Keeping the plants hydrated in this heat

Hello Dear Reader,

We are still experiencing a heat wave and it has taken a toll on my poor little garden. Because I have most plants in large pots they run out of water really quickly and I am constantly trying to save them from dying in this heat. I have a few planters that have wicking beds in them and they fair better than those that don't, I also buy the best potting mix I can afford that have water saving crystals to bolster the moisture available to the plants. Even so, almost within a day, the plants are crying out for water. Another factor that doesn't help is that all these pots sit on pavers that get very hot, conducting the heat to the plants through the planter base. All lessons that were learnt the hard way, or rather this is what not to do in a subtropical garden, especially when you don't have the luxury of time to care for plants in pots. They are not set and forget!

This gorgeous spider has set up home in my small veggie patch. It is quite a big one

Our garden plants are mostly in big pots as we actually have no usable garden space. I have one small "veggie" garden that I try to grow plants in, with varying degrees of success. I really am not a gardener, but I keep trying. As most of my big fruit trees are in pots, they require a lot of upkeep especially in this unbelievable, unrelenting heat we are currently experiencing. And, as I just don't have the time to water everyday I had to come up with a plan to keep them hydrated and not almost trying to die everyday.

I have put water filled, 2 litre bottles around the potted plants and the red paw paw trees, in the veggie patch. I have pierced the bottom of the bottles to allow the water to slowly trickle onto the plants over a period of time. I refill these bottle daily to try and keep the plants hydrated.

I also bought some more mulch and have mulched everything really deeply to prevent water loss. This time, we bought lucern mulch, it is much finer that the sugar cane mulch I had used previously and I think there is more nutrients available as well.

A Grumichama enjoying a drink

The Grumichama on the right and a Panama Berry on the left

This Panama Berry fairs far worse than any other fruit tree I have, it is extremely thirsty and will wilt badly if I don't water it daily. As you can see it has reached for the sky, I will have to read up on it and see when a good time is to prune it.

This Amaranth sapling was originally growing in my veggie pod but very quickly out grew the canopy of the pod, so I transplanted it in between my two, raised from saved seed, Red Paw Paw trees. It hasn't skipped a beat and is also reaching for the sky. I had staked it, thinking it would wilt when I transplanted it, but it never looked back.

Somehow these two Red Paw Paw trees overcame the black fungal spot that was ravaging them, both the leaves and the fruit were affected, they are now both completely free of black spot. I just kept snapping off the affected leaves and they bounced back. They must be a very hardy plant.

I gave the lemon myrtle and the pomegranate the same 2 litre pierced water bottle trick and both are doing fine.

The only plant that is thriving is the passionfruit vine. I hardly every water it directly, of course it gets water from the plants I water around it and I think its roots are well under the verandah, staying cool and hydrated

All of my herbs are in pots in a shady part of the garden and do better because of this. The golden canes and the fence protects them from the intense sun. I also have them raised for air flow.

How is your garden fairing in this mad heat? Are you experiencing extreme whether where you are? What do you do to help you garden cope with extremities?


  1. The weather here yesterday was the worst I've ever experienced. I live in Dubbo near Dunedoo where there was a major bush fire yesterday. The temp on Saturday was 44 and Sunday it was 46 with a killer hot wind. My small Garden beds are also in our paved court yard and I've been watering them more and for longer periods than last year. When we went away on holidays last month we set up a make shift watering system which we've been using ever since. I still have to hand water a few things though. I'm a firm believer in deep mulching as it's the only way water can be retained in the ground. I have also seen some people use shade cloth when the heat is very hot. Let's hope things get better soon 😀

  2. I have just come in from the garden now, Fi. Areas of it are looking bedraggled, as day upon day of high temperatures and the weekend's scorchers are taking their toll. I water deeply each morning - different parts of the garden on a bit of a rotation - and I handwater the veggie patch each day. There's not a lot left in there as I haven't planted anything for a while. There's a few stragglers - couple of cucumbers, zucchini - that we'll pick soon and then it will be time to get the veggie bed rested and ready for Autumn planting. My wicking barrels have some lettuce, spring onion in them and have coped well in the heat. Petunias too in the barrels cope well with heat and brighten things up. Meg:)


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