I Found a Free Fix for My Unhappy Houseplants
They interfere with swim lessons and soccer practice, but thunderstorms are one of my favorite things about living in Florida. A welcome break from stifling temperatures and oppressive humidity in the summer, they hide the sun and soak a landscape that can’t help but grow lushly. When we added a covered porch on to our house, a big reason was so that we could sit outside during the welcome weather that usually rolls around a few afternoons a week.
This past summer, I discovered a new “use” for our storms, one that has me feeling like a resourceful plant lady. It started when I decided to try one last thing to revive my shriveled, limp Christmas cactuses. In a last-ditch effort to save them from the thank you-but-goodbye pile, I set them out as the rain began to fall. While I was at it, I set out the other plants that grace my office space. It worked so well in bringing my brink-of-death-plants back to life that plant rain baths are now a thing at our house.
Here’s why it works so well (a few things I realized in hindsight):
- Rain water is a treat for plants. Some plants are sensitive to the minerals contained in hard water, and even if they aren’t, over time the hard water can leave a deposit in the soil.
- Plants love a “sky view.” Setting them outside to bask in the light (even during a rainstorm) cheers them up. For real. You can see how perky they get.
You might wonder how I coordinate my watering schedule with the weather forecast, and the short answer is, I don’t. The longer answer is that when rain is coming (I know either from the forecast or from looking at the sky or feeling the air with my Floridian senses), I put out the plants that could benefit from a thirst-quencher. I determine whether they need watering just like I would with a watering can in my hand: by sticking my finger in the soil or lifting up the inner pot to see how light it is. Any plant that’s dry or even dry-ish gets to take a rain bath field trip. And they come back home so, so happy.