Ontario and Quebec are experiencing a heat wave with hot, humid weather. This is the type of weather that can end up killing off a few container plants. The problem is even if the container is watered thoroughly in the morning by early afternoon it may need watering again. This year I added SoilMoist™ granules to my non-edible planters to help with water management but even that is proving to be minimally effective against this heat wave. Every home gardener has at some point encountered a plant under stress due to lack of water. There are a few ways that I deal with this problem.
- containers - I move the container to a shady location then water the soil well trying not to get the foliage wet. Wetting the foliage when a plant is quite wilted can cause further stress. I keep an eye of the plant then once fully recovered I move it back to where it was.
- in the garden - From time to time one or more plants will show stress due to drying conditions. The biggest problem here is reviving the plant without causing further damage to it or other plants. Since the garden bed can't be moved it is very important to not get foliage wet where water droplets can act as a magnifying glass causing burning from the sun's rays. I water around the base of the affected plants enough to get them through to the evening watering.
- general watering - During a heat wave like this I deep water if needed twice a day. I water as early in the morning as possible as soon as any dew is off the plants. I water again in the evening allowing enough time for the soil surface to dry before it gets dark. Twice a day watering for container plants is pretty much a must during a heat wave. The larger raised beds are usually fine with one deep watering per day.
- shading - During high heat wave periods I temporarily hang shade cloth to help shade some of the more sensitive plants in the gardens during the heat of the day. Shading simply reduces the temperature around those plants to slow the evapouration of soil moisture.