8/5/2020 | By Seniors Guide Staff

How does hot weather make you feel? Sweaty, tired, and thirsty? Imagine you’re a plant that can’t get into the shade, go inside and cool off in the air conditioning, or get a glass of lemonade when you feel like it. But you can help your plants make it through a hot summer – and we’ve got some tips to help!

1. Water Deep…

Plants, especially outdoor plants, get thirsty in the heat. Water them thoroughly and deeply, at the base of the plant. Deep watering means saturating the soil about a foot in depth. This encourages roots to grow deeper, down to where the soil is cooler.

2. …But Don’t Overwater

Too much water during hot weather can encourage root rot and fungal growth in the soil. Test the soil with your finger before watering. Don’t water until the soil feels dry an inch or two down. If a plant in a pot feels heavy, it may not need water yet. Make sure plants in containers have good drainage. Even in hot weather, it’s not healthy for container plants to sit in standing water.

3. Water at Night

It’s best to water outdoor plants at night, instead of during the heat of the day. While you might be tempted to cool them off in the midday heat, the water droplets can actually intensify the heat on the leaves. Watering at night also means that more water saturates the ground instead of evaporating. To cool off their leaves, you can mist plants after the sun goes down.

4. Insulate with Mulch

Cover the soil around garden plants with about 4 to 6 inches of straw, pine needles, or grass clippings. This can help keep the roots cooler and help keep the soil moist. 

5. Don’t Fertilize

Fertilizing plants when it’s really hot can stress their roots. During a heat wave, they are in survival mode, and may not even know what to do with the extra nutrients from fertilizer.

6. Hold Off On Repotting and Pruning

Heat stressed plants don’t need the extra pressure of adjusting to a new container, either. Leaves often get damaged during a move, too, and plants dealing with heat need to hang on to all the healthy leaves they can. For the same reason, don’t prune those that may be a little heat stressed. Removing dead or damaged leaves encourages the plant to produce new leaves. While that’s usually a good thing, during hot weather, plants need to focus on surviving, not producing new foliage. In addition, the leaf you think is dead might actually perk back up when the weather and the plant are back to normal.

7. Provide Shade

Plants do need sunlight, but during hot weather, they might be getting too much. Whether it’s a big beach or patio umbrella, or an old bedsheet propped up on poles, shade can provide some relief. Try to use light colored shade cloth so sunlight is reflected, not absorbed. If you have to use a dark cloth, make sure it doesn’t touch any leaves, because it could burn them. Make sure the plants have plenty of air circulation beneath the shade.

8. Keep Indoor Plants Cool

Even indoor temperatures can fluctuate during really hot weather. Make sure the ones that prefer cooler indoor temperatures are in rooms that are well air conditioned. Move plants away from hot windows if they start to seem stressed. South and west-facing windows, especially, often get very hot. On many, signs of stress include wilted, pale, or yellowed leaves. Plants can get sunburn, too. Sunburned leaves might have rough or brown patches.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff