Should You Use Snow to Water Your Houseplants? Here's What the Experts Say
The best way to help your plants thrive could be surrounding your house right now.
When it first snows, it's nice for the first few hours and then it's just an inconvenience, in my opinion. That white blanket means it's too cold for being outdoors for very long, and the icy precipitation makes traveling dangerous. However, I recently found out a reason why I should start being more appreciative of the falling flakes outside my window, and that's because snow is apparently really good for watering your plants. Sure, there's plenty of stuff on the Internet about this technique, but I decided to consult a few experts on why and how snow will help my houseplants thrive.
"Snow water, same as rainwater, is great for watering and feeding houseplants," confirms Gena Lorainne, a horticulturist with the London-based company Fantastic Services. That's because snow contains nitric oxide, "which is kind of a natural fertilizer," explains Desiree Thomson, a horticulturist at Gardening Services London. "It also stimulates seed germination and plays a huge role in root development," Thomson says. Nitric oxide can also improve a plant's resistance to disease and help it tolerate drought, Thomson adds. Plus, it can speed up the flowering process.
How to Water Your Houseplants with Snow
One of the best parts about snow is that it's easier to collect than rainwater, Lorainne explains. Just go outside and collect clean snow (avoid the yellow stuff or any that may have gotten salt spray) into large buckets ($4, The Home Depot). "Then, leave the buckets in your bathroom and wait for the snow to melt," Lorainne says. "If you put the snow directly on your plants' soil, chances are the cold will shock them," she warns. A shocked plant may stop growing or even die.
Once the snow has melted, make sure the water's temperature is 70°F–75°F, Lorainne recommends. After that, pour the melted snow through a fine strainer ($10, Bed Bath & Beyond) if there's any debris in it. "From here on, you're left with clean water, which is ideal for any type of houseplant you might have," Lorainne says.
Besides the fact that melted snow gives your houseplants a shot of nitric oxide, there's another reason you may want to try this method. Tap water is affordable and convenient, but it isn't always the best thing for plants because of the chlorine and other chemicals in it. Softened water can be especially problematic because it contains salts that build up in the soil, which can stunt or eventually kill your plants. Melted snow is free from these issues. Not to mention, free of cost, too. So, with much of the country experiencing plenty of snowfall this week, why not give this simple trick a try?