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Heat waves & your garden.


Article by Eliot Shier

Photography by Eliot Shier

How to Keep Your Garden Healthy During a Heatwave

The scorching heat of a summer heatwave can pose significant challenges to the health and vitality of your garden. Rising temperatures and prolonged drought can cause stress to plants, deplete soil moisture, and increase the risk of pests and diseases. However, with proper care and proactive measures, it is possible to keep your garden thriving even in the hottest of conditions. In this article, we will explore essential tips and techniques to help you maintain a healthy garden during a heatwave. From selecting heat-tolerant plants to implementing effective watering strategies and providing necessary shade, we will guide you through the steps to ensure your garden stays vibrant and resilient through the hottest summer days.


When the mercury rises, our leafy friends also feel the heat. Plants can wilt, wither, and undergo stress when exposed to high temperatures for prolonged periods. This can result in stunted growth, reduced fruit production, and even death for more delicate species. It's like trying to survive a heatwave without air conditioning - not fun! Heatwaves have a way of making the earth parched and thirsty, just like we become after devouring a bag of salty chips. The scorching sun can rapidly evaporate soil moisture, leaving your poor plants gasping for water. In extreme cases, the soil can become bone-dry, making it difficult for roots to absorb the precious liquid they need to survive.

Plants can't complain about sunburns or ask for a glass of water, but they have their own ways of showing distress. Keep an eye out for wilting leaves, yellowing or browning foliage, and drooping stems. These are clear signs that your plants are feeling the heat and need some TLC. When the going gets tough, the tough get growing! Look for plant varieties that are known to withstand scorching temperatures like champions. Cacti, succulents, and Mediterranean herbs like rosemary and thyme are the botanical equivalents of sun-worshipping beach bums. They can handle the heat like it's a walk in the park.

If you want plants that can handle the heatwave with grace and resilience, go native! Local plant species have evolved to thrive in your area's natural conditions, which often include hot and dry summers. These tough cookies can handle the summer heat better than a snowman on the beach. Plus, they attract local wildlife, which is like inviting your neighbors to a backyard barbecue - a win-win situation!

Don't let the heatwave crush your dreams of a bountiful vegetable garden. Opt for varieties that can handle the extra sizzle. Heat-tolerant vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, along with herbs like basil and oregano, can brave the heat and still deliver deliciousness to your plate.

When the sun is blasting and the air feels like a sauna, watering becomes a matter of survival for your plants. It's like offering a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade to someone stranded in the desert - a true lifesaver! Watering helps replenish the moisture lost through evaporation and keeps plants functioning properly, helping them beat the heat. Consistency is key when it comes to watering during a heatwave. Rather than giving your plants sporadic sips, provide them with deep and thorough watering sessions. This encourages roots to grow deeper, making them more resilient to drought.

Make your plants work for their water like they're sweating it out in a hot yoga class. Watering deeply and infrequently will encourage roots to grow deeper into the soil in search of moisture. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses can help deliver water directly to the roots, avoiding evaporation losses. It's like giving your plants their own personal water supply, minus the room service and poolside cabana - they'll thank you nonetheless!

Creating shade with umbrellas, shade Cloths, and structures can give your plants some respite from the scorching sun by providing them with shady spots to cool off. Umbrellas, shade cloths, or even creating structures like pergolas can help cast a cooling shadow over your garden. Mulch is also a great tool to use! Mulch is like a superhero cape for your garden. It keeps the soil cool, reduces evaporation, and prevents weeds from crashing the party. Spread a thick layer of organic mulch like straw or wood chips around your plants to shield their roots from the blazing heat. It's like giving your garden a stylish makeover while simultaneously protecting it from the heatwave - a win-win for both fashion and functionality!

Just like a cool breeze can provide relief on a hot day, windbreaks and barriers can shield your garden from harsh winds, which can exacerbate moisture loss. Fences, shrubs, or even strategically placed trellises can help create a protective barrier, reducing evaporation and keeping your plants happy.

Now that you're armed with these tips, go forth and conquer the heatwave with your green thumb! Remember, even plants deserve a little TLC during the summer months. Happy gardening!