Gardeners' World: Monty Don gives advice on planting clematis
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While many look forward to enjoying what the Met Office has forecast to be the warmest week of the year so far with highs of 28C in some areas, others might be worried about how their plants might cope in the stifling heat. Many plants will inevitably suffer some ill effects however, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact heat can have on your plants.
Some plants, like succulents, are well-versed in surviving in hotter conditions due to their thicker leaves, but others have a tendency to struggle.
You’ll be able to tell if the heat is bearing an impact on your plant if it looks like it’s starting to wilt.
Symptoms of wilting include yellowing or browning leaves, shrivelling flowers, and drooping stems.
If these sad effects go ignored, it can lead to the untimely demise of your plant. So, you’ll want to act on this fast as soon as you spot it.
To prevent plants from wilting in the heat, here are five steps to place them in the best position to fight against the heatwave.
Water your plants deep
Deep watering at the base of the plant for a long time is one of the best methods to revive and protect your plants from the heat, as it helps to coax roots deeper into the ground.
Coaxing the roots deeper into the ground will help them penetrate the soil where the water is.
It’s advised to water most plants around once a week, but the length of time doing it depends on your soil.
Water the ground near the base of the plants enough to fully saturate the soil a good foot in depth. Vegetables might need a few additional deep watering rituals when the weather is particularly hot.
Water your plants at the start of the day when the temperature is cooler so less water evaporates.
Mulch your plants
Mulch is a layer, typically consisting of materials like grass clippings, pine needles and shredded leaves, to apply to soil to help it retain its moisture, suppress weeds, and keep the soil cool.
According to The Spruce, Organic mulches also help improve the soil’s structure, drainage, and nutrient-holding capacity as it decomposes.
Apply a layer of mulch no deeper than two or three inches to the soil around your plants for a good effect.
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Bigger, lighter coloured plant pots
If your plants are wilting in containers, an option to help reduce this is to shift them into bigger, lighter-coloured pots.
Dark colours absorb and retain heat, so if your containers are black, dark blues, and greys, it’s advised to move these into pots of more neutral tones.
Larger pots will improve the airflow – as well as shade. It’s also important to ensure your pots have good drainage holes to prevent the roots from drowning.
Use a shade cloth
Set up a beach umbrella around certain plants suffering most, or hook up some cloth.
It’s important to ensure the material you use sustains a good level of airflow as well as shade from the sweltering sun.
Opt for a lighter shade of cloth if that’s all you have because as mentioned, darker colours will absorb the heat.
This method is particularly helpful for vegetables, according to Gardening Know How.
Give your plants some extra nutrients
If shade cloths aren’t for you, you can give your plants a boost with a few additional nutrients.
Check the plant’s fertiliser requirements before carrying this out, but organic materials are always best.
As well as mulch, coffee grounds are a good item to sprinkle on the soil to revitalise your plants or a slow-release fertiliser like Osmocote can help provide a good nutritional base.
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