Keep Tropicals Blooming

We’ve made it through one month of summer, yet we still have two-three months of scorching heat to endure.  And to the degree of which you are feeling heat fatigue, consider that your plants are most likely feeling the same fatigue. 

Through these times of intense sunlight, hot temperatures and saturating humidity, keeping your plants happy is no easy task.  The two most important elements will be watering and fertilizing. Note that different plants have different water requirements, and this holds true through the summer.  For example, bougainvillea, purslane or sedum all require less water than a hibiscus, mandevilla or duranta.  However, the time of day at which you water these plants should all be the same.  Water your plants in the morning.  If you water your plants after 11am you risk burning or scorching the leaves.  If water droplets are left on the surface of the leaves they can act as a magnifying glass and magnify the intensity of the sunlight.  Additionally, the appropriate amount of water for a flowering plant will help it to produce more blooms.  A plant with a lower water requirement will not bloom if it is constantly saturated.  So, make sure that it completely dries out between waterings.   

Fertilizing will also help to promote healthy, green growth and healthy full blooms.  Most plants that heavily bloom require high amounts of fertilizer – specifically phosphorous.  Using a fertilizer specific to the plants that you are growing is important.  Use a hibiscus fertilizer for hibiscus.  Use a tree or shrub food for evergreen shrubs.  And use a fertilizer for bedding plants for your annuals and perennials.  If your flowering plants are showing severe signs of struggling, consider using a water-soluble fertilizer.  These types of fertilizer are readily available for uptake by the plant the same day that they are applied.  Whereas when you apply a granular fertilizer, it will take several days or weeks for the plant to show signs of new growth. 

 Lastly, if you feel that your plants have already suffered damage from the sun, disease, insects or lack of fertilizer, do not be afraid to do some severe pruning.  This is the time of year when most all plants are actively growing and will push out new growth when encouraged to do so.  When you prune back a plant, it is always a good idea to apply some fertilizer to help promote new growth and new blooms.