July means sun, summer, holidays. And if you want to return from your holidays to find your Calla lilly, lilies and Ornithogalum - Garden Plants of the Month for July - still fresh and succulent, it’s a good idea to leave clear instructions for the plant sitter. So we’ve drawn up a checklist especially for them. It’s also handy for your other garden, balcony or patio plants (and for yourself).
Check 1. Watering plants in pots
The most important thing on hot summer days is watering. Plants in pots dry out particularly quickly, not just in hot weather, but also when it’s cloudy or windy. Even after a rain shower you will notice that a lot of water ends up mainly on the leaves and not the soil.
Plants that love the sun have an extra need for a cooling shower. The best time to water is early in the morning or in the evening after sunset when moisture evaporates least. Make sure that you pour the water onto the soil and not the flowers or leaves.
Check 2. Watering plants in the ground
If the plants are planted in the ground, they need less water than plants in pots. They won’t need a session with the garden hose every day - every couple of days is fine.
Check 3. Remove dead flowers and leaves
There’s no need to panic if you find a wilted flower or brown leaf on one of the plants. Just remove it by hand or with sharp scissors/secateurs. Not only does it look smarter, but removing wilted flowers ensures the plant puts its energy into creating new ones. Dead leaves are a popular hideaway for all sorts of beasties that then move onto healthy leaves, and not always with good intentions. So they should be removed too.
Check 4. Project snail migration
Speaking of beasties: they’re not known for their speed, but snails can take over your patio in no time. With your plants as an all-you-can-eat buffet, you can guess what the consequences will be. So carefully move them to a safe spot, or arrange some prevention: scatter some coffee grounds, cocoa shells, ground-up eggshells or sea shells, or spray your plants with garlic extract.
Check 5. A few final tips
Calla lily produces more leaves and fewer coloured calyxes in full sun, so place the plant in partial shade for a surprise when its owner returns.
Ornithogalum cannot cope with standing water, so water carefully.
Lily cannot cope with drying out, so ensure that the soil remains damp.
Got questions about other garden plants? You will find care tip for lots of (outdoor) plants under 'Plant Guides' in the black bar at the top. Very handy.