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Is Rain Water Better For Plants?

Rain water pours off a roof.

Gardeners and plant parents are always on the lookout for how to best nourish and care for their beloved plants. Your watering routine plays a big role here. But when it comes to watering, there’s an ongoing debate: is rainwater better for your plants than tap water?

The answer depends on a few factors. There are pros and cons to both water sources, so the best water for your plants depends on your hydration situation.

Keep in mind that collecting rainwater for your plants isn’t legal everywhere. In some areas, that runoff is crucial to keeping the surrounding environment hydrated. Make sure you don’t attempt to collect rainwater in restricted regions.

However, if you live in an area where collecting rainwater is permitted, there are a few things you want to consider before choosing it over tap water.

50-Gallon Heavy-Duty Outdoor Home Rain Catcher Barrel

This rain catcher barrel can help make your off-grid gardening dreams come true.

Tap water is super easy to access, which is its main advantage. If you choose to use it for the convenience, make sure you consider where your tap water comes from. 

In many cases, tap water is regularly tested and conforms to safety standards. In other locations, it may have high levels of chlorine, lead, and other compounds that will damage your plants. Remember that you can always filter or boil your tap water to make it safe for plant watering.

A great reason to use rainwater for your plants is to conserve water and lower your water bill. Rainwater also tends to have higher levels of nitrogen when compared to tap water which is good for your plants.

In most cases, rainwater is free from the harmful chemicals often found in tap water. When you use rainwater, you avoid these chemicals altogether and don’t have to worry about filtering or boiling them out. This is a big reason why rainwater is often considered better than tap.

Qipade 8.3FT Lotus Rain Chain

This stunning rain chain will be the perfect addition to your home garden.

Keep in mind that rainwater does have its disadvantages. The way you collect your rainwater has a big impact on how safe it is for your plants.

Only collect rainwater using clean containers to avoid spreading bacteria. You should also ensure your containers stay covered at all times, or else you risk debris collecting and mosquito colonies moving in. Pay special attention to the material of your rainwater collector since some plastics create damaging gasses.

To safely harness the power of rainwater, consider using rain chains. These are a beautiful alternative to traditional downspouts, adding both functionality and aesthetic appeal to your garden. They allow you to harvest and utilize this precious resource for your plants.

In the end, rainwater tends to be more nourishing for your plants when collected in a safe, legal way. However, tap water still works well when the chemicals are removed. Remember that the most important thing is to keep your plants happy and hydrated.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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