HOUSTON – Whether you’re sprucing up flowerbeds, a patio space or even starting your very own veggie garden, there’s some simple and easy tips to remember to make sure your plants last through the hot, summer months.
Angela Chandler, a local gardening expert, explains what you can do now to protect your plants.
Learn to “read” your plants
Plants sometimes look wilted during the heat of the day, even if they are well-watered. This wilted appearance is just the plant closing itself off to preserve their moisture. If the plant perks up in the cool of the evening, it’s OK!
Deeper roots provide more drought resistance. Water slowly and deeply to encourage deeper roots. Frequent, shallow watering weakens the plant’s natural resistance. Water early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler – this reduces evaporation and allows plants time to uptake water before the heat of the day. The second-best time is late evening when it cools back down.
Provide a little shade
Two common summer issues are poaching and sunburn. Poaching happens in wet heat! The combination of heat and humidity can cause plants to poach, sometimes leading to permanent tissue damage. Peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes sunburn easily. If you cannot move the plant to a shadier spot, use a Dollar store patio umbrella or an old sheet suspended on a few stakes.
Electrolytes for plants?
Electrolytes are minerals that help our bodies cope with stress, and heat is a definite stress factor. Plants have similar stress response which results in yellowing, weakness, and increased susceptibility to insects and disease which is why we see these issues during summer.
Foliar feeding is a fast way to get minerals into the tissues of a plant. They absorb minor minerals quickly through their leaves. Use mineral-rich, sea based liquid feeds such as Ocean Harvest or Liquid Seaweed. Spray until the liquid drips off the leaves, spray the undersides of the leaves, and drench the soil in the root zone. Bi-monthly for leaves, once a month for roots.
Yes! You can plant now.
Everyone loves summer color and next month kicks off the fall tomato season.
Here’s a check-list for planting:
- Plant in the cool of the evening.
- Water transplants the day before with Superthrive or Liquid Seaweed to reduce transplant shock.
- Water well with a root stimulator.
- Provide shade until plants show signs of new growth.
Summer Color for Houston Gardens
These will provide foliage and bloom color from summer through fall.
Angelonia, Bidens, Blue Daze and Vinca work well for sunny spots.
Coneflower, Rudbeckia, Lantana, Penta, Salvia & Zinnia are all great pollinator plants.
And varieties like Coleus, Croton, Impatiens and Lysmachia all thrive in shady spots.
Angela will be teaching a virtual gardening class on indoor composting with Urban Harvest on Saturday, August 8, 2020. Visit their website to sign up!
For more information to managing summer heat in the garden, click here to follow Angela’s blog.
She also shares information on her website.