Caring for plants in the heat of the summer
Jul 9th 2021 ⋮ in Advice

 

It's summer, we want to be spending time in the garden and we want our plants to be looking their best – not wilted and scorched!

Some plants cope much better with the heat than others, for example, succulents are made for hot dry weather as their fleshy leaves conserve lots of water.

So here are our top tips to help your plants not just survive the summer, but thrive:

Water your plants either early morning or evening when you can. Avoid watering when the weather is at its warmest as a lot of the water will be lost to evaporation before it can reach the roots and work its magic!

Most plants can survive a bit of sunburn damage which can happen in strong sun, especially when plants are moved from filtered light or partial shade into full sun. You can trim back the scorched foliage to make sure the plant's energy is directed to the healthy parts of the plant and make sure to water the plant thoroughly.

Different plants have different needs but here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • A good rule of thumb is, the larger and the leafier a plant is – the more water it’s likely to need. More established plants can cope with dry periods better than younger plants and seedlings.
  • If your soil feels damp to the touch but your plants are still wilting, it’s could be the texture of your soil that’s causing the problem. Clay soils tend to hold on to water but some plants can struggle to take to nutrients from it so try to mix with a compost with good drainage or mix in some grit, sand or small gravel.
  • It’s been raining, do I need to water my plants? A light shower will mostly likely wet the leaves and top layer of the soil which will evaporate before it can do the plant much good, so it’s probably best to still get the watering can out.
  • When touch-testing to see if you need to water, (feeling the soil to check if it’s damp) push your finger almost knuckle-deep into the soil to test if there is enough moisture reaching to the roots. A damp surface does not necessarily mean your plants don’t need a good water.
  • Plants in containers often need more water than plants in borders. Container potted plants have more restricted root growth so the roots may not be able to reach all of the moist soil to take in the nutrients. Also, containers – particularly terracotta pots which are porous – tends to drain moisture quite quickly which is good for preventing root rot but means you need to water more regularly.

Top tip: water the base close to the soil rather than the leaves to make sure the water can get to the roots. Wet leaves, especially overnight, can lead to fungal diseases.