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 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 often than in the fall or 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. Help plants retain moisture by adding rocks or mulch on top of the soil. Group like-plants together and mist them with filtered water to turn up the humidity levels, unless your plants like it hot and dry.
Coming In Hot
It’s sunny and it’s hot. If your plant is in a spot that gets bright, direct sunlight, consider drawing a sheer curtain over the window, especially during the day. You can also move your plants away from the light. 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 plants away from A/C units. Cacti and succulents prefer it hot and dry, and A/C is just the opposite. Most houseplants come from tropical environments, so the warmer and more humid, the better. Increase humidity levels by grouping like-plants together, or if you have the space for it, move them to your bathroom or kitchen where it tends to be more humid. You can use a humidifier (yes, even in the summer) to keep the environment stable.
Avoid leaving A/C on or set the temperature a little higher, 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 have some outdoor space. If you moved your plants outside in the spring, you already know you want to make sure the move is gradual, the temperature at night is consistent to generally keep the environment stable. 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.
Extreme weather, like a dry spell or heavy rains, will affect how often you water. When you do water, aim for early in the morning and in the evening when the sun is not so strong. If there’s been lots of rain, hold off on watering and make sure your planters have drainage. In the heat of summer, you may be watering every day, up to twice a day on those sweltering days. To protect plant against heat stress, you can elect to bring your plants indoors or keep your plants outside in full shade.
Be proactive and get ready for Seasonal Care: Fall.