Plant care: 5 tips for ensuring your indoor plants survive the summer
With the hot weather set to stick around, keeping your houseplants happy is crucial
Are the soaring temperatures leaving you feeling extra protective of your plant babies? While succulents and cacti are made for extreme heat, it’s well known that many indoor plants aren’t accustomed to intense climates.
Keen to ensure your indoor jungle isn’t yellow and wilting by September, the experts at Nature by Letterbox have shared five key tips for indoor plant care this summer…
1. Don’t give them a bath
During a heatwave, your houseplants definitely are going to look a little parched at some point. No matter how well you’ve kept up your plant care schedule, it still happens!
When you notice some wilting, it’s always tempting to rush to the sink and leave the soil swimming in water. This is because we wrongly assume that because the soil is drier than usual, it’ll eventually soak up all the water. In fact, not only will leaving the roots floating in water will cause them to rot over time, but wet conditions also make the perfect breeding ground for flies.
2. Instead – water correctly, and efficiently
Regardless of heatwaves, one of the main plant killers is not just overwatering, but also watering incorrectly. So if during this warm weather you see your plants struggling, the best medicine is ensuring that you’ve nailed your watering technique.
Water will evaporate from the surface of the soil extra quickly during a heatwave, so make sure the plant is fully soaking it all up by watering deeply and gradually. It’s important to avoid the water simply resting on the surface, before it tumbles down the inside of the pot and reaches the roots. Instead, we want to fully soak the soil. Test this by putting your finger about two inches into the soil roughly twenty minutes after watering. If the soil is already dry, then your plant is thirsty and needs another soak.
Also, remember to water the soil and not the foliage, and to always use water that is room temperature – rather than ice cold. And finally, never water your plants in the middle of the day, as the water will evaporate much quicker. Always stick to a morning or evening watering schedule.
3. Keep them misted
With many of our favourite houseplants hailing from tropical locations, it’s important that we ‘mist’ them regularly through long periods of strong heat. This is because epiphytes and tropical types like fittonia, calathea and the majority of ferns crave high levels of humidity.
If your plant is beginning to wilt and droop, and the leaves are turning yellow or brown, then it’s probably in need of some humidity. To help it get back to full health, as well as misting, you could create a humid microclimate by placing your pot on top of a shallow dish filled with pebbles and water.
4. Turn off the fans
Rather than cooling them down, placing your plants in front of an air conditioning vent or fan on a hot day is actually quite the death sentence. Many plants – especially tropical ones – don’t work well with dry, cold air on their foliage, so a fan will deny it the moisture and temperature conditions it needs to thrive. It’s okay to have plants and fans in the same room, just be sure to keep them separate.
5. Provide respite in the shade
Plants suffer under direct and constant sunshine, so bear this in mind when you’re thinking about where to put them in your home. Plants placed in south and west-facing windows will get an extreme level of vitamin D during the day, so if you’re heading off to work it’s best to shut those curtains and let them rest in the shade.