Successfully Starting Your Own Apartment Garden In a Heatwave

Both 2020 and 2016 were tied for the hottest year globally, and there’s at least a 10% chance that 2022 will surpass them, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. With parts of the world already dealing with sweltering heat waves, those who live in apartments may feel as though starting a gardening hobby this year is out of the question. From how the increased temperatures can affect your indoor plants to how you can help your outdoor balcony garden thrive, here are just a few tips that will help you get started.

Properly caring for your balcony plants

While having a large backyard garden or planting fruit trees might be out of the question, those who reside in an apartment complex still have a variety of different ways that they can grow their favorite plants. For those who choose to set up their container plants on their balcony, keeping them cool and properly watered will ensure their survival in a heatwave. On the subject of caring for container plants during hot weather, Rachel Crow, Homes & Gardens’ gardening expert recommends to “Water container plants generously ideally in the evening, once the sun has moved off the garden, which will allow plenty of time for the water to penetrate into the soil before temperatures rise again the next day,” further going on to say “Otherwise water them early in the morning. Soak the soil thoroughly and try to avoid getting the foliage too wet. Never water the plants in full sun as the water will just evaporate off and you’ll waste water and your time.” Moving the container plants into the shade can also help in protecting them during the peak hours of the sun, and creating your own shade (should your balcony not have an awning) can be achieved by using a shade cloth.

Even indoor plants may need extra attention 

When ensuring the proper care of your plants in a heatwave, water is more than essential. Paris Lalicata, plant education coordinator at The Sill, says “When temperatures increase around the plant, especially if humidity is low, they will drink up water at a faster rate and need to be watered more frequently.” While keeping outside balcony plants shaded and watered properly can seem rather obvious during a heatwave, indoor plants also need to stay properly hydrated, too, with Well + Good noting that if you notice increasing temperatures indoors, your plants “will perspire and drink water faster.” “It’ll be best to monitor plants during times of extreme heat to see how they’re adjusting and see how fast the soil is drying,” Lalicata explains, going on to mention “Keeping a thermometer in the home can help.”

Having the right materials on hand

While those living in an apartment won’t have any need for a lawn mower or other typical large lawn equipment, having certain tools on hand (in addition to a shade prop) is still a great idea when picking up an apartment gardening hobby, especially during a heatwave. The Spruce notes that plants in containers require a lot of water — so much so, that you’ll likely have to water them multiple times a day, and recommends considering the purchase of a hose that can be attached to a sink faucet for easy watering access. Should you not have a hose or are unable to hook one up in close proximity to your plants, watering cans are just one necessary gardening tool to have on hand. While plastic watering cans can be a great and inexpensive (not to mention lightweight) option for those just starting out, metal watering cans typically last longer and are more durable. To further highlight the importance of the matter, The Spruce also mentions that factors like humidity can determine whether or not your plants will survive in your apartment setup as well, making additional materials like a spray bottle necessary to have on hand. For instance, it’s noted that plants in an indoor windowsill will likely need to have extra humidity, underlining the need for spritzing the plants with a fine mist, particularly when it’s warmer indoors.

Starting a gardening hobby while living in an apartment during an abnormally hot summer can seem impossible, though there are actually a variety of options worth looking into. From the materials you need to cultivate success to the importance of proper watering — both indoors and out, taking into account the needs related to your apartment garden setup is essential to look into before jumping in.

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