Happy blooms

Alisha Shinde
Saturday, 17 March 2018

Summers can be tough on all, including plants. To keep them happy and healthy during these few months, here’re a few easy steps to follow.

Flowers can brighten up your day. The colours are so refreshing that you instantly feel an energy bubble around you and get that spark to carry on life’s responsibilities. So it’s a good idea to have flowers at home or workplace (if they allow). Buy a bunch of fresh flowers or better still, get some flowering plants.

However, with rising temperatures and the onset of summer, the flowers may not stay fresh for long. Homemaker and nature lover Sunita Desai tells us a few easy ways to take care of flowering plants so that they survive the heat and grow out to be healthy and green.

Desai says that extra care during summer is mandatory for every living being, be it humans, animals or plants. “The key to survive summer is to stay hydrated, which is applicable to plants as well.” Hibiscus, rose, marigold, petunia and even lotus are some of the flowering plants which can survive Indian summer and flourish and blossom if proper care is taken. 

The plants need to be watered regularly in summer unlike the other months when one can water them at intervals. Desai further says that hanging plants and small pots may need watering twice a day whereas once a day is enough for the large pots. 

The best way to do it is by watering the plants till the water comes out of the drainage holes, which is also a way to know that the soil is getting moisture all the way to the bottom. One should place a plate under the pot so that the soil can draw water from the bottom of the pot but empty the plate from time to time as excess water may lead to rotting of the root resulting in fungus which may damage the plant. 

It is extremely necessary to keep plants away from direct sunlight because the sun is extremely harsh. “Also, in summer, a lot of dust settles down on the plants and flowers which is not good for the health of the plant,” says Desai, therefore it is important to splash some water on the leaves and exposed roots of the plants. 

Apart from water, buttermilk is also good for plants. “When diluted and poured in small quantities, the minerals in buttermilk boost the growth of the plant,” says Desai explaining that the plants become healthy and can survive the heat.

“Tea has always been a refreshing beverage for all because it instantly takes away one’s stress. Well, the same applies to plants,” says Desai and suggests that after straining the tea, the residue that is left behind should be mixed with water and added to the potted plant. This will not only ensure faster growth but also make the plant stronger and greener. 

However, it is important to cut off the dead and dried buds of the plant as it encourages the plant to keep producing more flowers. “For plants, which have many tiny flowers and stems, it is best to cut the entire plant to about half of its size,” says Desai.

Though it may look really small initially, one can  spot the difference in a week or so with the growth of new buds. 
Plants growing in containers need more fertiliser than those in planted in the ground. Why? Because the more you water, the more quickly you flush out the nutrients from the soil. However, during summer keep the use of fertilisers to a bare minimum or opt for water soluble fertilisers. 

Summers can be very harsh for plants, so it is important to dedicate at least some time to take care of them.

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