Is your water softener slowly killing your house plants?


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Since I first set it up over a year ago, I have noticed with each successive planting, my indoor kitchen garden seems to not do as well. With each new planting, plants do not thrive as well, and my yield is less. I use a soilless mix to which I give nutrients (appropriate organic fertilizer) with each new planting. I have a combination of T4 and LED grow lights. I water the same with each crop. What could be going wrong, and why is it getting worse?

After doing some research about soil nutrients, lighting and watering, I stumbled across an article (and information) about how the low amounts of salt in water treated by a your typical home water softener can be harmful. We had a whole house water softener installed a few years back. I never made the connection! The sodium in softened water actually interferes with the water balance in the plants and can kill plants by “fooling” them into thinking they have taken up more water than they have. Softened water essentially causes the plants in your house/garden to die of thirst.

To make matters worse, the salt will continue to build in the soil if it is not flushed out...and watering with more softened water is not flushing it out. At this point I have decided to replace the soilless mix in my indoor kitchen garden and start a new crop. I'll get the water from my water system from a spigot in a pipe before it enters the softener. I am hopeful this will remediate the problem.

I'll let you know.
 
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That's interesting. I have well water that is hard, and we also put in a water softener. But I really like the taste of our water, so I only piped it to the shower, dishwasher, and washing machine.
 
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I really didn't notice a change in taste after we put it in (we had the whole house piped). We put it in because we had a few pin-hole leaks over a few years at joints in the copper pipes.
 
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The residual sodium left by water softeners can also be harmful to people with high blood pressure. Since our house in Florida was plumbed with a softer I gathered rain water for the house plants and bought bottled water for drinking.
 

alp

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I always use rainwater for my garden. It's free. Only when there is a terrible drought do I use tap water. I use a brita filter to filter all the water before I boil it. I always boil my water and really love it when the hot water splashes over the teabag.

I have another filter jug for cool but previously boiled water. I can't stand the taste of the tap water. I always go on a holiday with a filtered kettle and sometimes even my own teabags and fresh milk from nearby supermarket.
 
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Logan

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We are a hard water area, some people don't like the taist, but we don't mind. I use it for all my plants, don't use rain water for seedlings. I used it for wallflowers once and they all died. Never used softeners.
 
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Last Saturday, I emptied and refilled my kitchen garden with new soiless seed starter mix. I kept a few of the little basil and spinach plants, shaking off as much of the old mix as I could, to see how they do in the new mix. Already, they look a bit better. I also planted more lettuce and spinach seeds. I hooked a piece of hose up to a spigot in my basement before the water goes into the softener and conditioner and will water with that. I'm am hoping to see a big difference. I can't imagine what else may have been the problem since all other variables have always been the same. I'll keep you posted.
 

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