Is rainwater really good for my plants?

Is rainwater really good for my plants?

By Lucy Nguyen

Is rainwater really good for my plants?

Why is rainwater good for my plants?

I often read post on social media asking if rain water is really that good for their plants and if there is a difference.  Before I was able to collect rainwater for my plants, I didn't know what I was missing. Now that I have experienced it, it really hard to go back. There really isn't anything better than rainwater. Let's look at some of the benefits. 

It is significantly less harsh than tap water.
Rain water is considered to be "soft" compared to tap water, which is generally "hard". Soft water means it is free from any additives (e.g. salt, minerals), chemical and/or pharmaceuticals often found in municipal water. When hard water is used, salt and chemicals will build up in the soil over time and will be tough on plants. When plants are potted, the accumulation of these minerals are more concreted which is why it is recommended to flush out your soil with rainwater or softer water to keep the pH level balanced.
    It acts as a natural fertilizer.

    If you collect rainwater in any sort of container (like a bucket), the rainwater  will have traces of organic materials. Though rainwater is clean (and should run clear), when it ends up in your container(s), it has already been exposed to materials found on rooftops such as leaf litter, pollen and/or bird droppings, which is great for your plants. These are all beneficial to plants which has a similar effect to you lightly fertilizing your plants.

    Rainwater is more acidic.
    Rainwater is naturally more acidic. Plants often prefer soil pH level to be between 5.5 and 6.5 (pH 7 is neutral); which is exactly the pH range of rainwater. Tap water is more alkaline in order to prevent pipes from corroding and can have a pH level of 8.5 and upwards. Why is pH level important? It helps determine what nutrients are available to your plants.               

     

    Plants need nitrates in order to thrive, which is found in nitrogen. Nitrogen helps in the development of foliage. Nitrates is a combination of nitrogen and oxygen molecules. 

    What about snow? 
    Snow provides the same benefits as rainwater. To use it, let it melt and reach room temperature before using.

    Once you give your plants a good drink of rainwater, you will notice that the leaves will have a nice shine to them compared to those that are grown indoors and only receive tap water.

    Below are before and after images of succulents that were left outdoors and watered with rain water.

            After two week left outside
    Before                                       After
    E. Diamond State grown indoors under grow lights. The succulent is struggling and looking pretty sad. After two weeks of being left outside, thought the colour may not be as intense, you can see the leaves looks more plump and there is a nice shine to it. 
           
    Before                                   After 
    E. Red Duke Echeveria cv Takasagono Okina. Colour is very dull and looks dry compared to how it looks after it has been outside and given rainwater.   
    E. Red Duke looks healthy, lush with a nice shine to it. 

    Though the "stress colours" may be gone or faded, the overall health of the plant has improved dramatically. 

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