Have you ever wondered why container plants, and especially indoor plants, struggle to take off with all the care and attention, but one seed in a crack on the sidewalk can sprout into an unbothered plant even with all the harsh conditions?
The answer is the natural sources of water, soil, and environment.
Plants are hardier than we realize, which is why the right combination of the above is enough for them to thrive where they find nutrients.
To help your container plants thrive in a limited environment, you need to simulate the above conditions. That’s why plants need to get rainwater as often as they can.
Note that we said - as often as you can. Your plants will do fine with tap water (unless they’re sensitive to it) or any other water. However, during the spring and summer when it’s raining, gardeners should add rainwater to their watering schedule. If your container plants are not exposed to the sky, simply take out troughs and bowls and store them for future watering!
Watering with rainwater is a gardener’s secret weapon for healthy plants. Rainwater is the first source of water plants in the wild have come to depend on - no wonder they look so lush!
We’re all about facts, so here are some actual, science-based reasons why you should collect rainwater for container plants.
1. Rainwater carries electrolytes
Ions like sodium, bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, and more that container plants love are carried naturally by the rain. So, if you’ve ever felt like you don't have any luck growing a particular plant, start watering with rainwater for a difference.
2. It supplies nitrogen for greener leaves
Rainwater provides nitrogen to plants in the form of nitrates, the macronutrients that help plants to produce rich leafy foliage. Nitrogen in other forms cannot be absorbed by plants, but the nitrites in rainwater can!
3. Unlocks nutrients in the soil
Did you know rainwater is slightly acidic? Rainwater unlocks nutrients in your soil that tap water may not - without all the added fluoride, calcium, and sodium. This is even more important for container plants - rainwater helps the soil to fully absorb nutrients that might have not gotten deep into the container.
4. Rainwater is the perfect pH for plant growth
Plants grow at a pH between 5.5-6.6, and rainwater is acidic, as we’ve established, putting it at a pH of about 7. Tapwater and groundwater tend to be more alkaline, so watering with rainwater neutralizes the soil and allows your plants to enjoy the max growth benefits. Can you see why plants love rainwater?
5. It’s natural, so it’s the best!
Rainwater is soft water. That means that it contains no chlorine and fewer minerals that burn leaves, create salt sediments on soil and leaves, and cause roots to burn, unlike tap water.
One test for soft water is to try to make soap suds in the water. Soft water easily suds, but hard water (like tap water and groundwater) instead forms scum, the stuff nobody likes to see in their laundry water.
Apart from all the reasons here, there’s just something about the refreshing rain that has plants looking greener, fresher, and healthier after a shower.
Are you getting any rain in your part of the world? Collect some now to give your plants the best - water straight from heaven.