In the hottest days of the year, our plants may require a little extra love and attention to thrive and keep looking their best. Here are a few tips to help your plants to beat the heat!
The first step in keeping your plants happy and healthy in a heatwave is to ensure they have enough water. It's best to water your plants before the heat reaches its peak - extreme heat can cause water to evaporate and the soil to dry out quicker, and your plants will want to absorb as much water as they can before that happens. In a heatwave, it's a good idea to check your plants daily to see if they need a top-up. Many plants may not need watering this often, but they may be drying out much more quickly than usual, and it's better to be safe than sorry.
Next, check in on your plants that are kept in parts of your house that tend to be hotter and brighter in normal weather. South- and west-facing windows tend to be brightest in the summer, and can get very hot in a heatwave. Any plants that can be sensitive to drying out that might be kept in these bright spots (such as Oxalis, Caladium, Alocasia and others) should be moved somewhere a little further back - you may struggle to keep up with their watering needs otherwise. You may wish to keep your curtains closed or otherwise cover your windows in a heatwave for your own health and safety, and your plants shouldn't mind a couple of days with a little less light. Try not to keep them in darkness for too long, though - moving them to a slightly cooler windowsill may help.
Most hardier plants, cacti and succulents should tolerate staying in a bright, sunny windowsill during this time with minimal damage, but it can be a fine balance and you may not want to take the risk. Most tropical plants are used to warm temperatures, but dislike dry heat and may begin to suffer above 25-27 degrees Celsius. Misting with cool water is perfect to keep them humid, prevent drying and help regulate their temperature, and grouping plants together helps to maintain a naturally humid micro-climate around them.
There are many signs to look out for that might indicate your plants are struggling with the heat. Drooping or crisping leaves, or wrinkled succulents can be a sign that your plant is either not getting enough water, or is much too hot. Crisping, burned-looking patches and fading patterns may be signs of sun stress, and some plants, such as Rhipsalis, Hoya and other cacti, may take on a red or purple blush when they're getting more sun than they'd like. Keep an eye out for these signs, and treat by moving to a more shaded or cooler position, or giving more water, depending on the specific issue.
Plants, just like us, need a little extra care and attention in extreme heat, and the best tips we can give apply to both plants and people: avoid the worst of the sun, drink plenty of water and try to keep cool where possible.
James @ Botanic
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