How to garden when the weather is hot

Just like us, plants need a little bit of TLC when it’s hot. But don’t worry, follow our advice and you (and your plant babies) will be as cool as a cucumber.

When is the best time to water my plants in a heatwave?

The best time to water plants in hot weather is early morning and late in the evening. But if you're not an early riser, don't worry, just water before it gets too hot in the day or wait until dusk.

You definitely want to avoid midday and early afternoon on scorchio days. When it’s really hot and sunny, water evaporates quickly, before it even gets a chance to give your plants a good drink.

You might have heard about leaf scorch when water droplets on leaves act as a magnifying glass, concentrating the sun’s rays and burning leaves. Sounds a bit James Bond and lasers, and yes, this can happen, but it’s not as dramatic as it sounds, and in most cases water will evaporate before it gets a chance to do any serious damage.

How to garden when the weather is hot
How to garden when the weather is hot

Do I water the plant leaves or the soil?

Try as much as possible to water at the base of plants, not on the leaves. The roots are where the water is needed, so you’re best to direct your efforts here.

Sometimes you can’t help but water the leaves, particularly if you’ve got a lot of plants growing together. But don’t worry, as long as you’re avoiding the middle of the day, the water will drip off the leaves and get down to the roots.

Do I need to water plants in pots more often when it's hot?

Yes, plants in pots/planters definitely need more water than those in the ground. Just by the nature of a smaller volume of compost they'll dry out quicker. On really hot days you may need to water pots twice - once in the morning and once at night.

How to garden when the weather is hot
How to garden when the weather is hot

Are some plants more susceptible to sun damage?

Acers are particularly susceptible to sun scorch. If plants are in pots, move to a more shaded part of the garden (or move out of the way of midday sun). Lots of other plants can suffer from sun scorch, but it is more a problem if we have sustained long periods of sun. And actually, wouldn’t that be nice for once?!

Should I put off sowing seeds or planting small plants in hot weather?

No, keep on sowing seeds and planting young plants. If seeds are in a greenhouse, make sure it is well ventilated on hot days. And consider putting up some shade cloth or paint.

With young plants, just keep on top of watering. If you’re planting in pots, move out of direct midday sun until plants are well established.

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