Why does summer impact your plant care routines?
One of the first things we encourage our customers to do is to adopt a "check on your plant schedule" rather than a "water your plant schedule". This is because any time there is an environmental shift, like there is during a seasonal change, it will impact your plant’s care needs. If you’re checking on your plant regularly, you’ll easily be able to adapt to your plant’s shifting needs.
The abundance of sun and warmth in the Summer stimulate the growing season for most houseplants. It’s such a satisfying time to be a plant tender. Every day seems to bring some new leaf, a little extra growth. To support that growth, your plants need consistent access to the right amount of light, water, nutrients, and space.
Plants are also vulnerable to ailments like sun scorching and dehydration thanks to the increased intensity of sun exposure and heat.
If you're ready to enjoy all of the bountiful growth this season brings with minimal stress, read on.
Hot temperatures and dry air conditioning impact your houseplant’s water needs in different ways.
When a plant is hot, it uses moisture from the soil to cool itself and the surrounding area. Have you ever walked into a forest on a hot summer day only to find it comfortably cool? It’s not just the shade!
As plants are drawing more water up from the soil, they will need to be watered more frequently. How much more frequently is dependent on the plant and your environment. Check the soil regularly with your finger or a tool like a chopstick and water whenever it’s reached its desired dry-out. For certain moisture-loving plants (looking at you ferns) this may be as often as daily.
On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place with an air conditioner the cool air may actually slow down the rate of your soil’s dry out.
While your plant might not need to draw as much water from the soil to cool itself in an air-conditioned home, air conditioning can cause issues with humidity-loving tropical plants and plants that are sensitive to drafts.
Be aware of your plant’s placement in relationship to air vents. You may also need to supplement humidity with a pebble tray, humidifier, micro mister, or by enclosing your plant in a terrarium or with a cloche.
Maintaining the right amount of light for your houseplant in the summer
Plants use sunlight to photosynthesize, but if they get too much they can get sun- scorched. You can prevent sun scorch by ensuring your plants are within their range of light tolerance. If you're not sure of your plant's light tolerance a quick search online should give you the basics. This lighting guide we shared on our instagram might also be helpful.
You may need to add a sheer curtain or slightly shift your plants if they are in a West or South facing window in particular. If you notice any white, brown or bleached spots on the top of your leaves, move your plant out of direct light to avoid further damage.
Unfortunately, leaves will not regain color after being sun-scorched, so it’s best to try and prevent it if possible.
While it’s tempting to put your plants outside to make the most of the sun, doing so abruptly can result in sun-scorch as well as stress from evening temperature drops. It also increases their vulnerability to pests that might be carried in on the wind.
Another thing to be conscious of when you are checking your plants for any signs of sun stress is their growth patterns. Because your plants are growing so quickly, they can become lopsided if they aren't rotated regularly.
When you water, give your plants a quarter turn to help encourage even growth.
How to fertilize your houseplant during its growing season
We recommend using Bacterial inoculant year round.
It helps the soil maintain a healthy nutrient system so your plant can receive everything that it needs. It’s also basically mistake-proof.
If you use too much bacterial inoculant it won't cause any harm to your plant or soil, it just won't be absorbed by the soil. It's a little like a probiotic for your plant. The soil is able to replenish it's healthy bacteria which in turn makes a nutrition system for your plant.
If you haven’t been using bacterial inoculant, you can include it in your next watering and then maintain it monthly, year round.
Is it ok to repot your houseplant during the Summer?
Because houseplants put out a majority of their growth during the summer, you might find that it quickly gets a bit to big for its britches…or at least its pot. Some plants will handle a little root binding better than others, so if possible it’s best to have a sense of your plant’s preference.
The good news is, Summer time is a great time to re-pot your houseplants (but we really encourage you to re-pot wherever your plant needs it, even if it's "not ideal").
Because plants are actively growing during the Summer, they bounce back more quickly from any negative reaction they might have to a repotting. Bonus, you'll likely be able to see an immediate burst in growth after repotting so it’s visually rewarding too.
If you're a repot at home kind of person It’s also much more comfortable to re-pot outside in the sun than it is during colder, wetter seasons.
Tip, if you are going to re-pot outside, do it in the morning or evening rather than the heat of the day for both you and your plant's comfort.
One thing to be mindful of when you repot in the summer is, if you increase the amount of soil the heat can trap the moisture in areas of the soil that are underutilized. This usually shows up as a sudden onset of soil gnats. To prevent this, you can aerate your soil with a chopstick until your plant grows into more of the pot. Using a specialized blend for your plant can also help keep unnecessary moisture at bay.
Give your houseplant regular spa days during the Summer
Excess dust can get carried in through open windows and end up on your plants foliage, blocking its access to the sun. But dust isn't the worst thing that can get carried through your windows! Pests that can be harmful to your plants wellbeing like spider mites and mealybugs can also travel in on a breeze.
Setting a day aside monthly to dust your plants leaves, check thoroughly for pests, and to apply a preventive treatment like neem oil to your plant's leaves can save you from the trouble later.
We offer plant spa treatments as one of our in store services, or check out our plant spa package if you'd like to start treating your plant at home.
Summer is a rewarding time to take care of your plants.