Purple Rain
Reclaimed Water and Plants

Purple Rain

The following information was adapted from study data provided by Dr. John Parnell of the City of St. Petersburg.

Pasco County's education program was developed to teach residents about reclaimed water.  For more information on Pasco's Purple Rain, please call (727) 847-8145 or e-mail www.pascocountyfl.net.

Reclaimed Water and Plants

Take care not to overwater your plants just because you're using reclaimed water.  Too much water can be detrimental to plant health.  Apply a maximum of 1 inch at each watering and water less often in winter than in summer.
Reclaimed water has higher levels of chloride salts than drinkable water.  Chloride concentrations in Pasco County's reclaimed water fall in the 100 to 400 ppm range.  On rare occasions, reclaimed water from the West Reclaimed Water Loop will rise above 400 ppm.  Most landscape plants will tolerate reclaimed water with chloride concentrations of 400 ppm or lower.  Some will tolerate even higher levels.  A few plants are totally intolerant of chloride.  Others will show leaf burn if the foliage is exposed to overhead irrigation with reclaimed water containing more than 100 ppm chloride.

When there is no rainfall to dilute the reclaimed water entering the system in a particular area, chloride levels can rise higher than normal.

Below are some of the plants included in studies conducted by the City of St. Petersburg in the late 1980s, grouped by their chloride tolerance.

No tolerance:
  • Azaleas (Rhododendron hybrids)
  • Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense)
Plants whose leaves may be damaged if exposed to overhead irrigation with reclaimed water:
  • Avocado (Persea americana)
  • Blue sage (Salvia farinacea)
  • Bleeding heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae)
  • Bugle weed (Ajuga repens)
  • Caladium (Caladium spp.)
  • Camellia (Camellia japonica)
  • Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
  • Downy jasmine (Jasminum multiflorum)
  • Gardenia (Gardenia spp.)
  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Ixora (Ixora spp.)
  • Maples (Acer spp.)
  • Marigold (Tagetes spp.)
  • Laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia)
  • Orchid tree (Bauhinia purpurea)
  • Passionflower (Passiflora spp.)
  • Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)
  • Peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia)
  • Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
  • Photinia, Red-leaf (Photinia glabra)
  • Powder puff tree (Calliandra haematocephala)
  • Rose (Rosa hybrids)
  • Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana)
  • Verbena (Verbena spp.)

Plants that can tolerate reclaimed water containing less than 400 ppm chlorida salts:
  • African iris (Dietes vegeta)
  • Alamanda (Alamanda spp.)
  • Banana (Musa acuminata)
  • Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
  • Canna lily (Canna generalis)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum X morifolium)
  • Citrus (orange, grapefruit, lime, lemon)
  • Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
  • Day lily (Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Fig (Ficus carica)
  • Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii)
  • Frangipani (Plumeria spp.)
  • Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • King & queen sago (Cycas spp.)
  • Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla)
  • Junipers (Juniperus chinensis & J. procumbens)
  • Ligustrum (Ligustrum Japonicum)
  • Liriope (Liriope muscari)
  • Palms
  • Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron williamsii)
  • Podocarpus (Podocarpus macrophylla)
  • Sandanqwa viburnum (Viburnum suspensum)
  • Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)

Plants that are completely tolerant of reclaimed water:
  • African daisy (Gamolepis chrysanthemoides)
  • Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus)
  • Begonia (Begonia spp.)
  • Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
  • Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis)
  • Burford holly (Ilex cornuta 'Burford')
  • Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum spp.)
  • Coontie (Zamia spp.)
  • Creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
  • Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
  • Indian hawthorn (Raphiolepis indica)
  • Dahoon holly (Ilex cassine)
  • Lantana (Lantana camara)
  • Live oak (Quercus virginiana)
  • Mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • Pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira)
  • Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)
  • Purple queen (Setcreasea pallida)
  • Sea grape (Coccolaba uvifera)
  • Sweet viburnum (V. odoratissimum)
  • Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera)
  • Wedelia (Wedelia triloba)
  • Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)

For more information on plants, contact BJ Jarvis at:

East:  (352) 521-4288
West:  (727) 847-8177, Ext. 4288
Central:  (813) 996-7341, Ext. 4288
or contact by e-mail bjjarvis@ufl.edu