Assessing The Damage

Some slight bleaching on Agave marmorata
The heat finally broke yesterday.  I was able to go outside to assess the damage caused by extreme heat, single-digit humidity, and strong wind.
Thursday was the worst.
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There was less damage than I expected.  Plants like Clematis held up surprisingly well.  They got watered every day, and that proved sufficient.
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That Camellia--wince! 
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Euphorbia 'Blackbird', not vigorous in the mildest of weather, appears doomed.
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The biggest Fuchsia held up for three days, then started to succumb.  Most plants here seemed to be able to take about three days of extreme heat.  On the fourth day they began to struggle and by the fifth, damage was apparent.  I'll cut the Fuchsia back.  It should recover easily as it is a strong grower.  
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These particular Echeveria  'Imbricata' were covered all winter and spring by an exuberent mass of Cerinthe.  I pulled the Cerinthe about 10 days ago and the Echeveria were not prepared for a hot spell.  They'll recover quickly.  The center of the plants are fine.  They sacrificed their older outer leaves only. 
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I've noticed with these two early hot spells that roses will sacrifice some of their leaves to keep others from damage.  A certain percentage scattered throughout the plant will turn yellow and drop.
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A few situated precisely towards the hottest sun will scorch, like this:
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I also saw selective sacrificing on the Metrosideros, though since it is fairly established now, there was very little damage, just a few older leaves...
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...while the new foliage remained pristine. 
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While long-established plants fared better, the lately planted Magnolia stellata was also unbothered.  No foliage damage at all.
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Agaves did not escape.  This demonstrates why experienced gardeners in Phoenix grow almost all their Agaves in some shade.  Agaves are actually native to higher elevation deserts, often near or in open Oak and Pine forests, where the temperatures are more moderate and shade can be found.  

A touch of burn on a potted ovatifolia (in the highlighted rectangle):
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Agave sebastiana has some bleaching.  
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Scorched spot on a baby 'Blue Glow' (in the highlighted rectangle):
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I must laugh.  Agaves with damage, and the Digiplexis that I forgot to water on Thursday and Friday, when the heat was particularly merciless?
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I wouldn't believe that unless I'd seen it for myself.   Scorched Agaves, Digiplexis fine.  Scorched Agaves, Clematis like this:
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Of course many of the rose blooms were hopeless.
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But the new blooms keep coming.  The ones that opened Friday were fine on Saturday.
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Hemerocallis flowers lost a lot of their color, but the plants seemed to enjoy the heat and the warm nights.  The flowers open better with at least moderate heat.  The ones that bloom in January have petals that stick to each other and won't let go.  Not so, with heat. 
'Butterscotch Ruffles'
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One of my seedlings:
 photo 5-19-7072_zps8a5e0d07.jpg One fatality:  the Arctostaphylos 'Crosbys Compact' I planted a month or two ago.  Beautiful little thing.  I feel bad.  I'll try again in the fall, which is the correct time for planting natives anyway.  If we'd had normal May Gray weather it might have had enough time to establish.  Oh well. 
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One odd thing:  Salvia 'Hot Lips' flowers all turned white, seemingly over night.  
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Another phenomenon was the desperation of birds and lizards.  On my quick dashes out to hose down this or that drooping plant, birds and lizards would converge on wet spots as soon as I left, frantic for a drink.
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Besides the Arctostaphylos, the only real disaster was that the wind ripped monster climbing rose 'Laguna' off the fence.  
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Lucky that there are a few cool days ahead for me to get 'Laguna' back on the fence as best I can.  I was planning to give it a significant cut back next winter, its very first.
Snapped canes that then fried in the heat.
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I tried to learn and observe from this terrible heat wave.  I learned plants can hold up for two or three days of extreme heat, even sensitive plants like Fuchsias, but too many days of consecutive heat will start to kill them off.  I learned a lot of my plants are in the right place to survive a major heat wave--but a few are not.  Always something new to learn.

Natasha spent most of the past week like this:
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When all else fails, find the coolest spot you can find, and take a nap.  



  1. In August of 2012 we hit 102, the hottest day in a couple of years. It was truly educational to see what was crispy and what just powered on. Like you a couple of my agaves got burnt, while plants you would think of as curling up and dying in the heat were fine. Gardening is always an adventure isn't it?

    1. Sometimes it's a fun adventure. Sometimes it's just an adventure.

  2. At least your roses and the Clematis offer solace for the ill effects of the heat. After pulling up the dead and cutting back the injured I've got holes in areas throughout my garden but I'm hesitant about replanting at this time of year - I may try pots as temporary fillers. I had similar burn on a recently planted Agave vilmoriniana and the outer leaves of Aeonium cuttings I planted along our driveway after the 1st heatwave torched the prior occupants of that strip. I'm investing in more mulch in an effort to protect my plants (or at least their roots) against future onslaughts by summer heat. Good luck with that climbing rose!

    1. Shopping opportunity! Shopping opportunity!

  3. Sorry about the damage from the heat and sun, it is heartbreaking. Thankfully some plants are more resilient than others, they will have to be for the weather is definitely changing. I hope all of your plants recover. It is almost the end of Autumn here and the daytime temperatures are still around 25°C, the warmest Autumn on record.
    Natasha has the right idea, find a cool place to have a nap and conserve energy.
    xoxoxo ♡

    1. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.

      I wish for you a mild, cool winter with all the rain you need!

      Nastasha is a smart girl.

  4. The weather does seem to be changing: yet another challenge for the gardening fools among us.

    1. Better a gardening fool than a non-gardener, right?

  5. Same here, Hoov. A couple agaves took the most damage -- Blue Flame and Jaws went beyond bleaching into cuticle damage, like scraping off an artichoke leaf with your teeth. I've spent the past few days deep-watering shrubs, etc, doing triage. Dustin lost a bunch of Euphorbia 'Blackbirds' too.

    1. At least we have lovely cool(ish) weather now for repair operations!

  6. I have same damage on my Agave gentryi Jaws also and my very small Agave zebra might be toast altogether. Yes, most agaves definitely prefer afternoon shade.

    I just saw that another mini heatwave is in the forecast for next week..

    1. Sorry to hear about your A. zebra. That's one I don't have. 'Jaws' I would have thought would manage.

      Another blast of heat?!? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!


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