You are the master of patio plants. Every inch of your deck is a tapestry of blooms that is the talk of the neighborhood. But, lurking over the horizon is summer: a season that is both spectacular and burdensome. Heat can turn your flower festooned patio into a drooping dry mess.
How do you coexist with a season that can halt all your hard work? It’s actually easier than you think. With a few preventative steps, you can make your container garden outshine even the hot sun.
The Right Pot For the Job
Life’s too short for both you and your plants to buy cheap pots. While terracotta is a nice choice, consider getting a glazed ceramic/terracotta since they tend to keep in moisture better during the hot months. Also, consider fabric pots which aerates plant’s roots and keeps the soil much cooler than standard plastic pots. Plus, larger containers should always be used instead of small containers. Your plant will have time to grow in a bigger container, and it will keep you from having to constantly transplant from one pot to the next.
Water, Deadhead, Fertilize, Repeat!
Following these three (and a half) rules will keep your plants happy even when the sun is unrelenting…
● Watering: Rain is always your friend, but it’s not adequate for your patio plants since it is typically not enough to soak even small pots. Containers need a thorough soaking for your plants to beat the heat. Patio plants need much more water than ground plants, sometimes up to twice a day. The soil should be kept moist, but not saturated. Plus, never let your soil totally dry out.
● Fertilizing: Since you have to water more with patio plants, you have to realize that nutrients will leach out of the soil quicker. Granular fertilizers come in a variety of ratios (5-5-5, 3-7-4) for your plant’s needs. The first number is nitrogen, which give your plants the most growth. If you’re looking for that bloom potential, even in the heat, buy a fertilizer that’s heavy on phosphorus (the second number) and potassium (the third number). Follow the instructions on how much to add in the container, and scratch the fertilizer in on the soil surface. Depending on the formula, the feed can last from two weeks to two months. And, if possible, go organic.
● And more fertilizing: Yes, diligent gardener, you have been on top of the fertilizing regimen, but it’s optimal to do a bi-weekly or weekly feed with a liquid organic fertilizer. A nice mix of organic fish and seaweed emulsion will keep the blooms and growth going. And, never liquid fertilize in the middle of the day or straight into dry soil.
● Deadhead: There always comes that sad day when the flowers lose their luster and being their droopy decline. But, all is not lost. Picking the spent blooms means that the plant will deliver more flowers very soon. This is especially true for annuals, since proper deadheading can extend their life.
Some of the Best
Bloomstruck Hydrangea: This vibrant bloomer greets you with round lavender flowers from early summer well into fall. In fact, it blooms 10 to 12 weeks longer than the standard hydrangea. Plus, it’s heat and drought tolerant, and it resists all pests and disease.
Black Bamboo Plants: This is a gorgeous addition to your patio, giving it a tropical flair that not even regular bamboo can replicate. The deep black color of the canes contrasts perfectly with the light green foliage. And, it loves the heat, and it is fuss free.
Mandevilla ‘Crimson Red’: One of the most dramatic looking plants for the patio. This blooming beauty shows it stuff from spring all the way into fall. It’s perfect for a trellis setting, and it can climb up to 20 feet. Birds, bees, and butterflies will accompany you on the patio as they hang out amidst the bright red flowers. The hot sun is of no consequence to the Mandevilla. Plus, you only need to water when the soil dries out in the top 3 inches.