Don’t let the rain dampen your spirits. This might be a wetter June than you hoped for but rainwater can be a welcome treat for your plants.
It’s true we bang on about overwatering, but many plants like a good soaking once they have dried out – think sudden tropical storm. Rainwater has a much higher degree of oxygen than the water we get from the tap, which gives you a bit more lee-way when it comes to overwatering. All houseplants have different needs so check our plant care hub before taking action, and let the feel of the soil be your number one guide.
Rain will also wash away any dust and debris that has built up on your plant’s foliage. Your plant’s leaves have tiny pores which allow them to absorb and expel gasses; an important part of photosynthesis. Anything that obstructs these pores will impede proper growth and your plant’s overall health.
Our tap water contains a whole host of salts and minerals, many of which are not welcome. If too much sodium and calcium carbonate build up in the soil, you’ll see tiny salt crystals form at the base of your pot. If these elements affect the roots, it can prevent your plant from absorbing water at all. Rainwater effectively dissolves these salts and unwanted minerals, improving your soil quality.
Finally, and significantly, the pH balance of rain in comparison to tap water – particularly HARD tap water – is far better suited to houseplants. The pH level of rain water is normally between 5 and 6, ie. on the acidic side of a balanced 7. Tap water in the UK is much closer to 8. Additionally, rainwater contains a diluted form of nitric acid, which is used to fertilise plants commercially – pop your plant in the rain and get it for free!
Before you put your entire plant collection outside, ask yourself the following questions:
Does your plant actually need watering?
Is it strong enough to withstand the wind and rain pressure?
Can my plant tolerate the temporary drop in temperature?
If the answer to either of these questions is no, then it might be better to collect rainwater and wait for it to get to room temperature, and give it to your green friend as needed.