How many times do we say or hear, “But it’s a dry heat?”
Although we are in our “hot spell” (a “spell” that lasts for four months), we still want our landscape pots filled with flowers and color. I know I do! Therefore, this month, I will offer tips on how to keep your pots going so that you can enjoy them when you are in town.
First: Make sure your pots are being adequately watered. Depending on when you planted your summer flowers, your roots will be in the top 4 to 6 inches of soil. You must be sure that when you water, the water is going deep enough.
Shade pots need water every other day, if not more often. Pots in the sun need water daily. (This assumes that you have used large pots—20 inches or greater—and that you planted summer flowers. These tips do not refer to cactus in pots.)
• Water all pots in the early morning. Spend the coolest part of the day with your pots and your favorite morning beverage.
• Be sure to let the hot water run from your hose before using it on your plants.
• Water each pot thoroughly—only if the top 2 inches of soil is dry. (Go ahead and stick your finger in the dirt.)
• Use the shower setting on your hose nozzle, or use a watering can with a shower nozzle.
• Water the entire area of the soil. It is fine to get the leaves and flowers wet.
• An average of 30 seconds of the shower setting is usually enough water for a 20-to-24-inch pot. Larger pots need a proportionately increased amount of time.
• Water should drain out from the bottom drainage holes.
• If your plants wilt in the late afternoon, make sure the soil is still moist then. If it is, the wilt is heat wilt and not water wilt. They should recover by the next morning. If you would like to give the plants a misting in the afternoon, they will appreciate it—but make sure the water coming out of the hose is cool. If your pots are drying out during the day, they may need additional water in the afternoon.
Marylee is the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Email her with comments and questions firstname.lastname@example.org.