Ask a Question forum: Deck plants facing west, need help keeping them cooler in the summer

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Apr 23, 2017 10:21 AM CST
I have a few pots on my deck for some herbs and green onions and my only choice is to keep them on the deck (if I bring them inside, the cats dig in the dirt). Our deck faces west and during the summertime it can get HOT with that beaming sun! Last year my plants got fried Sad I was thinking a mini greenhouse wouldn't help out much because that hot sun would still be shining on them and creating even more heat inside an enclosure.

The idea I have right now is to build an awning type structure to sit over the plants, but with possibly an organza fabric so it protects, but still lets light through to my plants. (The fabric has to be kind of sheer because a solid fabric would completely shade the plants from the sun since it beams down at a like, I dont know, 45 degree angle?)

Any idea if this would be a good idea? Any other tips or tricks you have? Any information would be great really! Thanks!
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Apr 23, 2017 11:24 AM CST
@ninaleeG welcome to NGA There is a woven shade cloth that comes in ranges of 30% (sun block) to 80% (sun block) here are some links to places that sell shade cloth. You might also check out the big box stores with garden centers. I hope this helps.

edited for spelling
[Last edited by Moonhowl - Apr 23, 2017 11:52 AM (+)]
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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
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Apr 23, 2017 11:31 AM CST
My daughter had the same problem. She recently found these cute little umbrellas for plants.
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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Apr 23, 2017 11:51 AM CST
Hi and welcome, ninaleeG. It's very important to keep the roots cool. A big help would be to make sure your plants are growing in white or light-colored pots to keep the sun from heating up the roots. The ones made of a sort of a thick, foam type plastic are probably the best to insulate the roots from the heat. Black nursery pots are terrible for heating up, but you can buy spray paint and paint them a light color, or white. Be sure to get the kind of paint that will stick to plastic.

If your pots are dark-colored and you really like them, you could paint them with something temporary, just put a wrap or curtain of something like aluminum foil around them for the hottest part of the summer. Or buy bigger, light colored pots and slip the dark ones inside the light colored ones for the hot weather.

It also helps to group your pots together so that the plants help to shade each other. The shade cloth - something like 30% shade - is a great idea, but maybe make your little awning just big enough to shade in the middle of the day so your plants get the sun later on when it's not so intense. Organza or other ordinary fabric won't hold up in the sun. It just disintegrates after a month or two.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

Apr 23, 2017 11:56 AM CST
Thank you! I had no idea this existed! Hurray!
Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover Butterflies Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Daylilies Plays in the sandbox
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Apr 23, 2017 2:22 PM CST
Then there's the shade sails you can use for your deck area:

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