Ask The Expert: Can You Put Your Houseplants in the Rain?

Ask The Expert: Can You Put Your Houseplants in the Rain?

Do houseplants like being in the rain? Ask The Expert about watering this way.
Is it safe to put your houseplants out in the rain? Will they like it?

Horticulture expert, Justin Hancock, answers questions for new plant parents. 

QUESTION: Do you remember that scene in the iconic movie “Singing in the Rain” when Gene Kelly is happily dancing, swinging off a light post, smiling in the pouring rain? Do houseplants feel the same way when they are placed in the rain?

JUSTIN: A gentle rain will wash off the leaves if they’re a bit dusty. And that’s always nice. Also rainwater is natural, so it doesn’t have any chemicals that might be in your tap water, especially if you have a high amount of fluoride.

QUESTION: Are there downsides of rain? Such as the temperature and intensity?

JUSTIN: Yes, the temperature of the rain is important. Consider the temperature and the time of year. (Remember, houseplants are from warm tropical regions of the world.) And if there’s a chance of strong winds (or hail), there could be damage to your houseplant that way. In a lot of areas of the country, you can’t count on the rain to be gentle.

QUESTION: And if there is an excessive amount of rain?

JUSTIN: Just like watering indoors, excess water should be able to drain. If the pot is in a cachepot without drainage holes, it will fill up with rainwater. And that’s not good for the roots of the plant. The other consideration is light.

QUESTION: Like if you set a plant outside on your patio for a rain shower and forget to bring it back indoors after the rain shower is over?

JUSTIN: Yes, houseplants don’t like change. If you set them out in the rain and forget to bring them back in, when the sun comes out, it could burn the leaves. Especially for plant species that don’t like direct sunlight. If you love the idea of rainwater, you could gather rainwater and just water your plants with it indoors. That works too!

Read more about watering plants.

Written by Karen Weir-Jimerson