Many people have potted plants and live in an area where it rains periodically. Everyone knows that plants need water, but can you leave potted plants outside in the rain?

Potted plants can be left in the rain so they get the rainwater that contains oxygen, minerals, and nutrients. The rainwater cleans dust and toxic materials from the foliage. The rainwater helps flush out salts from the potting soil.

Now that you know that you should leave potted plants in the rain, you are likely wondering how long you should leave them in the rain and what will happen if you leave them out for too long. Keep reading to find out.

Should I leave potted plants in the rain?

You should leave potted plants in the rain because they get the purest form of water that contains a high amount of oxygen and minerals. The rainwater will also help clean the plant’s leaves and flush salt deposits from the potting soil.

Make sure the pots have drainage holes in the bottom so the excess rainwater will flow out. Otherwise, it can lead to overwatering that damages the plant’s roots causing root rot.

Before leaving your potted plant in the rain, make sure that its soil isn’t super dense and drains well. If your plant is in soil with plenty of perlite, you won’t have to worry about overwatering.

You should periodically leave your potted plants out in the rain because the rain washes away any dust accumulated on the leaves. If you don’t leave your plants in the rain, you have to get a spray bottle and use a damp paper towel to remove the dust, which is time-consuming.

Leaving your plants in the rain is much easier. If you remove the dust from the leaves, your plants will thrive because they will absorb more sunlight than before. The leaves will also look shiny and have an aesthetic appeal.

Before you leave your potted plant outside in the rain, check the conditions. If there are harsh winds and the temperature is forecasted to drop dramatically, don’t leave your potted plant outside as it will likely become damaged or frozen.

It depends entirely on the plant, indoor plans, are indoor plants and shouldn’t be left outside. For example, if you leave a Clivia outside you’ll end up damaging it, as it doesn’t thrive in those conditions.Before you leave any potted plant in the rain you should check how often they’re watered, and the amount of time in the sun they need. We often forget that our plants originate from all around the world, and all have different needs. – Henry Scott, Garden Designer, 

I asked 100+ gardeners to share their experience of keeping potted plants in the rain. 92.3% of gardeners had a positive experience with leaving their plants in the rain.

A warm shower of rain is a superb method to wash a plant’s leaves and gently flush the salt and chemical residue from the potting soil.  Rainwater does not contain salts, chemicals, or chlorine and is free of fluoride. The oxygen level of rainwater is higher, and the naturally occurring nitrates and other nutrients help reenergize and refresh potted plants. – Susan Betz, Honorary Master Gardener and Author, Herbal Houseplants Grow Beautiful Herbs Indoors

How long should I leave potted plants in the rain?

You can leave potted plants in the rain for 1-2 days without causing any harm to them, but you should take your potted plants inside after 1-2 hours in the rain to avoid overwatering, especially if the rain is heavy.

Most potted plants can be left in the rain with little problems as long as they’re given the chance to dry out the soil afterward. A little bit or even a medium bit of rain isn’t a bad thing, but a lot of rain day after day will drown your plant. Potted plants have less space and soil to disperse and drain water when it rains, so heavy rain may be too much for your plant. Rainwater is healthier for plants than tap water. It is more oxygenated, meaning it’ll help plants grow faster than tap water. The rain will also help keep the soil fresh, and it saves you on time and money when you don’t have to use your own water. – Zach from LoveFromOurBackyard

Should I leave potted plants in heavy rain?

You should not leave potted plants in heavy rain because the large water drops may damage the plant leaves. The excess water may cause overwatering. It may wash away nutrients from the potting soil or erode the soil itself.

Should I water potted plants after leaving them in the rain?

You should not water your potted plants after leaving them in the rain because they would have received sufficient rainwater. Watering the potted plants can lead to overwatering conditions that cause root rot and damage the roots.

How to tell if plants are overwatered after rain

Once the rain stops, you can check the potting soil for signs of waterlogging. If you see water pooling on the topsoil in your potted plant or see residue on the sides of the pots that your plants are in, then you have overwatered them and need to avoid watering them until the soil is nearly completely dry.

Potted plants don’t need to have constantly wet soil to thrive. Most plants prefer to be underwatered rather than overwatered, and most plants don’t need as much water as you expect. When watering your potted plants, add water until it runs through the drainage holes.

Don’t water your potted plants until the top few inches of soil are completely dry, especially if you have a plant that prefers to have a small amount of water. Different plants require a different amount of water, and some can go long periods without being watered. When you purchase a potted plant, check to see how frequently it needs to be watered.

Overall, you should leave your potted plants out in the rain so they can be watered with highly oxygenated water, but you shouldn’t leave them out for days or weeks on end. Leave it out for a few hours, at max 1-2 days, and then put it back where you usually have your potted plant.

Make sure your potted plant gets plenty of sunshine, but make sure the leaves are dry before putting your potted plant in direct sunlight as water droplets on leaves while a plant is in direct sunlight may cause the leaves to burn, especially if you leave it in direct sunlight for hours on end.

You can absolutely leave a container pot out in the rain as long as the pot has drainage holes. However, leaving a potted plant in the rain that doesn’t have adequate drainage is a quick way to kill your plant. Since you can’t control the amount of water the plant receives, the pot can easily become waterlogged causing root rot. I always make sure my outdoor container pots have plenty of drainage holes so I can take advantage of any rain in the forecast. It cuts down on the hand watering I have to do and saves on our water bill too! – Haeley Giambalvo, Owner, Native Backyards

What are the problems potted plants can face due to overwatering?

If your potted plants are overwatered, they become waterlogged and likely die. Waterlogging happens when the soil around the roots of a plant becomes oversaturated with water, and the water doesn’t evaporate quickly because of the amount of water there is.

Waterlogged plants often have:

  • Brown leaf tips
  • Yellow leaves
  • Start to wilt
  • Leaves falling off
  • Weeds
  • Root rot
  • Foul smell emanating off of them
  • Pests
  • Diseases
  • Algae
  • Discolored roots

Waterlogged potted plants die or start developing diseases because they are being deprived of oxygen. Various gasses are being trapped in the soil because of the high water content. Waterlogged potted plants also become deprived of nutrients because they can’t absorb nutrients from the soil very well.

Waterlogged potted plants often have pests around them because they are weak, and pests see them as easy snacks that are vulnerable to attack but still have plenty of nutrients that will help them survive. 

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