Question of the Week
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First, move somewhere cooler! But really, it's easy to have lush container gardens in spring, but it can be tough in summer. So, first, be sure to pick plants that can really take the heat. And like in flowerbeds and borders, suit the plant for its site. In addition, “full sun” may not be the best thing for a container plant on a western-facing white-rocked patio. Others thrive on that situation, but most of our container plants appreciate some afternoon shade. Select accordingly.
Next, use large containers. This will cut down on your watering chores and reduce plant stress since its roots won't dry out as quickly.
On containers, think about the material. I have some cast iron pots that are just too hot for plants in summer. The light weight polycarbonates that are sort of insulated seem to help. When you select your container, think about the plants that will be in it. Some plants want more even moisture, where succulents and cacti want a well-draining situation that “breathes.”
Cute small containers are just that and may only be best for temporary settings. Again, it depends on the situation and the plant. But putting a plant in a tiny container in direct sun in July will usually not meet with great success!
Adequate water. Avoid drying out the plant but also avoid drowning it. Like plants in the ground, this may take some experimenting. It will depend on the container, potting soil, temperature, humidity, wind, and the plant itself.
Mulch. It looks nice, protects the leaves from disease splashing up, and conserves moisture.
Deadhead/clean up. In a large garden, it's easier to get away with a little laziness. Up close in a featured container, scruffiness is more evident. If it's a flowering plant, this will encourage a bushier form and more flowers. If a foliar plant, keep it cleaned up from spent leaves if necessary.