You are here:

Carnivorous Plants/Water for plants


QUESTION: Is the water in Bay Area pure enough for carnivorous plants

ANSWER: Hi Eric,

There's two ways you can find that out.  The first is to go to your water bureau's website and look at their EPA water quality report.  Be sure to know what source your house is actually from since some water supplies come from multiple sources.  Look for the total dissolved solids (TDS) of your water.  If it's 50 parts per million or less, you're fine.  Above that, you should probably use rainwater, distilled water, or water purified by reverse osmosis.

The other way to see if your water is appropriate for carnivorous plants is to test it yourself.  Aquarium stores have various kits and test strips that can do it.  If you bring in a sample, many stores will test it for you.  Another easy way is to buy a Zero Water filter pitcher.  Those come with a TDS meter, and Zero Water takes everything out of your water, making it the only filter pitcher that will render hard water safe for cp.

My understanding of the bay area water is that the Hetchy Hetchy system has very soft water when it's coming from the reservoirs.  However, since you are in drought conditions, they are probably using wells, and the water could be fairly hard.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks, but when I went to the website and typed in the search box 'epa water quality report'. I clicked on it and I couldn't find the TDS thing. Can you help me find it? My water district is Alemeda County Water District.

Hi Eric,

Here's the page:  Open the pdf on most recent water quality report.  Look at secondary water quality section.  You'll see the total dissolved solids line.  You just need to figure out what water you are.   From what I saw, I'd say you're water is too hard.  

That may change once CA gets more rain.  That ZeroWater filter could be really helpful.  They are often worth it just for the TDS meter.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest  

Carnivorous Plants

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Sarracenia Northwest


If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

Before submitting your question, please read their care guides on their main website. Many issues can be addressed by simply adjusting your growing conditions as recommended in the care guides. Click here to read the care guides.

Over 8,800 questions answered since 2005!


Jeff and Jacob are owners and growers of Sarracenia Northwest. They've been in business since 1995. Watch their professionally produced DVDs, Grow Carnivorous Plants. It is a three-volume set that covers all aspects of carnivorous plant care. They literally show you how to be a successful grower!


No terrariums. No myths. No nonsense.
Just the straight facts from guys who grow and propagate
thousands of carnivorous plants each year.

Our focus is to help help growers diagnose a specific plant problem and offer solutions. For example:
  • Why is my sundew not producing dew?
  • Is now a good time to divide my Sarracenia?
  • Why are the traps turning black?
  • What's a good substitute for perlite?
  • Why didn't my seeds germinate?
  • How do you deal with pests?
  • Can you identify this carnivorous plant for me?
We no longer answer general, how-to questions that are already posted on our website or demonstrated in our DVDs. For general plant care, please read our care guides:

For business questions:

Youtube Facebook
Follow us on Youtube and Facebook!

©2016 All rights reserved.