It’s been warm the last few weeks, to say the least. We get lots of questions about how to care for plants in these crazy temps, so I created a list to help you and your plants beat the heat!
1. Be sure to water your plants! While this sounds easy enough, summer is such a busy time that sometimes this chore can get forgotten. Regular and consistent watering will keep your flowers from stressing out. If you’re leaving for a long weekend when the temps soar to the 90’s, be sure to recruit a friend to take care of those precious plants. Also, don’t rely on rain. Unless, we get into an extremely soggy pattern of rain every day, be sure to check your pots. Shrubs and perennials in the ground may not need watering, but containers tend to dry out much quicker.
2. Plants that bloom all summer are going to need fertilizer in order to continue blooming beautifully. We recommend fertilizing once a week. At my house, I simply mix up 5 gallons of Miracle Gro BloomBooster every week, then I use an old 16 oz cup and dump a couple cups on each pot. When the hot, humid weather comes, I can almost watch my supertunias grow! You’ll also notice fewer yellow leaves and plants reblooming quicker when you fertilize. If mixing up a few buckets of fertilizer isn’t on your schedule, consider using a granular ShakeNFeed or Osmocote product that will feed your plants for up to three months.
3. Check your sun or shade exposure before selecting your plants. We know plant shops are like candy stores. It’s easy to put something in your cart because it catches your eye, but be sure you have the right sun or shade before purchasing. There are so many neat varieties of fuschia and begonias, but they will burn when planted in too much sun. Likewise, angelonia, calibrachoa, portulaca are stunning when in a full sun area, but will fade out and not thrive in shade.
4. The correct size planter will make your annuals happy. Too small of a pot and you will notice your plants will need more water and may seem crowded. Too large of a pot and you may notice that your soil will be overly wet or not dry out quickly enough. When the soil stays too moist, this can cause root rot and may attract insects that love damp areas.
5. Use the right soil. It’s tempting to just use the same soil from your pots last season or maybe pick up a cheap topsoil but don’t do that. Use a container potting mix for your planters. Potting Mix will have everything in it that you need for best results. It’s neither too heavy nor too light.
6. Twice a month, take a moment to snap off dead blooms and yellow leaves. By doing this your plants will spend less energy on that and more energy on reblooming. Plus, your geraniums will thank you!
7. Keep an eye out for holes and spots on your leaves. We are fielding a lot of phone calls about Japanese Beetles and powdery mildew. Any plant disease or insect damage can make your plants suffer. If you’re unsure what’s happening, pluck a few damaged leaves off your plant and bring them in. We can give you a quick diagnosis of what’s happening. Some bugs might just need a Dawn dish soap spritz, while a fungus should be treated before it kills your plants.
We love the summer weather but there can be some challenges with heat and humidity. With these tips and little effort, you can keep your planters, containers, or pots looking stunning through fall!