When the temperatures relentlessly climb, and there is no relief in the foreseeable future, it can take a toll on our health and also our plants. If your indoor plants are safely inside your air-conditioned home, then there is no need to worry. Still, if you are conserving energy by unplugging from the grid or living in a home without central air-conditioning, you will want to make some critical plant care moves to get your green friends through the heat spell.
Made in the Shade
Extreme heat is more intense with glaring sunlight, so if you have houseplants in your windowsill, front patio, solarium, or in a very bright room that receives direct sunlight throughout the day, move your plants away from the direct rays of the sun. Find a setting that allows your plants to access filtered or ambient light, as an extreme change in lighting may cause your light-loving plants to decline. Once the heatwave is over, you can place them back in their former location.
More Water Isn't Always the Answer
The hotter it may get, it's more tempting to water your plants often. This is true for plants that consistently receive over 8 hours of direct or bright-indirect light each day. Houseplants that are shaded from the sun's intense rays take longer to absorb the moisture in the soil, and when you add high humidity to the equation, they will lose moisture even more slowly! Check the soil's moisture content before you water your indoor plants. Overwatering during a heat wave can cause the roots to decay very quickly. Practice safe watering, which means water only when the soil is partially or completely dry, and water the soil thoroughly when it's time!
Bring on the Breeze
Stagnant hot air is a plant's nemesis! Moist, still air can be a breeding ground for pests, fungus, and bacteria, and the best way to increase airflow in your home is to use a fan. Even a warm wind is better than nothing and will help your houseplants fight off spider mites and other critters that appear out of nowhere on hot, sluggish summer days.
There are a few things that your indoor plants do not need during a heatwave!
- Like humans and animals, plants lose their appetite when broiling outside (or inside)! Refrain from fertilizing them until the temperatures drop to a comfortable level.
- Put down the pruners and resist shaping your plants or removing any damaged materials, as open cuts are an invitation for problems.
- Avoid getting water on plants with tiny hairs (pubescence) leaves. The droplets are supported by tiny hairs and can act like a magnifying glass. The sun's rays can burn the foliage and damage the leaf's surface.