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The arrival of monsoon rains gladdens everyone’s hearts but not all plants appreciate the deluge. Potted plants, especially if they are standing in an open spot, tend to suffer the most as they can quickly become waterlogged, suffer badly and even die.

Taking steps to avoid rain damage is far better than struggling to revive sick or broken plants and here’s how:

1. When monsoon rain is imminent, move as many pots as possible to a sheltered place such as a verandah or carport, only putting them back outside when the rains have well and truly stopped.

2. Pots that are too large and heavy to move can be covered with strong plastic sheeting to protect them from the worst. Sheeting can be securely fastened to supporting poles if necessary.

3. If you don’t have a suitable covered area to shelter your plants, carefully tip them on to their sides (where they stand) so that they don’t fill up with rainwater. Stand the pots back up immediately after the rain stops.

4. If your potted plants are too large to tip over or can be damaged if laid down, simply open out plastic bags and fasten them firmly over the pot’s brim. The plastic bags will interfere with the soil’s need to breathe so remember to remove them as soon as the rain stops.

5. After the rain, gently shake excess water off mildew prone plants, such as chrysanthemums, to reduce the risk of infection.

6. If at all possible, try to avoid growing species known to be susceptible to rain damage.

— Zahrah Nasir

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on July 10, 2011.