Thursday, October 29, 2009

Of Microwaves and African Violets . . .

Someone told me of a story circulating on the internet about the health hazards of heating water, coffee, infant formula, and baby food in the microwave oven. The proof offered for the theory was that a plant had died almost immediately after being watered with microwaved water. Easy enough to test.

I bought two nearly identical African violet plants, both in full bloom, one with purple flowers, the other with pink. They were in identical 4-inch green plastic pots from the same grower, presumably in the same soil, $3.99 each. The leaves were the same color, size, variety, and both plants looked robust and healthy.

I filled two pyrex measuring cups with filtered water from the same faucet, heated one for two minutes on full power in the microwave, let them both sit overnight while the heated water cooled to room temp. In the morning, I labeled one plant FILTERED ONLY, the other FILTERED, MICROWAVED, and watered them accordingly. After allowing them to drain in the sink, I put both plants in the same basket on the kitchen table, in identical conditions of light, temp, and air. As near as I can manage it, the conditions are controlled to be identical, except for the water.

I've been following this watering routine, all other conditions being equal, for three months, from July to October, and as near as I can tell, both plants are still hearty and thriving. Both lost their flowers within two months. The purple flowers of the "filtered only" plant withered first, but the pink of "microwaved" water followed soon after, and I can't be certain that wasn't due to a difference between the pink & purple floweres, or to how long they had been in bloom at time of purchase.

I will report again in a few months, but so far, the microwaved water has had no apparent negative effects on the African violet it waters. If anything, that plant has grown larger. dkm


Ellen said...

I always like it when someone takes the time to scientifically test some possibly bogus internet claim. Thanks Ms. Spectator! And Happy Birthday!

dkm said...

Thank you!