Week 13 – How to beat the heat and keep your plants looking cool

Not much was cooking at the garden today except the plants.  We had one 101 degree day with more 90’s expected in the next couple of days.   We didn’t have a camera truck today so Rob ran down to the station for a segment on how to tend your plants in the heat, and made fun of all the apprentices hard at work back in his yard 🙂 

Some plants won’t survive the heat so today Misael took some ornamental kale out of some pots and replaced it with some Black Eyed Susan’s.  The pansies still look pretty good so we left them to see how they fare through the next few days of heat.  It’s that time to start taking out the cool weather plants and replace them with summer bloomers that like the heat.  This week Black Eyed Susan’s and I look forward to seeing what we use in the next couple of weeks. 

Everyone else deadheaded the container plants (I learned I was not doing it right – I was pulling out the blooms and not pinching the seed part off which makes them straggly instead of bushy and deprives them of some blooming energy – a lesson well learned that will make my pots look better, especially petunias and nicotiana) and a few garden plants as well as it was time to fertilize all the container gardens and pots.  Not too much looked different since the tour last week so no new revelations. 

Knowing when to water is the best way to beat the heat.  Water most plants in the evening so the water can really soak into the ground and the plants can drink through the cool evening.  Container gardens and pots is best to water EVERY morning.  Water them until they leak out the bottom and on especially hot days like 95 to 100 degrees, check them later in the day and water again if they are really dry.  It only takes ONE HOUR for a plant to dry out too much and go past repair.  If you water in the evening by noon the next day a pot can dry out.  If the soil becomes too dry and pulls away from the pot then the water will just run down between the soil and the pot and the soil won’t soak up the water and then the plant will die.  Lots of people say “But I watered it twice a day”.  It doesn’t matter if the plant has already dried out beyond repair.  It doesn’t take long so make sure you check them morning and evening on the really hot days.

Your pots have a hole in the bottom so the water will drain and the roots won’t rot, so don’t be afraid to soak the plant.  A cup of water or a spritz on the plant is not watering.  A plant needs a good soaking, so water until the water starts leaking out of the bottom of the pot to ensure it won’t dry out during the day.  If it is dried up it didn’t get enough water.  If your plant doesn’t need much water it will start leaking out the bottom right away so if you follow the water until it leaks rule it’s hard to over or under water a container.  99.9% of the time we kill our plants.  It’s rare to buy a plant that is diseased or damaged.  If it doesn’t look like it did when you bought it, then you killed it.  I do it, my friends do it, WE ALL DO IT.  Don’t stress over this.  It’s just a learning experience.  Even the best gardeners sometimes miss a watering or overlook a pot and then suffer the consequences.  It’s OK.  We’re all human.  If you’re inexperienced with containers, I suggest you try out a small inexpensive pot before you step up to the big expensive hanging baskets.  Even then, water it until it leaks and you should be ok.   If you have a big $40 tomato pot or something like that, then guard your investment and check it twice a day.  Remember to fertilize them with a bloom product high in phosphorus at least once a week.

If you have a new container or hanging basket, acclimate it to where it will be sitting.  Even sun-loving plants can sunburn just like people.  Don’t put a brand new pot or basket in the sun (especially 90 degree weather) right away.  Put it in the shade for a couple of days and then give it a couple of hours of sun for a day and a little more the next day.  Plants can sunburn just like people so acclimate them for 4 to 5 days and then let them enjoy the full sun.  Remember to water them while they are acclimatizing and fertilize them regularly.

Water and fertilize correctly in the heat and your gardens and pots will be bodacious and beautiful.

So far, so fun – to see Rob’s segment on plants and heat visit: http://www.9news.com/garden/273558/358/Proctor-Help-your-plants-cope-with-the-heat


About pbodwell

Master Gardener; Nat'l Award Winning Photographer; Garden Writer; Artist - art books, print maker, hot glass, wire jewelry designer; sometime quilter; new homesteader; bee keeper; very crafty; Baseball fan, enthusiast, and researcher; all things vintage
This entry was posted in Container Gardens, fertilizing container gardens, Gardening, Perennial Beds, Shade Gardens and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Week 13 – How to beat the heat and keep your plants looking cool

  1. Simon Smith says:

    Some brilliant advice here – I always make sure I drench my potted plants in this kind of weather, with all this heat and sun I’m surprised that people still worry about overwatering.

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