Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hot Water!

Two very hot days through this past week have me focusing on water, yet again. Most of the nursery crew are taking the Christmas-New year break off so we have been relatively short staffed which means we have to multi skill to some extent. I have found the exercise of running the office and supervising watering a little fraught. Mostly because in extreme conditions potted plants dry out so quickly. Everything seems settled and well watered so I head back to another job only to turn around and find another batch of sad, parched plants.

We have a pretty thorough irrigation system installed but sprinklers have their limitations and these are generally exposed in the hottest conditions. The chief issue is we have so many different types of plants in different containers at various stages of maturity. Providing enough water for fruiting ornamental Capsicum using sprinklers will flood younger plants clean out of their pots. So hot days means extended periods hanging on to the end of a hose... and some fool has banned using i-pods around the nursery (OK that was me, but I do like plugging the pod in on the weekend for an hour or two of therapy).

Anyway, holding the hose highlights the plants best adapted to really hot conditions. Pick of the crop?
Gerbera. Gerbs are just about the only thing left in our glass house at the moment, the heat and light intensity is so strong... and they love it. Keep this in mind when you take a Gerbera home, it's a living bunch of flowers, not an indoor plant. Gerberas are herbaceous perennials so stick 'em outside somewhere they will receive minimal support and they will flower again the following year. They will perform better in subsequent seasons if they are re-potted or at least fertilized in the Spring.

Another favorite at the moment, because I don't have to worry about them is Purslane Rio. We have them, one plant each in 270mm hanging baskets. They easily fill and spill over the baskets and they are covered with flowers that just keep coming. This is a great plant to neglect in pots or hot garden spots.

Oh, the Ornamental Capsicum stand up to poor treatment too. Poor things hang limp until watered then stand right back up again. They are not thirsty plants, just rather big for their pots.

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