Choosing the Right Water Source for Growth

Choosing the Right Water Source for Growth

Water, the lifeline of plants, plays a pivotal role in the success of any garden. As gardeners, understanding the diverse water sources available and their specific attributes, such as ppm (parts per million) and mineral content, is crucial. Understanding the PPM of your water source as well as added minerals will prevent burn and overfeed. Some sources of tap water for example may contain over 300 ppm which could hurt the plan when combined with your current nutrient system. 

In this comparison guide, we'll explore various water sources, including the often-overlooked reverse osmosis water, shedding light on their unique characteristics.

Tap Water: The Common Ally

PPM Range: Varies widely based on location and water treatment processes.

Mineral Content: Chlorine, fluoride, and sometimes calcium and magnesium.

Tap water remains a popular choice for its accessibility, but it's important to be mindful of potential mineral content, especially in hard water areas. To mitigate this, allowing tap water to sit for 24 hours or investing in a water filter can be beneficial. 

Well Water: Nature's Reservoir

PPM Range: Highly variable.

Mineral Content: Depends on the geological composition of the well.

Well water, sourced from underground aquifers, can vary significantly in mineral content. Conducting a water test will provide insight into the ppm and mineral composition, allowing for customized care based on your well's unique characteristics.

Rainwater: Liquid Gold from the Sky

PPM Range: Extremely low.

Mineral Content: Virtually absent, except for trace minerals from the atmosphere.

Rainwater stands out as a pure and natural source with an incredibly low ppm and minimal mineral content. Ideal for sensitive plants, collecting rainwater in barrels provides an eco-friendly and cost-effective irrigation solution.

River or Stream Water: Nature's Flow

PPM Range: Varies based on the location and upstream activities.

Mineral Content: Depends on the geology and pollution levels of the water source.

River or stream water is a potential option, but caution is advised due to possible pollutants. Conducting water tests, especially in areas downstream from industrial or agricultural activities, ensures the health and safety of your plants.

Reverse Osmosis Water: The Pure Elixir

PPM Range: Extremely low.

Mineral Content: Virtually absent due to the filtration process.

Reverse osmosis (RO) water, produced by a filtration process that removes impurities and minerals, offers an exceptionally low ppm and almost zero mineral content. Ideal for precise control over the nutrient composition in hydroponic systems or for plants that are sensitive to minerals.

Bottled Water: A Convenient Choice

PPM Range: Typically low.

Mineral Content: Depends on the brand; may contain added minerals.

Bottled water, though convenient, may not be the most sustainable choice. Ensure you check the label for ppm and mineral content, and opt for options without added minerals if using bottled water for your garden.


In the intricate tapestry of gardening, water is the vital thread that weaves the success of your plants. Each water source, whether tap water, well water, rainwater, river/stream water, reverse osmosis water, or bottled water, contributes unique characteristics to your gardening journey. Armed with knowledge about ppm and mineral content, you can now make informed decisions to create a flourishing garden. So, let the waters flow, embracing the diversity of sources to nurture your plants and witness the beauty of a thriving garden.