The summer season is upon us! It’s the time of year when temperatures are rising, outdoor activities are calling and depending on where you’re from, heat waves are happening. If you’re a big fan of bodies of water and days under the sun, it’s understandable that this could be your favorite season ever. A little sunburn, a lot of hot air, and intense summer heat may not faze you anymore.
You’ve probably been waiting for so long to finally go outside and enjoy the fun that summer brings. And you know what, you deserve it! But before we lose you to weekend getaways and refreshing summer cocktails, this article is here to remind you of your little green friends. You see, the summer heat may be your element, but for most of your houseplants, this is The Hunger Games.
With temperatures reaching scorching levels of heat and dry air that’s lowering humidity, your indoor plants are working extra hard to survive. Being plants indoors does not guarantee their safety from the summer heat. They may not be plotted in your garden and they may be away from direct sunlight exposure, but changes in temperature and their overall environment can send the most sensitive of your houseplants on a frenzy.
The Importance of Summer Care of Your Plants
Some indoor plants like your succulents and cacti are designed to handle the summer heat. Their fleshy leaves are capable of conserving water, keeping them hydrated despite the temperature.
But some of your houseplants aren’t as well-prepared for the summer. Think of your precious plants like monsteras or calatheas. Or the flowers and herbs you’ve carefully spent hours providing care and attention to make them healthy indoor plants.
A few changes in the way you care for your indoor plants will help them survive the summer. Some signs of stress are obvious, learn how to recognize when your indoor plants are stressed, and you can begin taking measures to help them.
The most common signs of stress in indoor plants are through the leaves that are wilting. Tropical plants that have tender foliage usually wilt under severe sun exposure. Some leaves can look too pale when they are stressed.
This summer, your favorite product may be the sunblock to avoid sunburn, but there’s no plant care equivalent to that! So yes, your indoor plants will sunburn, and that often looks like yellow patches on the leaves or stems or a rough brown patch. If the condition worsens, they eventually dry up and die.
Other signs of stress brought about by lack of water or too much heat include the yellowing of leaves and flower petals dropping off.
Bad news, right? The good news is, you can do something about it! And doing all these things before your plants exhibit stress is a sure-fire way to keep your plants happy and healthy all year long.
Taking Care of Plants in Summer
These indoor gardening tips will keep plants in your home thriving.
Water Frequently, Water Deeply
If you’re not new to the plant community, you know that gardening experts and plant professionals like frequently remind you to avoid overwatering. The truth is, more plants die from too much water than from neglect.
But during the hot summer, when temperatures rise to unholy degrees, your best defense to protect your indoor plants from heat stress is by deep watering.
Summer heat causes the water to evaporate from the soil faster than usual. The proper method to water your plants is by slowly hydrating them, which means pouring water on the soil and giving the water time to soak. Dumping water all at once might just moisten the topsoil and nothing else.
Personally, the best way to ensure that your plants get the right amount of water is by bottom watering. Set the plant in a bowl of water and let the roots absorb all that refreshing water. Wait for ten to twenty minutes before you take your plants out of the bowl.
If you’re not one to check the soil moisture level of your plants all year round, make summer the exception to the rule. A moisture meter for the soil or your finger will do. If the soil feels dry at 1-2″ down, water deeply. You can also check the pot. If there’s a gap between the soil and the side of the pot, that’s a sure sign to water your plants.
Move Plants Away From Direct Sunlight
Moving your indoor plants to a cooler shade away from the sun is the first best move you should do. Pay attention to where the light of the sun falls during the hot hours of the day and mind where your windows are facing. South or west-facing windows and balconies are most prone to strong sunlight. Provide shade especially to your most delicate indoor plants.
Increase The Humidity in the Air
Some plant parents make the mistake of blasting cool air from the AC during the summer, falsely thinking that this is the way to help their green plants. Remember that both cool air and hot air can decrease the humidity in the air.
If you keep mostly tropical plants, you should know that they don’t enjoy cool breezes at all. Instead, group your plants together and put a pan of water between them to help amp the humidity. You can also mist the air around them not on the foliage, to help add moisture. The easiest, the most stress-free method is, of course, investing in a humidifier.
Less Pruning, No Repotting
Summer isn’t the best time for repotting your plants. Proper potting techniques require that you trim some parts of the root, and letting your plant work in their new pot. In a new pot, your plants and their roots will go through a period of shock. Plants need to keep all the energy they have to survive the heat.
Pruning also needs to be held back during this time. When you prune, you are essentially pushing your plants to produce new growth. They can’t do this during the summer. Wait for the cooler days, like in autumn.
Do plants need fertilizer during the summer?
In gardening, we fertilize and feed plants to help their growth. Spring and summer are ideal times to fertilize. Choose fertilizers that have a balanced ratio and feed them weekly.
However, don’t fertilize your plants during the hottest or driest days because this can add to their stress more.
How do you keep plants alive in the summer?
Frequent watering, proper shade, increased humidity, and paying attention to their individual needs keeps your plants alive and healthy, even on the most challenging days.
Should you water plants every day in hot weather?
If you are experiencing a heatwave or a dry spell, you should water your plants deeply and frequently. Still, be mindful of the factors that vary from plant to plant. Move your potted plants into shade.