We certainly experience the extremes of every season here in Edmonton! Freezing winters, rainy springs, spectacularly colourful autumns, and summer heat waves are all par for the course. While we can cool down during a heat wave with swimming pools and frozen drinks, protecting our garden plants from the hot sun is a little more complicated. Luckily we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve to help you keep your plants hydrated and healthy all summer long.
How to Protect Garden Plants from Heat Waves and Hot Sun
Gardens don’t respond quite as well to sunscreen, cold beer, and popsicles. These sun-savvy heat wave survival tips will keep your garden cool for the summer.
Water Deeply in the Early Morning
Early morning watering is the easiest way to protect your plants’ roots from sudden heat waves. By watering while the soil is still cool, that moisture will act as insulation, and it will stay in the soil longer because the sun isn’t evaporating it immediately. If you water in the afternoon when the bright sun is beaming, you risk scalding your plants””moisture droplets that remain on the plant can get hot and burn the foliage.
Alternatively, you can water late at night once things have cooled down, but generally, you’ll see the best results from morning watering. Remember to water deeply””it’s much better to water deeply less often instead of a little bit every day as it will prevent the sun from drying up the water before your plants have a chance to soak it up.
Put Up a Sun Shade
A pop-up sun shade can help protect your plants if things are looking dire. You can purchase them from the garden centre or make your own DIY version with an old bedsheet. It’s a great quick fix for temporary relief from intense heat waves.
If your container gardens are light enough to move by yourself, you can move them to a shaded patio or a breezy sunroom until the weather cools down. Just be mindful about keeping your outdoor garden plants far away from your indoor houseplants to reduce the risk of pest infestations.
Deadhead Spent Flowers
If there are a bunch of fading flowers on your plants, they will eventually go to seed if they’re successfully pollinated. Producing seeds can use up to 30 percent of your plants’ energy! Your plant would be better off spending that energy on producing more blooms, healthy foliage, or conserving energy for next year’s growth spurt. If your plants are experiencing temperature stress, it will be harder to bounce back if they lack energy. Deadheading will help maintain your plants’ energy reserves to keep growing!
To deadhead your flowers, cut the stems with sanitized hand pruners just above the first set of leaves. You can use your fingers to pinch off tender herbaceous plants like pansies or petunias.
Spread Some Mulch
We’ll shout it from the rooftop of Salisbury Greenhouse if we have to: mulch makes gardening so much easier! It acts as a physical barrier, blocking the sun from heating up the soil; this keeps things cooler and slows down moisture evaporation. Plus, it has the added benefit of blocking weed seeds from germinating, slowly delivering nutrients into the soil as it decomposes over time. Spread a 2-inch layer across the soil, making sure not to pile it up around the base of your plants.
Choose Heat-Tolerant Flowers
If you’re having trouble keeping your garden green and happy through our summer heat waves, it might be worth switching to more heat-tolerant varieties!
Some of our favourite heat-tolerant perennial plants for Edmonton include:
- “˜Summerific’ Hardy Hibiscus
If you’re looking for summer annuals, these bad boys can take the heat:
Remember to keep yourself cool and protected from the sun while gardening in extreme heat waves! Don’t skimp on the SPF, wear a hat, and drink lots of water. You know where to find us if you need any new plants or supplies for your garden in Edmonton. Enjoy your summer!