August in Your Hot Desert Container Garden

It’s hot. It’s humid. Ugh. You don’t need me to tell you that. August is the month to take a break from many desert potted garden chores. The most significant tasks are managing the weather and the basic needs of your garden.

Top-heavy potted Bougainvillea risks blowing over.

The August Checklist is below. Right-click on it and print it out. Here are a few extra tips.

Hmmm… that’s funny – Tips!

i.e., Tipping pots (Tip #1)

Heavy rains with blustery winds can endanger tall pots with narrow bases. When a storm is coming, be sure to

  • lasso the containers to sturdy structures such as pillars and posts
  • tuck them into corners or
  • put other, more substantial structures around them.

Tip #2

Irrigation and Watering Your Pots During the Rains

Do not assume because it rains that you can stop watering your pots. Here’s some information from various weather sources:

Don’t forget to water your plants, even when it rains. … Even in wet seasons, watering helps, because roots need air to function, and a “cats and dogs” rain temporarily drives all the air out of the ground.

A ‘cats and dogs’ rain certainly applies to monsoon rains.

An inch of water should penetrate the ground at least 6 to 15 inches, depending on the soil type. Clay soils are denser, and water doesn’t penetrate as deeply as in sandy soils. Ideal garden soil will be moist 12 inches after an inch of rain.

Put a rain gauge in your pot to know how much water has fallenI can hear you now – oh good! The local weather said we had an inch of rain!

Did you have an inch where you live? Do you have a rain gauge near your pots? Or better yet, in one of your pots? Often when we get a downpour, the measurable amount of rain is only a quarter or half-inch of rain which is absolutely not enough for your summer flowers. Even for today.

Soil that is on the dry side will take longer to absorb enough water to rehydrate itself. So that inch of rain is not going to do enough good to allow you to skip a day. If your soil has dried out this summer, add a drop of dish detergent to a full watering can of water and soak your pots.

And speaking of skipping a day, if it rains that inch or more today, don’t assume it is enough for tomorrow. Thirsty summer flowers usually need water daily so don’t skip. Check the soil. If the skies remain cloudy, you may not need to water on Day Two.

Don’t assume. Check your plants daily, or you may be in for an unfortunate surprise.

Tip #3

Plant new plants in your desert potted garden only if you find good ones

Sometimes in August, the supply of fresh flowers that are still appropriate for the heat is disappointing. If you have some plants in your pots that are looking really sad, pull them out and groom the bare soil spots.

Visit your favorite nursery and look for thriving Pentas, Summer Snaps (Angelonia), Osteospermums, or healthy young Petunias. If you don’t see something you really like, Wait! Talk to the staff and see when they think some fresh plants will be in. You want things that will be gorgeous throughout the fall.

 

If you have a copy of my book, check out the section on shoulder season plants. If not, click on the image to order one today!

Marylee Pangman autographing her book, Getting Potted in the DesertYour August checklist is below. Print it out as a constant reminder of August’s garden tasks.

Have a safe and long days of calm Monsoon!

Marylee

 

 

Post on your fridge to remind you of your August Desert Potted Garden Tasks

2 Comments

  1. Patsy MAYES on at

    I live in Palm Springs, CA – I’m having a hard time following your tip to spray our cactus/succulents everyday with our hose – do I have that right?

    • I’m sorry if I misled you Patsy. You want to jet spray your ornamental potted plants and annual flowers every morning but not your cactus. You can certainly spray them but once every two weeks is probably enough.

Leave a Comment