What kind of water do my plants want?
December 7, 2006 10:22 AM   Subscribe

What water temperature do indoor plants prefer to drink?

I tend to anthropomorphize things, so I usually give them what I'm craving - cold water in the summer, warmer water in the winter. I've never stopped to think about this... until now.
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Indoor plants want room-temperature water. They can go into a light shock if the water is to hot or too cold.
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:28 AM on December 7, 2006

Room temperature. It's most "comfortable" for the plant.
posted by amro at 10:30 AM on December 7, 2006

cowbellemoo : "Indoor plants want room-temperature water. They can go into a light shock if the water is to hot or too cold."

As do outdoor plants, since they have no choice short of surviving whatever temperature the "room" decides to assume. But outdoor plants are usually less sensitive to temperature variations.

As everyone said, your indoor plants will have their water at room temperature.
posted by nkyad at 10:56 AM on December 7, 2006

Right. This is why we cover sensitive plants in the garden for the first frost. Sudden changes are more harmful than gradual ones.

You can put many indoor plants outside in the summertime, as long as you only take them out for a little while to begin with before you leave them outside all the time.

Temperature (generally) affects how a plant respirates, absorbs water, and grows new cells. Their metabolism can be very tricky, and sudden changes in environment can upset these processes -- usually just delaying them. If you grew two plants next to each other, the one with cold waterings would be a little shorter than one with room temperature water. Flowering plants or bonsai would exhibit very real symptoms, however.

Don't think you're being harmful, bb. If room-temp water is too much of a hassle just forget about it -- the plants are much better off with cold water than with no water at all!
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2006

Also realize that most indoor plants are from the tropics originally, where rainfall is always fairly warm.

I use this simple rule of thumb, as I'm too lazy to leave water out to come to room temperature: I run the water so it feels just barely cool, not cold on my hand, then use that.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:14 PM on December 7, 2006

When I draw a pitcher of water for watering plants, I always let it sit uncovered for a while. Not only does this let the water temp move towards room temperature, but it also lets things like chlorine evaporate from the water.
posted by browse at 2:39 PM on December 7, 2006

Plants are going to soak up moisture from their roots, through the soil. This doesn't happen instantly, so likely unless you're using an extremely warm or cold temperature the water absorbed by the plant is around room temperature anyway since the soil will absorb or provide heat energy to whatever water you pour in.
posted by mikeh at 2:44 PM on December 7, 2006

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