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Hard/Soft Water

...what's the difference?

What is hard water?

"Hard" water simply means water with a high concentration of dissolved minerals - mostly Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Carbonate. It is not harmful to health, but it does have implications for your plants.

Hard water in the UK

Around two thirds of the UK has hard mains water. Broadly speaking, most of England - particularly the South-East - has hard water. Scotland, Wales, Devon, Cornwall and North-West England generally have softer water.

How do I tell if I have hard water?

You've probably already noticed if you do! Hard water is poor at forming a lather, so you need to use more soap, shampoo, detergent and so on in hard water. Hard water also leaves limescale on shower heads, taps, basins, kettles and other items that regularly come into contact with it.

What does hard water mean for my plants?

Regularly watering with hard water will tend to raise the pH of the soil or growing media, especially in containers (in open soil, the effect is somewhat counteracted by rainfall). This can be a problem for acid loving plants like Petunias and Azaleas, and you may do well to keep an eye on the soil pH with something like a soil pH meter or pH test kit.

Many nutrients and fertilisers come in specific formulations for hard water, and these are greatly preferred to generic formulations in this case.

Emerald City carries Ionic and Tomato Focus in Hard Water formulations, and we hope to add more to our range soon.