I Found a Free Fix for My Unhappy Houseplants

updated Nov 9, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

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.