These Five Secrets Will Make Your Garden Plants Thrive This Summer

These Five Secrets Will Make Your Garden Plants Thrive This Summer

Green tomatoes hanging on a vine with the text: "5 secrets that will make our garden plants thrive this summer"

It’s summer. The sun is shining, the soil is warm, and a slight breeze is tussling your hair. Everything is perfect. Well, not everything. That new plant you bought in spring, the one that once filled you with joy and excitement, is now dwindling into a dry, brown mess.  


What happened? You took care of your new plant the same as all the others, but this new plant is dying where the others thrive.  


Any experienced gardener will tell you that the secret to making your garden plants thrive in the summer, especially for species you have not grown before, is to prepare for a specific plant’s needs. This includes understanding a plant’s needs for soil nutrients, watering regularity, pest prevention, heat, and more.  


This post will go over five gardener’s secrets to help your plants thrive during the summer.  


How Do I Help My Garden Plants Thrive This Summer? 


Check out these summer gardening tips to help your garden plants thrive.  

Remember that Different Plants Have Different Needs 

What works for one plant does not necessarily work for another. Different plants have different needs for soil, shade, water, and nutrients.  


Many gardeners know this, but novice or beginner gardeners may skip the research portion of setting up their gardens in the excitement of fostering a new collection of plants.  


The best thing you can do in late winter or early spring is to research all the plants that you plan to grow and create an intelligent layout to reflect each plant's needs this summer. Then, create a gardening schedule for watering, fertilization, and more. This will help you ensure that you perform the common tasks that all plants need, as well as specific tasks more unique plants need. 


Understanding the needs of each specific plant in your garden is the first step towards helping keep your plants alive this summer. 


It Starts with the Roots: Soil Needs for Plants 


When you are researching the needs of your garden plants, be sure you understand the specific soil needs of each species. Research the following to identify the soil needs of your garden plants.  


  • Soil pH. The acidity of your garden soil affects nutrient availability. Most plants prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil, usually 6.0 to 7.0 on the pH scale. However, some plants have different needs. Azaleas or blueberry bushes will prefer more acidic soil, with pH balances under 6.0.

  • Soil texture. The proportions of sand, silt, and clay particles in your soil will affect your plants’ ability to thrive. Sandy soil drains quickly, and clay soil retains more water. Loam soil has an equal balance of sand, silt, and clay and is usually best for plants.

  • Organic matter. Adding organic matter, like compost or manure, improves soil structure, fertility, and water-retaining capacity. You can also use organic matter as mulch to benefit your garden plants. 

  • Nutrient needs. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the primary nutrients that plants need in large quantities. However, smaller nutrients like iron, zinc, and manganese are also necessary. If you want your plants to thrive, measure your soil for these nutrients and choose the best plants for your garden accordingly.
  • Drainage. Watering plants in summer can be a challenge. Many plants cannot be waterlogged for too long, and soil that retains too much water can harm your plants’ health. However, many plants have different drainage needs. Understand the drainage needs of each specific plant in your garden to ensure that your plants get the care and attention they need.  


Prevent Pests, Keep Pollinators 


It’s a frustrating truth but pests are prone to plaguing your garden plants. Many businesses offer solutions to eradicate pests, but in the process, these solutions often drive off necessary pollinators.  


Learn more about pests and pollinators! 


Here are some tips: 


  • Use integrated pest management approaches that focus on preventative measures, and eco-friendly, non-deadly biological controls. Using multiple strategies will reduce your need for chemical pesticides. 

  • Identify specific pests to generate solutions and monitor their populations. Target those specific pests instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach. 

  • Encourage beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and others that feed on common garden pests. 

  • Use barriers and traps to protect your garden from pests. For example, apple cider vinegar traps can retain fruit flies without harming or killing pollinators. 

  • Intermix plants that control pests with those that attract them. 

  • If you must use pesticides, choose products that are labeled as specifically safe for pollinators and follow the instructions carefully. 


Using these strategies, you can find an ideal balance between controlling pests and protecting pollinators.  


Beat the Heat: Know How to Survive a Heat Wave 


Plant maintenance in hot weather can be tricky. When you know a heat wave is coming, take the following steps to ensure your plants survive the blazing heat.  


  • Increase the frequency of your watering schedule.

  • Apply a layer of mulch around your plants to conserve moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth.

  • Create shade barriers to shelter vulnerable plants. 

  • Perform tasks like watering and pruning during cooler parts of the day. 

  • Increase humidity around plants by regularly misting them with water. 

  • Do not apply too much fertilizer during heat waves as too much can burn plants’ roots. 

  • Maintain proper air circulation and adequate airflow around your plants.  

What Do I Do if I Notice a Plant is Struggling? 


If you notice one of your plants is struggling it is important to act immediately.  


Take the following steps: 


  1. Record your observations. What is happening? What problems are you observing? Wilting leaves, swarming pests, or other disease symptoms will help direct you to what the specific problem is. 

  2. Check for signs of over or underwatering. If you notice issues with soil dryness or wetness, adjust your watering schedule accordingly. 

  3. Inspect the soil. Look at the soil for signs of compacted grains or water accumulation. 

  4. Check soil nutrients. Some plant issues can be caused by nutrient deficiencies and your plants can starve as a result. Symptoms like yellowing leaves, and stunted growth can indicate nutrition deficiencies. 

  5. Prune or trim damaged leaves and branches. Portions of the plant that are damaged or dying need to be pruned or removed. This helps redirect the plant’s energy towards healthy growth and prevent further disease. 

  6. Pest and disease control. If you notice pests or plant diseases as the issue, take the appropriate measures to control them. 

  7. Stake and support plants. Plants that are too tall or top-heavy may benefit from staking or providing additional support. Stakes and other supports give them a structure to grow on and will promote upright growth. 

  8. Continue to monitor plants for signs of improvement. After taking corrective measures, watch your plants daily for signs of improvement. If you are not seeing recovery, then you may need to take your plants to an expert.  


Knollwood Garden Center is Here for All Your Gardening Needs 


This year will be the summer of gardening. Come rain, sun, or heat, follow these tips for the best plants this summer! 


Check out more summer gardening tips here! 


For all your garden supply and plant needs, stop by Knollwood Garden Center.  


Located in Beavercreek, Ohio, we are proud to serve Dayton, Kettering, Centerville, Fairborn, Beavercreek, and gardeners all over Ohio! 


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