Whew! Facing another HOT Greek summer, but more experienced now.
Well, last year was crazy. 3 separate heat waves, first one hit mid-May, with temps going up to 42C (that's 104F), and then to 45C for two further waves of a week and ten days respectively in July and August(and that's too hot to work out the F.) And then came the fires, which were horrible, but fortunately (only for us...) didn't affect our immediate neighbourhood.
So, what actually survived? (Given we only have pots). Pelargoniums, petunias, plumbago, yucca, asparagus sprengerii - this positively thrived - and rosemary. What died? Arbororisa (local perennial rose geranium), hibiscus, bay trees, jasmine, canna, datura, chilli peppers, ivy-leaved geraniums, and all the flower and herb annuals I'd sown, including basil and fennel which had done brill in previous years. What the heat didn't kill, the red spider mites and the praying mantises and the locusts did.
Any lessons? Watering and providing shade just did not help some plants in such prolonged heat. Most plants go into stasis in very hot weather and in July/August and cannot take up much water anyway. Maybe I should take a few favourite things inside the house and give them the benefit of some air-conditioning! Currently using largeish plastic pots, would clay or other materials be better? I need to find a way of protecting the roots of plants more, by mulching the soil of plantpots with something. Pebbles? (Won't that get too hot?) I need to spray against spider mite - all the mimsy-wimsy organic advice is right-on but the red spider mites just take one look and laugh. In fact, they party on the stuff like the scenes from Gremlins 2.
Maybe I need to get to love succulents and cacti, which I currently hate, would rather have bare tiles.
But, I'm coming right back at stuff this year! Got some seriously grown-up morning glory mixtures (heavy dudes as well as the wimpy varieties), have grown some mini apple and lemon trees from seed (how crazy is that on a balcony...), and some darker blue plumbago seeds. And other nice stuff. I just like growing things, that's all....
Any experienced hot hot hot balcony gardeners got further advice? Or just basic sympathy? What are your warrior survivors? What do the books say are good in heat BUT THEY LIE?