After torrential rains and/or cold winter months, we welcome the warmth and brightness of summer with open arms. While this season is typically growing season for most plants, whether indoor plants or outdoor ones, summertime brings quite a few challenges that shouldn’t be ignored by every plant parent.
For starters, the sudden rise in temperature can be too hot to handle for some. Orchid plants, for instance, are known to be sensitive and to suffer from sunburn, which they get from direct sun and heat exposure. A stark contrast to succulents and cacti that thrive tremendously well during sunshine-filled summer days.
But don’t fret. Summertime is relatively safer for plants compared to winter. In fact, it may actually be beneficial for them when we take advantage of it with good measure. Remember, the secret ingredient to the plant food making process called photosynthesis is plenty of natural light. This is what helps plants produce lots of showy, colorful flowers and lush, verdant leaves.
Learn what you need to do to keep your beloved houseplants in tip-top shape this season. Check out these summer survival tips for indoor plants.
Hacking humidity for indoor plants
Although they are predominantly protected from getting burned from the sun, indoor plants have no escape with the drop in humidity levels that can be especially problematic during hot summertime or heat waves. You can create a cool, microclimate inside your space inexpensively through misting with a simple spray bottle containing filtered water. You can also fill a shallow dish with pebbles and water and put your potted plants on top. If you live with a curious pet or a crawling baby, it is best to secure your plant area and take precautionary steps so they don’t try to swallow the pebbles.
Watering houseplants in summer
The general idea is that plants need more and frequent watering during summer because they are thirstier and they dry out faster. But hold your horses before you go on a watering spree with your houseplants. Overwatering your plants is still the fastest way to kill your plants and that fact doesn’t change no matter the season. Keeping a close look and observing how your plant behaves is still the best approach. Water only when the topsoil or at least one to two inches of the soil is dry to the touch. You can also use a moisture meter if you want to be accurate. Allowing the potting material to dry prevents the untoward incidence of mites and plant infections that are oftentimes harder to reverse.
Signs to watch out for in your plants
Plants have a way of communicating to us what it needs or wants. Doing a routine check on your plants, say, every morning while you’re drinking a hot cup of coffee, is not only therapeutic (plants spark joy, remember?) but also a practical way to spot indications that your houseplant is getting stressed because of intense heat. Yellowing of the leaves means early stages of sunburn in orchids and other plants. You can help your plant overcome this by immediately taking it out of direct sun exposure. Once the yellowing leaves of your plant show white sunken spots turning dark brown, it means it’s in its later stages and can be harder to remedy. Leaves and flowers falling off could be hinting that your plant is getting scorched and underwatered.
Postpone pruning plans
The occasional dry or yellow leaves can be ugly and unsettling for the meticulous plant lover. Sure, feel free to take them out. The plant may be wasting energy on them. But big plans to give your houseplant a total prune should be postponed because it may cause unnecessary stress to your plant and the merciless heat can make it harder for it to bounce back to life. Plant care experts suggest waiting for a milder temperature or season for this.
How to make summer bearable for houseplants
Just like humans, intense heat can be damaging and even fatal for your houseplants. When you turn on the air conditioner or the electric fan, know that your indoor plants are silently thanking you. Put a sheer curtain to provide filtered shade for plants near your window. While flowering plants, such as phalaenopsis orchids, appreciate the morning sunshine, the cruel heat at high noon can burn them in a snap. Open windows at night to usher in the cool breeze and to maintain healthy air circulation.
Plants staying in the balcony, porch, or patio should probably be taken indoors during heatwaves. If you don’t have enough space to accommodate all the plants inside, you can also improvise, for example, with a beach umbrella, which can still offer a bit of shade. These plants may also require more frequent watering therapies compared to indoor plants.
If you’re going on a vacation for an extended period of time, ask someone to come over or set up watering apparatuses or DIY hacks to water your plants while you’re gone.