The Q&A Archives: pink parfait mandevilla

Question: Our plant has been doing great until lately. It has been extremely hot and very dry in this area and we have kept the plant pretty much in the shady area of the patio. It has been vining great but all of a sudden the leaves are getting very dry and brittle and I am afraid we may be losing it. We do not keep the soil overly wet but we do mist the plant occassionally during the day. What do you think we can do? Should we mist or not. Should we water more due to the dry warm conditions. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Answer: When you say you keep it in the shady area of the patio, I'm assuming that it's in a container. Soil in containers in the summer can heat up to incredibly hot temperatures which basically cook the roots. When you water, water slowly and deeply and make sure the entire root ball gets soaked. If soil pulls away from the side of the pot and water runs down the sides and out with soaking the soil, plunge the pot into a bucket of water and rehydrate it. You may need to water deeply daily in this heat. Periodically, leach salts out of the pot by allowing the water to run extra. If you are misting with regular tap water, I'd discontinue it. Our water is high in salts, which are left behind on the plant tissue when the water evaporates. Don't fertilize in the summer, which is too stressful for the plant, as it "forces" it to grow. Dry brittle leaves can be a sign of underwatering or fertilizer burn. You might also set the pot inside another pot, and fill the space in between with styrofoam peanuts or crumpled newspaper. It acts as an insulator, with the direct sun hitting the exterior pot and allowing the pot with the plant to be a bit cooler. If you have the vine in the ground, send another Q to the website with more details on how you are watering and caring for it and how much sun it is getting.

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