Different types of liquid either help or hinder the transfer of nutrients into a plant, meaning that some liquids will help a plant grow faster and stronger while others may halt the growing process or even kill the plant altogether. Land-based plants have evolved to absorb rain or groundwater, so when introduced to other liquids, the plant may not be able to absorb or use the liquid properly.
Plants need water to convert the sun's light into energy for growth. Without water, the plant cannot transport nutrients and energy throughout its structure. When a plant's roots come into contact with water, the plant is designed to filter out any unneeded impurities and only absorb pure water. For this reason, watering a plant with sugary liquids only diminishes the amount of water the plant will absorb. The plant sees all of the water as an impurity, and it must exert energy to filter the water and absorb less than if the water was already pure.
Watering a plant with salt water also impedes the amount of water the plant can absorb. Salt naturally pulls the moisture out of the plant, which means that the plant will actually dehydrate when given only salt water.
According to a study conducted at Colorado University, giving a plant carbonated water for a short period of time will actually help the plant absorb more nutrients than it would with pure water. This will help stimulate plant growth. However, if the plant is given only carbonated water, it can absorb too many nutrients, and this can result in a negative effect.