Healthy Summer Plants

rl wedell backyard table

The highs and lows of summer can be hard on your plants. Keep them happy and healthy during the summertime.

High temperatures and low precipitation can play havoc with your plants health. Water is manageable but we can’t control the temperatures outside. 2021 has brought a recording setting heat wave to the northwest. Days of 100° plus temperatures and weeks of more than 80° will harm if not kill many of your garden plants. Here are a few tips to keep your plants healthy and happy in the summertime.

plan your plantings. planting
  • Plant sun tolerant plants in sunny areas. Plants that are less tolerant in shady areas.
  • Prepare your soil for sunny and shading planting areas. Shady areas should have sandy soil to prevent drainage problems. Sunny areas should have more organic material to absorb water and increase saturation while slowing evaporation.
  • Group drought-tolerant plants together to help with watering control.

To read more on planting and watering, go here to read “Drown or Drought – It’s one or the other in the Puget Sound.”

General Tips girl-spraying-flowers

Now that you have your soil right and your plants planted in the right areas of your yard, here are a few general tips on keeping them healthy.

  • Keep insects like aphids under control by spraying both upper and lower leaves with neem or pyola oil on a weekly cycle. Insects such as ladybugs also help.
  • Prune all spring blooming bushes such as azaleas, rhododendrons and lilacs by mid-summer so that they can begin their new growth for next spring.
  • Prune rose bushes after first bloom and pinch back summer and fall perennials to keep them healthy and stagger blooming times.
  • Even during the heart of summer it is not to late to plant summer blooming bulbs like dahlias and quick-blooming summer seeds like sunflowers and cosmos.

Extreme Summer Temperatures heat damaged plants

Don't let this happen to your plants.

watering flowers

Extremely high temperatures in the Northwest are not only uncomfortable but can be dangerous for people and plants. There are things you can do to help your plants stay healthy when temperatures reach 90° plus.

Care for yourself while you care for your plants!

  • Keep hydrated. Carry a water bottle and use it.
  • Garden in the morning before the hottest part of the day.
  • Wear a hat and use sunscreen.
  • Don’t overdo it. Limit the time you spend in the sun and heat.

Now that you are ready to garden in the heat, here are some tips to keep your plants healthy.

  • Water in the morning before the worst heat.
  • Water deeply, at least to 6 inches down, and close to the plant to insure water reaches the roots.
  • Containers and hanging baskets will need more frequent watering. Use your finger to check the soil often. If dry, water.
  • watering flowers
  • Move containers and baskets to shadier spots if possible.
  • Mulch around plants to slow down evaporation. Straw, compost and peat moss work well.
  • Use shade cloth. Temperatures under shade cloth can be 10 degrees lower, will stop direct sunlight and reduce evaporation. Rig up a frame to support the cloth. Try not to lay directly on the plants so they will have more air circulation. Shade cloth can be found at garden stores and Amazon here.
  • Don’t stress the plant by transplanting, pruning or fertilizing.
  • Move seedlings to shadier spots.

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