Is Rainwater Better For Houseplants

The fact that rainwater is the best type of water for plants may not come as a surprise. Imagine your thirsty plants being drenched in drops straight from the sky, with their leaves carefully directing the bounty down stalks and into the soil, where it will be most helpful to the roots.

Why is rainfall such a popular source of water? There are actually four reasons, not just one:

Rainwater is soft water in its entirety. Rainwater is pure hydration because it is devoid of the salts, minerals, treatment chemicals, and medications that can be found in municipal water, groundwater, and surface water. Your soil gradually accumulates salts and chemicals, and these residues are difficult for plants to grow in. In potted plants where the accumulation is more obvious, this impact is accentuated. Rainwater can help remove harmful contaminants from your soil and restore its health.

  • Naturally, rainwater has a slight acidity. Most organically grown plants like soil pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5, as green gardeners are aware. This is within the natural pH range for rainwater because it is on the acidic side of the neutral pH scale of 7. On the other hand, city water is treated to be alkaline and can have a pH level as high as 8.5 to prevent metal pipes from corroding. Greywater, or used water from a washing machine, shower, or bathroom sink, has the same pH as tap water when it first enters your home, but depending on the types of soaps and detergents it contains, it may reach a pH as high as 10.5 once it reaches your garden. Use rainwater for irrigation to clean the soil and maintain the ideal pH level over time.

A gravity-fed drip irrigation system connected to this 6-barrel BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment SystemTM irrigates a front yard that conserves water.

Organic materials can be found in rainfall that has been stored. Rainwater may contain small amounts of organic matter if it is gathered from your rooftop. The water has been exposed to anything on your roof even though it is quite clean and should flow clear. We’re just talking about direct contact exposure to things like pollen, bird droppings, leaf litter, and the like; these are pre-filtered away on their way into correctly fitted rain barrels (which perhaps not surprisingly are great for your plants). A rain barrel contains helpful organisms that keeps the water physically alive. It resembles lightly applying fertilizer each time you wet.

  • Nitrates are a significant macronutrient found in rain. Nitrate, the most bio-available type of nitrogen, is present in rainwater. One of the three essential macronutrients that plants require to survive is nitrogen, which is required for the growth of lush foliage. In reality, many types of nitrogen cannot be taken by plants. Nitrogen and oxygen combine to generate nitrates, which are designed by nature for optimal plant uptake. Most of the nitrates that plants consume come from the soil. What about the source of the nitrates? Rain!

On a personal note, I never thought I’d be able to maintain a home plant alive until I learned about rainwater. I had a little bit better luck outside in the garden, but little did I know that the potted plants were actually suffering from the excessive alkalinity, mineral, chemical, and salt accumulation in the tap water. I then discovered how to water with rainwater. I irrigate my potted plants and nursery beginnings with rainwater that I directly collect in my rain barrels and pour into a watering can. I can effortlessly apply rainfall to my in-ground garden thanks to a gravity-fed drip line. That makes such a difference, too. I now have a green thumb, but the secret is the water (shhh, don’t tell… rather, tell EVERYONE!).

At this house, two multi-barrel BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment SystemTM configurations maximize rainwater storage.

About the Author

Owner and founder of BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment Systems is Jesse Savou. Prior to changing careers and enrolling in a master’s program in Ecological Design at the Conway School in western Massachusetts, she received degrees in Linguistics and Spanish from Stanford. Jesse founded BlueBarrel and received her professional accreditation from the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association after constructing her first rainwater collection system as an AmeriCorps project during her post-graduate studies (ARCSA). Jesse recognizes rainwater harvesting as one of many steps to bring our homes into harmony with the capacity of the earth to thrive. He is also a certified Permaculture Designer, graduate of the Ecosa Institute’s intensive course in Sustainable Design, and fellow of Sonoma County’s Leadership Institute for Ecology & the Economy.

Is rainfall more beneficial for plants than tap water?

In addition to being a cost-effective way to water your plants, collecting rainwater from gutters and downspouts into a rain barrel also aids in protecting the greenhouse’s structure.

In addition, because rainwater is not chlorinated like tap water is to make it safe for drinking, it is excellent for plants. Additionally, rainfall is soft and includes nitrogen during thunderstorms, which is crucial for plant growth.

How long can rainwater be stored for indoor plants?

The advantages of using rainwater for plants are probably well known to you, but how long can you store it before putting it on your plants?

Rainwater usually gets contaminated after a week or so. By preventing it from coming into contact with animals and insects as well as light, you can extend its life indefinitely.

