fully safe go for distilled water. This becomes more important if you have succulents growing in pots. Plants growing in the garden can put up with the high mineral content of tap water to some extent but not the indoor ones as the surface area of the soil is small.

  • Rainwater is the best alternative for distilled water as it is completely natural and is acidic which is just what the succulents love.


Succulents need some amount of mineral in the soil for obtaining proper nutrition. However, in case you use tap water, you are literally pouring unknown quantities of mineral and other chemicals into the soil without any knowledge. You have almost no control regarding the composition of the tap water and what in reality are you doing to your plants.

So in these scenarios, it is best to go for distilled water as it is a cheap and healthy option to go for especially for long-term peace of mind. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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