Summer brings an abundance of blooms, interest and color to the garden, but can also bring extreme temperatures that can be hard on your plants. For many plants, temperatures above 85 degrees can be a huge stress on their systems. But that’s where you come in: with a few simple steps and diligent attention, your garden will make it through the heat and come out the other side healthier and happier.
Also, if you’re noticing a few bare spots or have lost a couple of plants to the heat this year, there are several annual varieties that thrive in heat and that make a great late-season addition to the summer garden.
Caring For Container Plants
You may see the most stress in your container plants in the heat. If possible, water your containers twice per day – once in the early morning and once in the evening – being sure to soak them all the way through. If this isn’t possible due to water conservation efforts, one soak per day should suffice. If your plants are in full sun and aren’t doing well in heat, try putting them in a shadier spot until temperatures cool down.
Caring For Perennials
Water: Unlike container plants, your perennials won’t need a daily dose of water, but a general rule is to try to water them twice the amount you usually do. So if in cooler temperatures you water your perennial garden once per week, try doing it twice per week in the heat. Again, make sure to give the plants a thorough soaking when you water.
Compost: Having a strong level of organic matter, or compost, mixed in with your soil helps the soil retain more water and helps your plants tolerate the heat better.
Mulch: A thin layer of mulch (around 2”) can help your soil retain moisture and protect your plants from drying out in the heat. We recommend using natural mulch from the garden center, grass cuttings or shredded leaves.
Weeding: Weeds can steal precious water and nutrients from your plants that are extra important during the heat. Make sure to keep your beds weeded, especially in the heat. To help keep you from overheating, we recommend weeding in the early morning or in the evening.
Adding Temporary Shade: Many gardeners in hot climates use temporary shade cloths, sheets or sheer curtains in the hot months to give their gardens a little shade. If you try this method, make sure your plants still have proper ventilation.
Caring For Wildflowers
The best thing about wildflowers is that’s just what they are – wild. Once established, wildflowers can withstand some drought and high temperatures. But if you’re noticing drooping, we recommend giving them a good morning watering every few days in the extreme heat.
Annuals to Add to Your Garden in The Summer
If you’re looking for an extra pop of color in the late summer but temperatures have been high, consider adding heat-tolerant annuals to your garden:
It’s an undertaking to care for and nurture your garden in the extreme heat, but there's no doubt that it's worth it at the end of the day (or season).