We’re in the hot days of summer; you can feel it as the sweat trickles down your neck to the waistline of your pants. When you watch the news and you see highs in the 90s and heat indexes above 100. You know you’re just beginning to deal with the summertime heat.
So you take precautions. You use sunblock. drink plenty of fluids, stay in the shade (or if you’re lucky in the air-conditioning), and move a little slower. But you know what? You are not the only one that feels the heat. Your plants do too.
Did you know the plants will naturally take precautions to help them make it through the heat? They slow down their growth rate, using less water and food in the process, by simply maintaining the existing plant surface. They may even reduce the size of their leaves, by curling up during the heat of the day, to reduce the amount of surface for the evaporation. It can look like the plant is starting to wilt, but if you feel the soil you may find plant is still wet. What the plant is doing, is trying to protect itself from the heat. Beneath the surface of the soil, the plant is trying to conserve water as well. It will be searching for deeper water rather than surface water, which will evaporate quickly.
There are a few things that you can do to protect your plants, just as you protect yourself. If they’re in pots, try moving them to the shade, where they can avoid the hot afternoon sunlight. When you’re watering–water less frequently, but more thoroughly, causing the roots to go deeper and not be as prone to surface trying. Hold back on the fertilization during the heat; there’s no reason to encourage plants to put out new growth when they’re trying to conserve what they already have. New growth is tender, and more prone to be sunburnt, as well. And above all else, be consistent with your watering. Water in the morning or early evening, not during the heat of the day when the water drops can actually magnify the sunlight and burn the plant. Be sure to water thoroughly, until the water comes up bottom of the pot if that is possible.
When he heat lets up, it will be time to fertilize the plants. Go ahead and trim to shape at this time, and watch them take off and grow. The first signs will show when the evening started to cool down. It won’t be long before you will noticed an increase creased in new growth and flower production.
Until then, grab a glass of ice-tea and head for that shady spot by the pool. Summer isn’t over yet.