So far, the growing season in Colorado has been wonderful, with plenty of rain and temperatures staying mild in the spring. But summer has arrived and hot temperatures are on the way. Whether you're a beginner or a super green thumb, it's important to keep vigilant of your plants in the heat. If your body feels the change in the weather, likely so will your plants.
Signs your plant needs help
As you would guess, plants that prefer cool air do not do well in the heat, like poppies, dahlias and many vegetables. Most plants we grow in Colorado can handle the hot temperatures themselves. The main problem heat brings to plants is drying of the soil. Signs that your plant is under heat stress, include wilting and drooping of the leaves. Plants may also shed leaves in an attempt to use less water in general. Cactus, succulents, and hearty leafed plants can conserve water better, and won't need to be monitored as closely.
How to keep your plants healthy
Robin Boutilier from Good Earth Garden center emphasizes that "if we were used to watering on a certain schedule when we were cool and rainy, we may need to up, not only the frequency of water, but the amount of water that we are giving our plants." Good ol' H2O can go a long way, and you should check soil moisture daily. You can purchase moisture meters from many hardware stores and grocers for low prices. Using your finger to measure soil moisture a few inches deep works as well.
Laying down mulch is a good preventative measure to take ahead of the warm season. Mulch will keep moisture in the soil longer by preventing evaporation.
If you have adequately watered and your plant is still looking sad, try limiting it's sunshine for a few hours per day. You can put a shade over your plants or move potted plants to a covered area during peak heating hours.
Don't forget indoor plants too! While there is some level of climate control indoors, more hours of sunlight during the summer can dry out soil quicker.