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Heavy rain can take its toll on potted plants over time. But there are some ways around it.
Utilizing a large bucket to drape over each plant will protect the leaves, stems, and roots from the impact of heavy rain. The bucket will also keep water from accessing the soil. Not only will the rain come barreling down on the plants but also fill its soil with excess water.
Some plant species are less resistant to heavy rain while others brush it off like it is nothing. As their protector, it is your responsibility to know what to do in advance.
Heavy Rain Plant Damage
Before you can learn how to protect your plants from heavy downpours, you need to know the risks. There are two factors that must be considered.
These factors include immediate and long-term damage. Immediate damage is contributed to the pounding of the heavy rain. Long-term is contributed to the excess water. You must also be concerned about root rot.
Heavy rains can also flush the nutrients out of the soil. Many gardeners tend to add fertilizer, with phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, and nitrogen to the soil after heavy downpours.
The additional nutrients will ensure the plants heal to their natural form, following heavy rains.
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1. Utilize Oversized Planter
As previously mentioned, a large bucket can be utilized to create a barrier between your plants and rainwater. Heavy rains are notorious for causing plant matter damage to both the leaves and stems.
Low-water plant species are at the highest risk of root rot. Since these species require minimal water between each watering, the rainwater could result in the death of the roots.
If not properly treated, the excess rainwater will eventually rot the entire root system, resulting in a painful death for your plants.
Cap an oversized planter over each plant to create a rainwater barrier. If the heavy downpours are expected to bring strong winds, it may be necessary to secure the oversized planter to the pot. You can utilize duct tape for this task.
2. Relocate Plants To A Safe Location
The best and only way to offer 100 percent heavy rainfall protection to your plants is relocation. Small- to medium-sized plants can be relocated to a shed, garage, or porch with a cover.
Any structure with an overhead will work for this purpose. While this method is more preferable for potted plants no larger than three feet in height by three feet in width, it can also work for larger species.
This is where a potted plant caddy will come into play. Plant caddies come in a variety of shapes, including square, rectangular, oval, and round. You will also find a decent selection of sizes, ranging between 8 and 24 inches in diameter.
The key to making this method work is caster wheels. Instead of toting large potted plants from a safe location, you can push or pull them. Keep the caster wheels oiled, so they will roll smoothly when it is necessary to make the transfer.
If the meteorologist is predicting strong winds, accompanied by heavy downpours, the location must have some type of vertical barrier.
A wood, metal, or brick barrier will work perfectly to protect your potted plants from strong winds. In the meantime, the overhead will keep the heavy rains from damaging the plants.
3. Add A Drainage Layer
Some plant species are resistant to heavy rainfall. If these leaves and stems sustain damage from the heavy rains, it should only be temporary.
The rain may push the stems over to the side, but the first sun will pull them back to the upright position. Unfortunately, not all species of plants are resistant to heavy rains. Plus, the risk may not be worth it in the long run.
Adding a drainage layer to the soil will reduce the risk of root rot. To create a drainage barrier, you can utilize a medium like stone or pebbles.
With this said, you must be cautious about choosing the wrong medium. Botanists recommend clay pebbles because they are porous, meaning they have holes or minute spaces that permit air and water to pass through.
Clay pebbles are also not known to break down over a short period of time.
Cover the bottom of the planter with clay pebble, followed by peat moss, and nutrient-rich soil. If your potted plants are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, a clay pebble drainage layer is a necessity.
Instead of the rainwater puddling inside the pot, it will pass through the soil, peat moss, and clay pebbles and out the drainage holes.
4. Wrap With Burlap
If you do not have an oversized bucket, pail, or planter on hand, your next best alternative is a burlap wrap. Burlap is a strong material, with condensation resistance. In other words, the burlap fabric will not absorb moisture or rainwater.
Burlap is also a material described by botanists as “breathable.” This term is utilized in reference to fabric that provides ventilation, which is crucial for this method.
The burlap will create a heavy rain barrier and still permit your potted plants to breathe.
To utilize this method, you will need a large roll of burlap material, zip ties, and three wooden spikes or stakes for each potted plant.
Gently place the wooden stakes into the soil, leaving adequate space between each one. Cut a large piece of the burlap off the roll. Starting with one of the wooden stakes, secure one end of the burlap utilizing a zip tie.
This will prevent the material from dislodging from the wooden stake if the heavy rains are accompanied by winds. Continue wrapping the burlap around each wooden stake and secure if necessary.
When you reach the bottom of the planter, you must secure the burlap to prevent it from blowing away. Utilize the wooden spikes to secure to the ground.
Potted plants are subject to damage caused by heavy rainfall. Utilizing the aforementioned recommended methods will protect the potted plants from impact damage and excessive rainwater.
Once the rain stops, you can remove the protective covering and store it away for the next time.