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How to Protect Potted Plants in a Heatwave

A collection of potted plants on the back deck of a house.

The past few summers have set some serious heat records, which means outdoor potted plants face a battle for survival. A heat wave can be merciless for your plants; they need your support to make it through.

Thankfully, with the right strategies, you can turn your outdoor oasis into a resilient haven for your beloved greens. Let’s delve into a toolkit of tips that will help you protect potted plants in a heatwave and keep them happy and healthy.

How to Protect Potted Plants in a Heatwave

Understanding proper plant care goes a long way in helping your plants survive any type of weather. That includes a heat wave. The basics of getting your plant through a heat wave are managing water and light levels. Here are some specific ways you can do that:

Invest in Some Shade

A sun shade protects a backyard patio from the sun.

Just as we seek shelter from the sun’s intense rays, your potted plants need shade as well—especially during a heat wave. Setting up sun protection for plants can make your outdoor space more comfortable for you as well as for your plants.

A shade cloth, an umbrella, or even an old bed sheet if you’re in a pinch suspended above your plants can act as a protective shield against the scorching sun. This simple yet effective strategy helps prevent leaf burning and dehydration, ensuring your plants remain cooler and more vibrant.

JIWINNER 65%-75% 6.5'x10'Black Sunblock Shade

A sunblock shade can make all the difference when trying to keep your plants alive this summer.

Extra Hydration

A man waters his outdoor plant collection.

As temperatures soar, watering plants in a heatwave becomes a bit more complicated. Your plants’ water intake is going to increase. That means you need to increase the frequency of watering but remember…consistency is key.

Water deeply and early in the day, allowing the soil to absorb moisture before the sun turns it into a vapor. A moisture meter can be your best friend in this scenario, ensuring you never over or under water your precious potted companions.

Hathdia Soil Moisture Meter

A meter can help you track your plant's moisture levels during the heat.

Consider Plant Cover Options

A plant covered against the elements.

Much like our skin benefits from some protection from the sun, your potted plants will appreciate an extra layer of defense too. While a sun shade is one way to get sun protection for plants, you can also use plant covers.

These are often made from materials like burlap or reflective fabric and can help regulate the soil temperature and prevent your plant from getting excessively hot. They’re normally used to protect against frost, but they can also come in handy in an excessive heat wave.

As you protect your potted plants, not only are you preventing root damage, but you’re also ensuring your plants are insulated against the peak of a heatwave.

Toolifer Plant Covers Freeze Protection

If you're desperate for help from the heat, plant covers can help provide some extra protection.

Add Mulch

A person adds soil to their outdoor potted plants.

Think of mulch as a layer of protection for your plant’s root system. A layer of organic mulch helps retain soil moisture, regulate temperature, and prevent weeds from competing for water. The eco-friendly protective layer also shields your plant’s roots from the intense heat, creating a conducive environment for growth even amid a heatwave.

100% Natural Cedar Chips/Shavings Mix

A layer of mulch can help retain moisture and save your plants from dehydration.

Relocation Strategies

A woman relocates a pot of flowers.

Just like we seek cooler spots during a heatwave, consider moving your potted plants to shadier areas. Temporarily relocating your plants to a cooler corner of your patio or deck can provide a reprieve from the blistering sun.

If your plants are portable, this dance can be their ticket to comfort and survival. You can even bring them inside, place them under your deck, or find a temporary home for them so they can survive the heatwave.

Plant Caddy with Lockable Wheels

Making your plants easier to move can help you keep them in shaded, cooler areas.

Create a Group

Outdoor potted placed placed close together on a shelf.

Strength lies in numbers, and your potted plants are no exception. Pushing all your potted plants together can help them better survive a heat wave.

Grouping your plants together creates a microclimate of increased humidity and shared shade. This teamwork helps reduce moisture loss and keeps the air around them cooler. It’s a strategy that demonstrates nature’s camaraderie at its best.

VyGrow Plant Stand

Keeping your plants grouped together can help them provide more shade and humidity for each other.

Heat waves are serious business for your outdoor potted plants. If you want them to survive, you will need to take action. Always remember that shade goes a long way in helping them survive and you will need to adjust your watering routine. A little proactive care goes a long way in nurturing the resilience of your potted companions and creating a welcoming outdoor space.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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