There are a few reasons why plants wilt however the most common reason outdoor plants wilt is from a lack of water.
In simple terms, plants wilt when there isn’t enough water in their leaves and stems to support the plant. Turgor pressure (I’m getting my science on) in leaves and stems is low so they start to look droopy.
Remember Grade 10 biology? When the teacher talked about osmosis? The movement of water across a membrane from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. Come on, you remember this!
When there isn’t enough water in the soil surrounding plant roots, roots can’t take up enough water to keep turgor pressure strong in leaves and stems, so plants start to droop. They loss their turgor! After a good rain (or watering) plants will start to perk up again as roots take up water via osmosis to leaves and stems, therefore increasing turgor pressure in their cells. That’s plant science!
Why is it importance to keep plants from wilting, you ask? One of the main reasons is cell damage. When plants lack water and wilt, cells in the plant get damaged. Over time from a lack of rain (or you forget to water) cell damage can occur and you will see dark spots on leaves and stems or dead leaves on your plants. If left for too long without water, plants can die.
With our summers being hot and dry selecting the right plant for the right location becomes very important.
Plants with tuberous roots have the ability to store water for times of drought. Daylilies are a great example of plants with tuberous roots and therefore, are a great choice for hot, dry locations. Plants with tuberous or bulb roots!
If you don’t like to water, you can select plants with small leaves and pretty blooms. Try a few of these!
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias)
Globe Thistle (Echinops)
Lenton Rose (Helleborus)
Meadow Sage (Salvia)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)