Get ready to “spring forward” and set your clocks one hour ahead, because while you sleep, daylight saving time begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 13. This is the rough one where we lose an hour of sleep and the mornings are darker for a while. When our alarm goes off at 7:00 a.m. it’s going to feel like it’s only 6:00 a.m. Yikes!
Daylight saving time is meant to maximize the daylight hours we get. It’s effectiveness has been hotly debated over the years, but at the moment, we’re stuck with it here in Ontario. But why do we have it and, more importantly, does it affect our precious plants?
Daylight saving time or DST is the practice of moving the clocks forward one hour for the summer months and changing them back again in the fall. The general idea is that this allows us all to make better use of natural daylight. To remember which way to set the clocks, the expression, “spring forward, fall back” is often used.
The Canadian government introduced daylight saving time in 1918 as a measure for increasing production during the First World War. The idea was that during months when the sun is visible for longer, an early morning hour of daylight could be saved for use later in the day. This practice lapsed with the end of the war but resumed during the Second World War when Canada used daylight saving time all year round, along with the United States.
Municipalities in Canada began to regulate DST to reduce the confusion present when businesses on the same street used different times. The provinces became involved, passing different sorts of time legislation. Since 1987, official time zones and DST have been regulated by the provincial, territorial and municipal governments with some areas of the country opting out of DST altogether.
And now to our leafy friends. Since plants can’t tell the time, there’s not much evidence to suggest that daylight saving time will directly affect them. It is important, however, to consider the change in amount and angle of sunlight that your plants receive during the spring and summer.
As we approach spring and summer in the Northern hemisphere, we’re tilted more toward the sun, while the Southern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun and thus experiences winter. This means the sun’s light is more direct and intense for us during the summer months, and temperatures rise because we’re spending more time under the sun.
As the temperatures begin to increase, you’ll want to make sure that your lovely plants are kept happy in their homes by checking that their location doesn’t get too sunny or hot. If you keep plants by a window, check to make sure they are not being scorched with sunburn spots on their leaves. Black or brown spots mean your plant is getting too much sun and you should move them to a location with less intense light. Remember that even light-loving plants like succulents and cacti prefer bright, indirect light.
You also need to monitor your watering schedule more frequently in the warmer spring and summer months. If your home gets a little toastier during these times of the year, monitor your watering schedule to make sure plants aren’t drying out in the higher temperatures.
Personally, we all love it here when the clocks go forward and it means we can enjoy the longer, lighter evenings! And, if you’re looking for some new plants to freshen up your home for Spring, then head here or pop on into the shop!