plant watering tips to use when you're away
What to do with your indoor plants when you're away or on holidays.
Many of us are rightfully concerned about indoor plants maintenance. That's usually a reason for not bringing any leafy plant inside the home; at most we allow a cacti or two, but that's generally it. However, with the right tools and techniques, it has now become easier than ever to keep house plants alive and healthy while you're away, either for business or on holidays. Welcome to the smart gardening era!
Pre-requisite: make sure the plant's pot has drainage holes at the bottom to avoid damp that can create root rot.
Pre-requisite 2: these tricks are for plants that actually need to be watered weekly. Cacti and Succulents can live for a month without water so no need to use the techniques below on them if you're away for a couple weeks only.
water Self-ABSORBING tricks
to use when you're away:
- The garden twine trick: fill a bucket (or bin or pot or deep frying pan...) with tap water and place it on a table top. That's going to be your water reservoir. Cut several portions of garden twine (or wick) and prehumidify them by soaking them. Place an end of each in the water reservoir. Stick the other end into the soil of your plant. Make sure that the water reservoir is elevated, so that the water can find its way down with the help of gravity. The garden twine will slowly conduct water to your plants by capillarity while you're working on your suntan. The longer you're away, the more water you'll need.
- The damp towel trick: lay a mob, a towel or a thick fibrous piece of linnen in a tray and humidify it. Place your plant pot on top. Add some water around if needed. The idea is to create a humid zone as close to the roots as possible. The longer you're away, the more water you'll need.
- Use self-watering pots. You got it by now if you read this blog, I'm a big fan of self-watering pots because they are SO handy! More about it here. [Coming soon]
Advantages of techniques #1 and #2: they are easy and free. I've done it the last few times we went on holidays and the results went beyond my expectations! No plant died and I found every single one of them alive and healthy when returning.
Advantages of technique #3: self-watering pots will save you time and efforts.
Of course, you can also bring your plants to a friend, a relative or even your colleagues for free. Some plant shops even offer a plant maintenance service for a daily rate.
THE HOLIDAY CHECK-LIST
Check this BEFORE YOU LEAVE
- Gather all your plants in the same room, to increase their chances to stay healthy. Choose a spot that's not getting too much direct sunlight, especially in the summer. Otherwise there's a risk to burn the leaves.
- Ensure that humidity in the room is going to stay as high as possible. You can place a bucket or large bowl filled with water in the center of the room, and gather the plants around, the Moist types first. Bring them as close as possible without having the leaves touching one another. Together they're stronger!
- Fill the saucer underneath your plant pots. The plants will absorb the water when needed. It's important to be sure that there is no water in direct contact with the soil to prevent root rot. You can add a layer of clay pebbles in the saucer to retain even more moisture. The longer you leave, the more water you will need to provide.
- Note that over-watering the soil itself before you go is a bad idea because excess water in the soil will drown the plant. Instead, water the soil as usual and use the above self-watering techniques.
- Make sure the temperature is not going to drop in the room. No need to raise the heating, but avoid turning it off completely, especially in winter.
For further indoor plants watering advice, check How to Water your Plants the Right Way
ENJOY your holidays while your plants look after themselves
& look stunning when you come back!
Due to popular demand, the next article is all about fiddle-leaf fig care.