Is Rusty Water Good Or Bad For Plants?

Plants need many various vitamins and minerals to grow well. one such mineral is iron, which is vital for healthy plant growth. Many believe that extra iron can be added to plants by watering them with rusty water, but is rusty water good or bad for plants? 

Rusty water is not good or bad for plants. The iron in rusty water will neither help nor hinder plants, as the iron from rust can not be metabolized efficiently by plants. Too much rusty water may be bad for plants over time by oversaturating the soil with iron.

Water that contains rust is not particularly beneficial to plants, but neither is it particularly damaging. Let’s find out what the benefits and drawbacks are of exposing plants to rusty water.

Is Rusty Water Good For Plants?

Rust is mostly comprised of iron oxide. This is a by-product of the break down of metal that has been exposed to moisture and oxygen over time.

Iron is among the most essential minerals for all plants that help with many processes within the plant, including plant growth. For this reason, many gardeners have attempted to boost the iron content of their soil by watering their plants with rusty water, but is this endeavor good for plants?

Rusty water is not very beneficial for plants, as the iron that is introduced into the soil can not be effectively used by the plants.

This is simply because plants do not absorb iron in this way. Simply introducing more iron into the soil does not mean that the plants will use more iron for growth and productivity.

Plants will use as much iron as they need from the soil around them, and adding more may not be beneficial at all.

Plants that require more iron do not need an iron supplement, but they rather need help to absorb the iron that is already present in the soil.

That being said, rusty water is not particularly good for plants. In fact, using too much rusty water may ultimately damage the plants that are exposed to it, but only after a long time of using it.

Using rusty water to water your plants will not give them the bost that many say it will, but neither will it cause any significant harm to the plants.

This means that while rusty water is not especially good for plants and does not bring many benefits apart from the water itself, it is safe to use rusty water on plants.

Is Rusty Water Bad For Plants?

Rusty water is not especially good for plants, but it will not cause any significant damage to plants either.

If you find yourself with plants that have been exposed to rusty water, either by rusty water being poured over them or if they have accidentally been planted in a receptacle or planter that contains rusted metal, do not be concerned.

The rust is mostly iron oxide, which is not a mineral that is harmful to plants, even in moderate amounts. Rusty water will not damage plants.

The iron particles in rust are too large to be absorbed by the plants, and they are not water-soluble, which means that they will not be dissolved in water.

This means that the rust will not be damaging to any plants. Any damage that may occur from rusty water will be to oversaturate the soil with iron over time, which may cause harm, but exposing plants to rust will not cause any immediate damage.

One problem with plants being exposed to rusty water is potential contaminants from where the rust came from. Surprisingly, rust is very absorbent. This means that it may have absorbed some harmful chemicals or elements from its previous use.

For example, if a metal container, such as a can, is being used as a planter, even if it has been thoroughly cleaned, if it contains rust, it may contain contaminants from whatever was stored in it previously.

The rust would have absorbed some of the previous contents, and this could be lethal for plants if the contents were something like oil or paint.

It is crucial to ensure that any rust that may be exposed to plants has not come from a source that could be potentially damaging to plants in any way.

If the rust is safe and free of contaminants, then rusty water will not be bad for plants.

Should You Use Rusty Water For Plants?

There is an old garners tale that says that using rusty water will give your plants a good boost in growth if you use it to water your plants.

The truth is, this is nothing more than a tale. Using rusty water for your plants will not give them a boost, but neither will it cause them significant harm.

The only benefit that the plants will receive is from the water itself. The iron in rusty water is not beneficial to plants because of its size and composition, and almost every type of soil in the world contains more than enough iron to sustain the plants that grow in it naturally.

If your plants are iron deficient, supplementing them with rusty water is not the solution. The solution is to remedy the pH balance of the soil the plants are in, as soil that is too alkaline will prevent plants from absorbing the iron that they need from the soil.

It is not advisable to use rusty water for your plants for these reasons, as it will not benefit the plants, and the rust may cause damage to the soil over time.


At the end of it, rusty water is neither particularly good nor particularly bad for plants.

The amount of iron that plants may receive from being watered with rusty water is very minimal, and the rust may build up in the soil over time which will cause harm to any plants that are kept in it, but this will take years.

If your plants need iron, make sure they are able to absorb it from the soil rather than supplementing it with rusty water!


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