A hot balcony or rooftop can be a challenging environment for a pot plant. As we move into summer here in Europe we’d like to share our top 5 watering tips:
1. put your plants in the right place
Plants in the full sun dry out very quickly. Check out how many hours of sunlight per day your plant needs and position it appropriately. You may think “the sunnier the better”, but many plants prefer semi shade. In a heatwave, even plants that like full sun will appreciate bring moved into a shadier spot temporarily.
2. water when it is cool
Water either in the late evening or early morning. If you have a drip irrigation system where the leaves of the plants won’t get wet then water in the evening when the sun has gone down. If you spray water over the leaves then water in the early morning to help prevent fungal infections. Watering in the full sun can not only damage the leaves if they are wet, but you will lose a lot of your water to evaporation before the plant even gets a look in!
3. keep your soil cool
Using mulch (dead plant matter such as leaves, straw etc) on the top of the soil can help keep it cool in summer and reduce evaporation. Larger pots also help keep your soil cooler so that it can retain moisture longer.
4. use saucers under your pots
Why watch your water running out of the bottom of the pots where your plants can’t access it anymore? Place deep saucers under your pots to catch any runoff for the plant to absorb gradually.
5. use drippers instead of sprayers
Spraying water on your plants is a less efficient way to water them, so investing in a drip irrigation system will certainly save you water. If you are the kind of person who forgets / lacks time to water your plants you might also consider purchasing a timer tap which you can set to automatically turn on after the sun has gone down. This way your plants get watered for you whilst you get on with your life! Such systems are readily available at garden centres.