They have not had
a chance to establish much of a root system, which makes it hard for
them to absorb enough water to compensate for the hot, windy weather
we have had lately. Rainy, cloudy days give new plants a chance to
become more established, and we have had precious few of those since
2007's spring planting season arrived.
Watch the Young Plants on Sunny Days
Just as people can get sunburned or experience heat-related illness
on those first sunny days in spring, plants can experience heat
stress, and even have their leaves sunburn when taken from a
protected greenhouse to a sunny flowerbed. Greenhouse glass reduces
the sun's intensity, and plants in those structures are protected
from the wind.
And just as we are less likely to burn once our skin tans, plant
tissue hardens and develops a thicker cuticle and is less likely to
burn once it gets acclimated to the stronger sun intensity outdoors.
While you cannot put sunscreen on your plants, you can protect them
by gradually exposing them to more sun every day over a seven to ten
day period. This process is known as hardening off, and it can
benefit the plants you purchase from greenhouses or those grown from
New Plants to Flower Beds
Start by moving your plants to an area where they receive an hour or
two of morning sun, then shade from the hot afternoon sun.
Protection from wind is important, too. The wind will suck the
moisture from tender leaves that are not hardened to life outside.
The next day, leave them in the sun for three hours, the following
day for four hours, etc., until they are out in the sun all day.
Then you can plant them safely in their permanent spot for the
Your plants may not look good right now, but most of them should
recover and bloom normally for you. They will lose the badly
sunburned leaves, but new leaves better adapted to the sun will
replace those If possible, transplant seedlings on cloudy days or in
the evening. If that is not possible, create tents of newspaper or
cardboard to place over seedlings transplanted on a sunny, hot day
if you know they have not been hardened off beforehand. Many
greenhouses and garden centers do not have the luxury of hardening
them off before sale. Oftentimes, they purchase plant material in to
keep up with demand in the spring, and they do not keep it long
enough to harden it off.
Outstanding annual flowers
from your garden