Beat the heat: our Summer tips for indoor plants
Each season that passes requires changes in the way we care for our indoor gardens. No more so than the hot Australian summer. Our plant guru Claire Greenhill shares her top tips for looking after your house plants in the heat.
1. Water more regularly (a lot!)
Plants become more thirsty in the heat. You'll need to water more regularly and more deeply. Your plants' water needs will increase with more daylight hours and heat increasing photosynthesis and evaporation rates. You still want them to dry out a teensy bit between waterings, so make sure you are feeling the soil still in between.
2. Consider your plant placement
As the weather changes so will the position of the sun, you'll need to accommodate for the heat and direct light coming through windows. Move plants away from super hot spots if necessary. If you see scorched leaves your plant needs a cooler spot a little away from the window. Also if it is sweltering you may want to put the blinds down for part of the day (great for passively cooling your home too!)
3. Avoid the air con
Easier said than done, however if you can position your plants 2 metres or further from air conditioners this will give them the best chance to thrive. Getting blasted by cool dry air is not good for indoor plants. If your eyes are dry from airconditioning use, you plants will be feeling it too, so consider placing shallow dishes with pebbles and water in them under plants to increase humidity.
4. Pests love the heat
It's time to be vigilant for both pests and diseases. The hot weather means lovely fresh growth on your plants, but also supports bugs, fungal and bacterial outbreaks. For pests, quarantine your plant, remove the worst affected foliage, wipe or hose away insects and if necessary spray with an organic pest spray. You can make your own with water, a few drops of dishwashing liquid (greywater safe) and a few drops of edible oil.
For fungal or bacterial outbreaks water the soil not the plant and cut away the infected portion of plant taking a margin of healthy tissue using sterile sharp snips
5. Hold the oils
In the extreme heat, avoid using pest sprays like horticultural oil or insecticidal soap on your plants. If you must treat your plants make sure they are in a dark, cool spot and never in direct light. This is akin to applying tanning oil and lying in the sun, your plants may burn.
Claire Greenhill is a landscape architect and keen plantswoman. Claire runs regular plant care workshops at Stackwood. Up next is Indoor Plant Knowhow on Saturday 1st of February. You'll also find her and our other plant gurus in store 7 days a week!
Photos by Rae Fallon