As the seasons change, so too do your plant’s needs. Indoor plants are affected by outdoor changes. In this article, we’re talking about all things summer and how you should care for your plants when the temperature rises.
Who doesn’t love summer? Long days, warm nights, a time to take it easy. We’re also drinking plenty more water and slathering on the SPF. Did you know plants, like people, can suffer from dehydration and sunburn? Like spring, summer is a growth season for houseplants. Adjusting water, light and potentially switching their scenery can help our plants have the best summer ever.
Sound advice for every living thing. In summer, you’ll likely be watering your houseplants more frequently than you were in the fall and winter. Obvious signs like wilt or leaf curl means your plant needs more water. Water plants in the early morning or evening when the sun is least strong to avoid plant burn and water evaporation. If your potting mix is drying out super quick, you can help it retain moisture by adding rocks or mulch on top of the soil. You can also group similar plants together and mist them with filtered water to help increase moisture, unless your plants like it hot and dry, like succulents and cacti do.
Coming In Hot
It’s sunny and it’s hot. If your leafy plant is in a spot that gets bright, direct sunlight, you might want to consider drawing a sheer curtain over the window, especially during midday. You can also move your plants a little further away from the window than they were during the winter. If your plants love as much light as possible, leave them right where they are.
Rotate your plants once a week so each side gets equal sun exposure. This will help them from leaning over. Not sure the light your plant is receiving during the summer is too hot? Place your hand under the light midday. If it is too hot for you, it’s likely too hot for your plant. Desert-dwellers like cacti are an exception to this.
Chill on the A/C
It’s tempting to want to feel a blast of cool air when we step in from outside. Avoid leaving the A/C on or set the temperature a little higher, especially when you’re not home. Your plants will be happier and you’ll save some cash on your energy bill. As a general rule, keep your plants away from A/C units. Succulents prefer it hot and dry, and A/C is just the opposite. And most other common houseplants come from tropical environments, so the warmer and more humid, the better. You can increase humidity levels by grouping like-plants together, or using a humidifier (yes, even in the summer).
Avoid blasting the A/C, especially when you’re not home.
Prune any dying or unnecessary foliage that will otherwise be ripe for infections and pesky insects. You can leave slightly lackluster leaves alone as your plant might be reabsorbing nutrients before dropping them. Don’t let dropped leaves pile up on top of the soil as a pile of decaying leaves can attract pests.
Feel Free to Fertilize
If you did not fertilize in the spring, summer is your best chance to fertilize and make it count. It can be important for the long-term health of your plant. Choose a fertilizer with an NPK ratio. N for nitrogen, P for phosphorus and K for potassium indicate the three most consumed macronutrients plants need. They should be in your fertilizer for sure. Check the package for a number that reads something like 10-15-10. If you do not see this number, find another brand.
It’s hard to stay indoors during the summer. Plants can benefit from time outside, too. If you plan to move your plants outside for the summer, you'll want to make sure the move is gradual, and the temperature at night is consistently above 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). Start by placing them in the shadiest place you can find, then gradually move to a spot with some more light, but avoid direct sunlight. A shady spot outside is like the sunniest spot inside, especially in the summer. Learn more about successfully moving your plants outdoors for the summer here.
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