Heat waves in late July and August are vicious. It’s this time of year that plants go crispy and lawns turn yellow. There is nothing worse as a plant lover to come home to wilted plants completely zapped of life from extreme weather conditions. Planters that get full sun suffer the most when temperatures are above the 90’s. Even containers in shady locations aren’t immune to added heat stress.
For those of us without the means to install an automatic irrigation system, moisture gels may provide relief when it comes to the task of keeping planters watered. Moisture gels retain water within the soil so that it is accessible by plants for a longer period of time. This, in return, means you can sweat a little less when it comes to watering your plants.
Ideally, the best time to incorporate moisture gels into your soil is at the time of planting. If you’ve already planted, don’t worry it isn’t too late. Add the suggested amount (as per product package) to the top 2-3 inches of soil in your containers so that the roots’ can get to the enlarged crystals.
Moisture gels or crystals are usually packaged in bags. When opened, they resemble large grains of sand but watch out! With contact to water, they expand to a much larger size. While moisture gels require some up front cost, the results last for many years and provide a good return of beautiful container plants. As always, we don’t recommend using this as a way to avoid watering your plants. You should still check them regularly to ensure best results.
Article and photography by lilyofthevalley for Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design.