Houseplant Jobs For Summer

Summer is the most active time for many house and patio plants. Sunlight is at its strongest, the temperature is at its highest, and plants respond by growing and flowering. For this they need energy from food and water, and it’s up to you to keep them satisfied.

Many summer tasks are general ones: removing faded flowers, pinching out to encourage bushy growth and keeping plants tidy. Other tasks, such as providing high humidity, are mainly seasonal.

Working Calendar - Summer

Feed and water generously

Feed most house plants every one or two weeks, using dilute liquid fertilizer, as instructed on the label. Don’t overfeed – it does more harm than good – and don’t feed newly bought or re-potted plants. Bromeliads and Stag’s-Horn Fern appreciate a ‘foliar’ feed: spray dilute liquid fertilizer directly onto the leaves. Pelargoniums always flower better when underfed.

House plants need varying amounts of water – Desert Cacti, for example, need less than Umbrella Plant. Whatever the maximum amount of water is for a particular plant, summer is usually the time to give it. For most house plants, this means watering thoroughly, then letting the top lcm ( 1/2 inches) potting mixture dry out before watering again.

Increase humidity and ventilation Plants that like moist air need higher humidity, the hotter it is. In summer, people spray greenhouse floors and staging with water, or ‘damp them down’, to increase humidity. You can’t do that in your home, but you can increase humidity locally around tropical and thin-leaved plants.

Mist-spray the leaves.

Place the pot in a larger pot and fill the space between with damp peat.

Group plants on a gravel filled-tray kept topped up with water.

Open windows on humid days, so the E plants benefit from the humidity.

A Opening the windows also gives house plants the fresh air they need. If it’s stuffy for you indoors, chances are, it’s also stuffy for the plants! Avoid draughts, which dry out leaves.

Place plants outside

After the last frost, place the house plants listed on the back cover in a sheltered spot outdoors. The sun helps ripen the woody growth, so they flower or fruit well the following season. Rain washes the dust off the leaves and increases the humidity, and fresh air helps ripen wood and build up the plant’s resistance to pests and diseases. Keep an eye on the weather and avoid placing plants near corners where they could blow over.

Shade plants from hot sunlight

If you haven’t already done so, move all plants except cacti and succulents away from south-facing windowsills; or put up net curtains, to filter the light. Outdoors, provide light shade for house plants, too, except for cacti and succulents. Remember that plants on a sunny patio get extra heat and light reflected off the paving.

Watch out for pests

Greenfly, blackfly and whitefly are just a few of the pests that also enjoy an active summer! Keep your eyes open for the first sign of a problem, especially on tender new growth, and treat quickly with insecticide. Check, too, the undersides of any curled or disfigured leaves. If you discover pests, move the plant to an isolated spot.

Patio plant care

Most of the summer tasks for house plants apply to patio plants, too – especially generous watering and feeding. Pots and window-boxes may need watering several times a week, or even once a day. Hanging baskets may need watering twice a day. The smaller the container, the more often it needs watering; peat-based potting mixtures dry out quicker than loam-based ones. If you go on holiday, move the plants to a shady spot, if possible, and ask a neighbour to check on them every few days to see that they are safe and healthy and have not dried out from lack of watering.

Summer vegetables on the patio

Lettuce, Tomatoes, Radishes, Spring Onions, Runner Beans, baby Carrots and Beetroot are perfect for grow bags or large pots. Sow Lettuce, Carrots, Radish, Spring Onion and Beetroot little and often, or in succession, for long-lasting supplies. This way, you can ensure a fresh supply throughout the summer months. You can also buy young Lettuce, Runner Bean and Tomato plants, ready grown. Provide a steady supply of water, and stakes for Runner Beans and Tomatoes. With Tomatoes, nip out any shoots that form where branches meet the main stems. Once the tiny fruits are visible on the bottom truss, feed weekly with special Tomato fertilizer. Once six trusses form, pinch out the top; as the fruit ripen, remove a few of the lower leaves.

Many plants look their best now, but as well as enjoying them, you should help them make the most of summer by giving them special attention.

Get ready for holidays

Watering all plants thoroughly before you go on holiday is common sense, but there are several other useful things you can do:

  • Ask a reliable friend or neighbour to tend your plants while you’re away.
  • Use self-watering pots.
  • Connect the plants to tubular self-watering systems.
  • Place plants on a length of self-watering capillary matting.
  • Move all plants to the coolest room of the house.
  • Plunge pots in larger containers filled with moist peat.
  • Remove flowers, to prevent disease attacking faded blooms, and to encourage new flowers to form for when you return.
  • Postpone buying any new house plants until you get home.

Flower Care Checklist

  • Lift and dry off spring bulbs such as Hyacinths, Daffodils and Tulips, then store for planting next autumn.
  • Dead-head flowers, especially annuals, Sweet Peas and Roses.
  • Cut back rockery plants, such as Alyssum and Aubrieta, when flowering is finished. Use shears to give them a `hair cut’, and keep them tidy.
  • Plant Madonna Lilies, Colchicums and Autumn-Flowering Crocus bulbs in midsummer.
  • Sow, thin and pot up seeds of Forget-Me-Not, Double Daisies and Canterbury Bells to flower next spring.

General tasks

  • Weed pots and tubs, and make sure weeds don’t smother slow-growing plants in a sink garden.
  • Summer is the time to harvest herbs. Tie them in bunches and hang to dry.
  • Make sure weeds are carefully removed from tubs and pots in the growing season.
  • Watch out for pests and diseases, and spray as and when necessary.
  • Take cuttings of Lavender, Rosemary and Thyme.
  • Start harvesting and drying herbs, before they flower.

House Plants To Place Outside During Summer

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