Keeping your plants alive and well can be very tricky during the hot summer days. But there are ways to help your plants even during the hottest heat waves.
Some are very cheap and Do-It-Yourself, others require some investment.
Let's go through some of the basic ways in which you can help your plants during the summer.
There are a few things you could do to protect your plants from sunburn.
In the case of indoor plants, the solutions are perhaps the easiest. Move your plants away from the direct hit of the sun, a bit further into your house. Avoid putting them in the hottest areas of your house and remember to close your windows during the day and open them only at night when the temperature is cooler.
If you prefer a Do-It-Yourself approach, you can set up your own shade system. The easiest way would be to use a bigger beach umbrella. If you are more ambitious you can make shade by using cardboard or old bedsheets. The important thing is to always allow air to circulate the plants.
You can also invest more and buy a shade cloth. It is important to know that the color of the cloth should be determined based on your specific needs: white is good for more light exposure; black for less light exposure; blue is excellent for vegetative growth; and because it reflects a lot of reds, brown shade is a great choice for fruits and flowers.
One of the best ways to improve the quality of your soil is by adding compost. You can easily make it at home, and it will be of great help in improving the structure, air flow, and overall health of the soil.
On the other hand, you should forget about fertilizing during the heatwave. Especially if the fertilizer contains salts, which can add further heat stress. If your plant is stressed by the heat, wait until it fully recovers before you apply fertilizer.
An additional advantage of using compost is that it will help in keeping your plants hydrated. The organic material it consists of will absorb water and your plants will be able to use it when they need it during the hot summer days.
The best way to help your plants during the summer is, of course, by proper watering.
A basic thing you should always keep in mind is that you should not water your plants in the sun, or during the hottest hours of the day. A good time to water your plants is in the morning, while the temperature is still low. This way the water will run down into the soil and reach the roots of the plants. This means that the water will be available to the plants throughout the rest of the day.
A great way to water your plants during the summer is by deep watering. Plants can get used to being watered for just a few minutes during the day and adapt to such conditions by keeping their roots near the surface. But if you deep water them every week, at least once, you will train your plants to spread their roots deep in the soil.
One way to do it effectively is to use bigger planting containers that have drain holes and sink them in between your plants in the garden. Just fill the containers with water a few times per week and you will keep the roots of your plants deep in the soil.
But be careful! If it's very hot outside you can still easily over-water your plants. In fact, over-watering is one of the easiest ways to kill your plants. Thankfully, there are ways to rescue an overwatered plant. Always test the soil before watering. If it's damp an inch under the ground, it is probably already moist enough.
Other Ways To Help Your Plants
Avoid re-potting during a heatwave. This causes a lot of stress to your plants, and a plant that is already exhausted because of the heat won't take it well.
Likewise, delay the pruning until the hot days are over. It not only causes stress, but you can also get rid of leaves that can rebound when the conditions get better. Furthermore, such leaves can also function as a protective layer and keep the plant safer from further sunburn.
Consider introducing automated watering systems that will be able to drip or trickle water in the areas of your garden that need it and save you a lot of time and effort.
These are just some of the basic ways in which you can help your plants to survive hot summers. In time and with more experience you will develop your own techniques, as you get to know your plants better and as you learn to better recognise when they are under stress.
But the options we reviewed in this article are some of the very essential, so you would do yourself and your plants a favor if you study and apply them as soon as you can. Only a few very hot days are enough to completely exhaust or even kill your plants.
It's best to be ready in advance, well informed, and well acquainted with your plants and their needs. Good luck!