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Hot weather can be hard on your plants, especially those growing in containers. While the surrounding soil moderates the temperatures for plants growing in the ground, potted plants won’t enjoy this perk. The soaring temperatures heat the soil faster for container plants, posing a risk for heat stress. It’s important to be you understand the basics for protecting potted plants from heat to keep them growing comfortably through the summer months.
Tips To Protect Container Garden From Heat
Here are some handy tips that can help you in protecting potted plants from heat.
1. Choosing The Right Container
Dark-colored containers absorb and retain heat. Instead, choose light-colored pots that reflect much of the heat and keep the soil cooler. Additionally, plastic and metal containers aren’t a good choice if high temperatures are a persistent problem in your region. Glazed ceramic and terracotta pots are better options. Gardeners also practice double potting to keep their container plants cooler. The trick is simply to put a potted plant inside a slightly larger pot but make sure both the pots have drainage holes to prevent the inner pot from sitting in water.
Don’t let your potted plants sit in direct afternoon sunlight through the summer months. Place them where they can receive morning sunlight but are shaded during the hottest afternoon hours. Also, if you have multiple potted plants, they’ll benefit from being grouped together. While containers sitting individually are exposed to intense sunlight from all sides, those huddled in groups offer each other some shade from the heat. Also, note that south and west-facing patios and balconies will be hotter in the summers than those facing north or east.
3. Light Colored Organic Mulch
Cover the soil with a layer of light-colored organic mulch, such as shredded leaves, grass clipping or pine needles to keep the soil moist and cool. Inorganic mulches attract heat and retain it in the soil, so it’s best to avoid these.
4. Keep The Plants Watered
Your plants will need to be watered more frequently during the summers to prevent heat stress. Keep the soil moist, but avoid overwatering and make sure the pot has a drainage hole at the bottom from where excess water can escape. Additionally, you can also place the pots over a shallow tray of pebbles soaked in water. As water evaporates from the tray it will cool the surroundings for the plant.
5. Shade Net
Use shade netting to protect the potted plants during the hottest part of the summer. A 33% shade net is often sufficient to keep the potted plants cool, though you may need a 50% shade net if you’re living in a particularly hot climate or if the sun’s exposure is high.
6. Go Easy On Fertilizers
Excessive use of fertilizers can burn the roots. Feed the plants only lightly during the hottest months and water deeply after fertilizing to prevent heat stress.
Plants and Heat FAQs
What are the Symptoms of Plant Heat Stress
Stunted growth, wilting of leaves, leaf burn, leaf drop, halted blooming and excessively dry soil are some of the signs of heat stress. If you notice any of these symptoms, take the necessary steps to revive the plants before they suffer irreversible damage.
Will Plants Recover From Heat Stress?
If caught and treated early, it’s possible for the plants to recover from heat stress. If you see symptoms of heat stress, move the potted plants indoors or to a shaded location. Give the plants a deep watering early in the morning. Do not fertilize the plants until they have completely recovered since fertilization triggers new growth and new growth is even more susceptible to heat stress.
Protecting Potted Plants From Heat – Conclusion
Protecting potted plants from heat is important if you want to see your container garden thriving through the summers. Limit their exposure to the sun, keep them well watered and keep a close watch on their growth to help them make it through the hot weather.