We all know that plants, especially succulents, love rain and hate the snow, but this statement isn’t exactly true. While plants do love rainwater, you can water them with melted snow too! If you live in a colder area that experiences snow, you don’t have to worry about missing out on that sweet rainwater in the winter months. Instead, melt your snow and use it!
Why use Snow and Rainwater?
One of the main reasons it’s great to melt snow and use it for watering succulents is because it’s about the same as rainwater. Although snow does not contain as many nutrients as rainwater does, it still has all that good stuff rainwater does. If you already water your succulents with rainwater, don’t worry about missing out during the winter months. Melted snow is a great substitute!
Benefits of Using Snow and Rainwater for your Succulents
Snow and rainwater are both great options for your succulents for many reasons, including:
1. An Eco-Friendly Way to Save Water
Getting water directly from the source (in this case, the sky) is a far more affordable way to water your plants than by using distilled water, and you won’t have to worry about your water bill increasing. If you live in an especially rainy or snowy area, this is doubly so.
2. Rainwater and Snow are 100% Soft
Unlike tap water, rain and snow are made of soft water, meaning they don’t have any extra and potentially dangerous minerals in them. Hard water contains small amounts of salt, treatment chemicals, and minerals like calcium and chlorine. While these things don’t pose harm to humans and most pets, plants are especially vulnerable to hard water deposits. Residue from hard water can actually build up on a plant’s roots, just like how it builds up in your sink. Using soft water (like rain or snow) is much easier on the roots, and it can potentially wash away any unwanted hard water chemicals in the soil.
3. Plants Love the Nutrients
Water from rain and snow is also filled with nutrients, including organic matter from decomposing plants. This acts as a multivitamin for your succulents, giving them a little boost alongside your fertilizing regimen. In addition, rainwater is naturally higher in acidity and can help boost acid levels in your soil so you can stay in that perfect 5.5-6.5 pH zone.
5. Rain and Snow Hold Nitrates
In addition to the nutrients from decomposing plant matter, rainwater and melted snow hold nitrates, an essential macro-nutrient plants use to grow. Nitrates, namely nitrous oxide, are an edible form of nitrogen that most plants can’t normally absorb and something that succulents love. Nitrates are what help your succulents retain water, resist disease, and stimulate root growth. Although melted snow does not contain the same amounts of nitrous oxide that rainwater does, the extra boost is sure to help!
How to Prepare your Snow for Watering
Before just dumping some snow onto your succulents, there are a few particular steps to making sure your snow is safe for them to drink:
1. Collecting Snow
First, make sure the snow you’re collecting is free of any salts, is purely white in color, and isn’t slushy. Excess salt or urine in the snow can and will mess with your end result, and both substances are great for killing plants. The best place to collect snow for your succulents is somewhere relatively untouched-- away from walkways or roads. If you have a backyard, consider harvesting your snow there. If you live in an apartment, try the roof if you can or a secluded place at your apartment complex.
2. Storage Options
If you’ve got a durable plastic bucket, that’s perfect! Collect your snow in a large bucket by simply picking it up and putting it in there. Be sure to fill the bucket about halfway to avoid spillage when it melts. You can store your snow bucket anywhere that’s out of the way: in your basement, by the front door, or right near your gardening supplies.
3. Let it Melt Completely
Before watering with melted snow, make sure that the snow is melted completely. The snow isn’t completely melted if you see any ice crystals or slushy residue in your bucket! Cold water can shock your succulent’s roots, damaging them like a shock causes nerve damage. Shocked roots aren’t as effective at absorbing water and nutrients from the soil and starve the plant.
Tips for Watering Succulents with Melted Snow
To get the most out of your melted snow, keep these tips in mind as well:
1. Be Patient!
Always let your water reach room temperature before watering your succulents. Cold water can cause lots of damage, so it’s always best to wait before going ham with the melted snow. Sometimes, it can take several days for melted snow to reach room temperature naturally, so be sure to have water at the ready if your snow isn’t warm enough yet. The same rule applies to rainwater as well, especially if you get freezing rain in your area.
2. Continue Your Normal Care Routine
Melted snow and rainwater aren’t substitutes for fertilizer. Make sure you fertilize your succulents during their growing season to keep them happy and healthy!
3. Be Wary of Overwatering
As lovely as it sounds to leave your succulents out in the rain, they can still get overwatered outside. Consider collecting your rainwater and your snow in buckets, then bottom-watering them to avoid overwatering.
See more about How to Prepare your Succulent Plants for Winter
For Types of Succulents Careguide. Read more information here.
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