Planting in the summer, five tips and tricks
Who doesn't love summer? Long days, warm nights, a time to take it easy. And our houseplants love summer too. For them, summer is the growing season. It's the time of year when the conditions are just right for strong growth. And during this time, adjusting water, light, and possibly changing a plant's decor can help them have the best summer ever, just like you. Read on for our top five tips and tricks for summer plant care.
1. Keep plants hydrated
Good advice for every living thing. You will probably water your houseplants more often in the summer than in the fall and winter. Obvious signs such as wilting, leaf curling or wrinkles - combined with dry potting soil - mean your plant needs more water. If your schedule allows, water plants in the early morning or evening, when the sun is at its lowest, to avoid burning the plant and evaporating the water. If your potting soil dries out super fast between waterings, you can help it retain moisture by placing rocks or mulch on top of the soil.
If you're going on vacation this summer and need more long-term hydration solutions, here's our tricks for keeping your houseplants alive while you're away.
2. Check sun exposure
Summer is sunny and hot. If your foliage plants are in a location that receives strong, direct sunlight, consider putting a curtain over the window, especially during the afternoon. You can also move your plants a little further from the window than where they were in winter, toward the center of the room.
Turn your plants every other week or every two weeks so that each side gets the same amount of sun. This prevents them from tilting. Not sure if the light your plant gets in the summer is too warm? Put your hand under the light in the afternoon. If it's too hot for you, it's probably too hot for your plant. Desert dwellers such as cacti are an exception to this rule of thumb.
3. Chill with the air conditioning
It's tempting to feel a cold breeze when you step in from the outside, but don't leave the AC on or set the temperature slightly higher, especially when you're not at home. Your plants will be happier and you will save some money on your energy bill. As a general rule, keep all plants away from air conditioners. Succulents prefer it warm and dry, and air conditioning does just the opposite. And most other houseplants come from tropical environments, so the warmer and more humid, the better. You can increase humidity by grouping similar plants or using a humidifier (yes, even in summer).
4. Feel free to fertilize
If you didn't start fertilizing in the spring, summer is your best chance to fertilize and make it count. It can be important for the long-term health of your plant. Choose a fertilizer with an NPK ratio. N for nitrogen, P for phosphorus, and K for potassium indicate the three most consumed macronutrients that plants need. Not sure if your fertilizer contains these ingredients? Look on the packaging for a number that says something like 10-15-10.
5. Move plants outside
It's hard to stay indoors in the summer. Plants can also benefit from being outside for a while. If you plan to move your plants outside in the summer, make sure that this is done gradually and that the temperature is consistently above 18 degrees Celsius at night. First place them in the shadier spot you can find, then gradually move to a spot with a little more light, but avoid direct sunlight. A shady spot outside is just like the sunniest spot inside, especially in the summer. Learn more about successfully moving your plants outside for the summer here.