Do vegetation enjoy rainwater?

Because it doesn’t need to be treated before use, rainwater is seen as an alternative supply of water. There are no chemicals in it. Sediment may be present, but plants are not at risk from this.

Nitrogen in the form of nitrates, which plants utilize to grow green, lush foliage, is provided by rainwater when it is used to irrigate plants. Rainwater has a pH between 6.26 to 6.8, which allows soil minerals to be released for plant nutrition. Plants in gardens and inside can both benefit from rainwater irrigation.

It depends on how it is gathered, stored, and applied to plants to determine whether or not it will be an excellent free source of water for your plants.

What kind of water is ideal for indoor plants?

Maybe you’re unsure whether tap water is safe for your plants. It depends, is the succinct response. Unless it has been softened, most tap water should be fine for your houseplants. Softened water contains salts, though, which can accumulate in the soil over time and cause issues. Although most houseplants can tolerate chlorinated water, a filtration system is far better for your plants. Rainwater collection is an additional choice.

Do plants require filtered rainwater?

Although rainwater is preferable to underground water for plants, the biggest worry is the presence of pollutants. It is not recommended to utilize rainwater to grow plants without first filtering it because our air is contaminated with a number of dangerous pollutants like carbon monoxide, arsenic, and other acids.

One of the problems that could end up harming plants is acid rain. Therefore, it would be preferable to employ a suitable filtering system before using rainwater for agricultural applications. Additionally, it will guarantee that the plants you grow are safe to eat.

Can I use rainwater I collect for plants?

Naturally, you’ll want to know if rainwater is good for your plants before you start collecting it. In actuality, using rainwater for gardening is not only advantageous but also suggested. This is due to the fact that this water, which is the purest kind of water, has no salts or minerals in it.

Rainwater is one of the best sources of hydration for your plants since it is so pure. If you gather enough of it, you may use it to water your houseplants for a very long period. It is also excellent for indoor plants.

Is roof rainwater suitable for plants?

Roof runoff serves several purposes outside. On lawns and decorative gardens, it is safe to use, unless the zinc content is especially high. Use it to clean patios, sidewalks, decks, outdoor furniture, and vehicles. It can also be used to thoroughly moisten the ground around your vegetable crop. This prevents irrigation water from wicking away from the veggies in the garden’s dry soil.

Why does rain make plants appear greener?

WMC – MEMPHIS, TN You are not seeing things if you observe that the grass appears greener after a shower.

Rain makes lawns appear greener for a variety of reasons, but nitrogen is one of the primary ones.

More water is accessible to plants in the soil after a rainstorm. In addition to absorbing that water, plants also absorb nitrogen from the organic matter in the soil.

Smaller roots of growing plants die and are replaced by new roots. During this process, the dead roots will decompose.

Chemical substances primarily made of carbon, but also include some nitrogen, make up the roots. The decomposition of dead roots can be triggered by carbon and nitrogen. A portion of the nitrogen is then returned to the soil when this happens.

In the end, nitrogen promotes growth and makes the world green. In a sense, rain fertilizes the grass by removing nitrogen from the air as it falls.

More nitrogen may be released if rainwater saturates the soil. The grass may benefit from the recently fallen rain since the water helps to flush the roots, which might enable the roots to absorb the new nitrogen and draw on the nitrogen that was already present.

Another explanation is the way that water interacts with light, which can give objects a darker appearance.

Can rainwater be used excessively by plants?

Rainfall is necessary for gardens, but too much can be harmful. Plants in gardens and landscapes can suffer from excessive rain or prolonged wetness.

Due to how frequently it threatens gardens, drought attracts a lot of attention. However, the consequences of excessive rainfall, which occurred over much of the country this summer, receive far less attention. The most immediate and evident issues are plants that wash away or decay in wet soil. However, a few more subtle, lingering, and protracted issues might also occur with excessive dampness.

Injured roots:

Some plants, such as carnations and other dianthus (Dianthus spp.), lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina), wormwood or artemisia (Artemisia spp.), lavender (Lavandula spp.), and lamb’s ears (Lavandula spp.) have minimal tolerance for wet soil and can die after just a day or two of sogginess. They actually accept drought. Some people are more adaptable. Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.), a variety of irises (Iris spp.), lilyturf, and mondo grass (Liriope spp. & Ophiopogon spp.) may not perish, but some of the roots may rot, placing the plant at danger of further difficulties, such as extreme heat, extreme cold, or a future dry spell. It may take months before damage or plant death manifests itself. The long-term result relies on the plant, how long it was submerged in water, and whether it avoids setbacks by growing new roots. The majority of evergreens with needles are particularly susceptible, however they usually take weeks or even months to turn brown and lose their needles. Consider how a Christmas tree maintains its green color even after being totally severed from its roots.

