Wilting or Flagging?

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As we transition from long, coolish spring to summer, plants seem to wilt. But that doesn’t mean that you need to water. In fact, watering just because a plant is a bit droopy might be the last thing that plant needs.

In this transition, these days when the heat comes on fast, it just means the plant is responding to changes in the air.

It’s ok. It’s not your fault. Just wait.

Ever heard the term flagging? It’s used as a synonym for wilting. But in my mind anyway, it’s not a synonym and it is when plants respond, as they should, to changes in heat, humidity, or light. They let their leaves down, they close the little spaces that exchange gases. They’re just shutting down, resting a bit.

I worked in my veggie and perennial garden today. The soil is nicely moist, just an inch or so below the surface. Extra water sure isn’t needed.

Lespedeza ‘Little Buddy’, Spiderwort, Salvia ‘Henry Duelburg’, potatoes, and even the new growth on my climbing rose ‘Speedy Gonzalas’ was droopy.

The air has been cool, their leaves stretched out and now on our first day of 90 F plus, their little cells just have to adjust, sturdy up the cell walls, get hardened off and tough.

The heat brings summer loving plants to turgidity though. I noticed big stalks of four o’clocks coming up. And I have seeds pushing up of Abelmoschos (I call it showy okra for lack of a better name), castor bean, gourds, sunflowers, gomprena, and of course crinum lilies.

This time of year is all about transition. Spring is over for most of us. The decadence, the lushness that sunshine and heat brings to gardens is just rising up.

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