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Desert Heat Conditions

Dealing with excessive sun and heat

Extreme heat and desert-like heat conditions are suitable for plants like cacti, agave plants, joshua trees, and other plants that are well-adapted to this harsh, dry environment.

If you live in a desert climate, the best option is to grow these cacti and succulent plants, and steer clear of more tender plants.

But, what if extreme increases in temperature occur where you live and you do not live in the desert? How do you protect your plants from drying out and sunburning?

Even though plants do have systems that can help them adapt to high heat (such as closing their stomata in the hottest part of the day to prevent evaporation), they may need help at times.

Sunburn and drying out are the two most common problems with extreme heat. Some plants can only take so much, and like a person, will get sunburned, sick, and dry up if left in high temperatures for long periods without relief.

Take note of a plant's location. Does it receive direct sunlight for long periods of time? Is there any shade available? Creating a sun-block, such as another plant, a screen, a wall, or an umbrella, or bringing plants indoors during the hottest and driest periods will protect them from sunburn and prolonged evaporation from their systems.

Watering plants in the cooler evening hours will provide them with the needed moisture so that they will not dry out completely. If you must water during the day, avoid getting water droplets on the leaves. The water may act as a lens for sunlight and burn holes in the leaves, or heat up and scorch them.

Most plants will tell you quickly if they are suffering from the heat by wilting or altering their leaves. So if things heat up, keep an eye on your plants and use your best judgement.