Plants

Heatwave UK: how to take care of your houseplants during hot weather

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Lauren Geall
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A collection of plants on a shelf

Are your houseplants looking a bit droopy in the heat? Get them back on track with these expert tips.

Unless you’re one of the lucky few blessed with air conditioning, chances are you’re feeling a little bit sticky right now. And with temperatures set to rise again this week (with the potential for temperatures to hit 35°C in some parts of the UK), things are set to get even worse. 

However, humans aren’t the only ones who sometimes find the heat a little tricky to deal with – our leafy friends struggle, too. Indeed, although houseplants need light and warmth to survive, too much of a good thing (such as during a heatwave) can be damaging to their health, leaving them with droopy stems and brown, shrivelled leaves.

If these signs are left to worsen, your plants could even be at risk of dying completely – something no plant parent wants to see. 

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As a result, it’s important to keep an eye on your houseplants during any periods of heat like the one we’re predicted to experience over the coming weeks, and make sure you adapt your plant care routine to ensure they stay happy and healthy despite the change in conditions.

With this in mind, we asked Patch Plant’s resident plant expert Meg Spink to give us the lowdown on everything we need to know to ensure our plants stay in tip-top condition during a heatwave. Here’s what she had to say.

1. Stay on top of watering

A woman watering her plants during a heatwave
Indoor plant care: to stop your plants drying out in the heat, make sure to give them regular waterings.

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We all know how important it is to stay hydrated in the heat, and it’s the same for our leafy friends.

“Your plants are likely to need more water in summer, especially when it’s very hot,” Spink explains. “Growing leaves is thirsty work, and higher temperatures mean soil dries out faster.

“Grab your watering can and check your indoor plants a little more often than normal. But remember: you should only still water them when they need it – you don’t want to drown them in soggy soil.”

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2. Be careful with direct sunlight

A fiddle leaf fig plant
Indoor plant care: keep sensitive plants such as fiddle leaf figs away from direct sunlight.

Although plants need some light to survive, keeping them in direct sunlight – especially during a heatwave – isn’t a very good idea.

“The sun is very strong this time of year,” Spink explains. “Move more sensitive plants way from windows to avoid the harsh rays.”

Sensitive plants that are more likely to suffer in direct sunlight include spider plants, nerve plants (fittonia), dragon trees and fiddle leaf figs. Swiss cheese plants may also suffer burnt leaves if left in strong direct sunlight.

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3. Keep them misted

A woman misting her house plants during a heatwave
Indoor plant care: misting your plants can help to stop them drying out during a period of intense heat.

If you’ve got a lot of tropical plants – think string of hearts, snake plants, umbrella plants and calatheas – it’s a good idea to spray them regularly throughout the heatwave with a mister bottle.

“Tropical plants love high humidity,” Spink explains. “Give their leaves a good spray to stop them drying out. This is especially true for plants with gorgeous big leaves, like Fidel the fiddle leaf fig, Zabrina the elephant ear plant and Nicolau the wild banana plant.”

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This article was originally published on 14 September 2020 and has since been updated throughout.

Images: Getty/Patch Plants

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

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