The rotting of plant roots in wet soil is the most evident and immediate result of excessive rain. Weigel, George

What to do:

Gardeners have few options when it comes to partial root damage. The answer is clear-cut: a. When planting in damp places, choose plants that can withstand the moisture. b. Create raised beds or incorporate compost into the soil before planting to improve drainage. b, After the fact, avoid walking on wet ground (that compacts it and makes it even more prone to future flooding). d. After the soil drains (2 to 3 is ideal), remove extra mulch from around plant stems and tree trunks, and keep the soil moist throughout any subsequent dry spells.

Disease issues:

A surplus of moisture causes extensive spotting, streaking, and disease-related browning of leaves, which is typically brought on by fungi that like warm, humid, or damp environments. The good news is that although they may appear unhealthy and/or lose leaves early, plants often “grow despite most leaf diseases.” If a tree or shrub loses leaves early this year or if a perennial plant turns brown, yellow, or wilts back to the ground, don’t assume it has died. Check to see if the plants and branches produce new growth in the spring of the following year. Rake any unhealthy or falling leaves in the garbage, not on the compost pile, in the interim. That will get rid of most disease spores that might infect the plant again the following year. Diagnose the specific issue (Cooperative Extension offices are helpful) and, if necessary, take into account a fungicide or other form of control, especially if you suspect a more serious issue or have a low tolerance for harm.

Molds and mushroom:

Although lawns are typically resistant to flooding, they are nevertheless susceptible to fungal diseases like rust, mildew, and others, just like any other plant. Again, unless the issue is serious and your tolerance is low, therapies are typically not required. Numerous mushroom-like growths can be seen on wet lawns, and damp mulched beds can develop slime mold, which appears as a yellow-orange growth before turning black. Although slime mold is safe for both people and animals, you can rake it off if you don’t like the way it looks. A few lawn mushrooms are poisonous, but the majority are not. If you are unsure, have animals or young children who might want to sample the growths, or both, remove them.

Yellow leaves:

Sometimes, rather than disease, leaves turn yellow or discolor due to a lack of nourishment. This frequently occurs following a period of heavy rain because the soil’s microorganisms that break down nutrients that nourish roots have become suffocated. Usually, this issue resolves itself, but if you notice plants that were vibrant and green before the rain now have a dull color, you might want to consider fertilizer treatment. Typically, iron and nitrogen-containing products work well.

Leaning trees:

Leaning trees are one of the worst post-soggy indicators. That’s a sign that the tree’s roots are deteriorating, probably as a result of a combination of moist soil that rotted roots and the pressure of wind and water on damp leaves. Large leaners should be evaluated by a tree expert as soon as possible, and in the interim, stay well away from them because they could fall at any moment. It’s worthwhile to try to save little, non-hazardous leaners by forcing them to stand up straight and staking them for up to a year.

Relocated soil:

If you haven’t already, look for dirt that eroded or was deposited elsewhere as a result of flooding, runoff, or significant downspout drainage. The exposing of tree and shrub roots due to erosion is a frequent concern. Before they dry out and perish, quickly recover any exposed roots. Restore the washed-out mulch or soil to its original location if at all possible. You’ll need to buy and replace it if not. Wash-away mulch and dirt can also be an issue, particularly if they are stacked up against the trunks of woody plants or are firmly buried over the roots. In contrast, adding 3 or more inches of soil or mulch all at once can have the same detrimental effects on roots as planting too deeply. Soil or mulch against trunks can damage the bark (i.e. death from lack of oxygen).

Installing a stone bed or a splash block at the base will reduce the force of water shooting out of downspouts. Weigel, George

Lessons learned:

Heavy rains offer helpful hints for averting future disaster. Find any depressions where water has been standing for days and fill them in with more dirt. Look for areas where extra, undesirable water was flowing, and fix them by constructing drain pipes, dry streambeds, or swales to transfer the water to a more advantageous location. Even better, think about incorporating a rain garden to collect and drain runoff rather than letting it wash away. These have the potential to be both beautiful and eco-friendly. Add a bed of stones or a splash block at the bottom of downspouts that blew mulch or soil into the yard to lessen the force. Remember to construct raised beds before planting in places with poor drainage or to only use plants that can survive occasional “wet feet.”