It’s finally time for that staycation.
The bags are packed.
The emails are set to OOO.
You’ve turned off all electronics (and the immersion!)
….Oh, wait what about the plants?!!
With so much time spent at home over the past few months, our plants have been SPOILED, receiving probably the best care they have in a very long time.
You’ve pruned them, pampered them and now that you’re heading away, you want to make sure that all this hard work doesn’t go to waste. Right?!
Well, the good news is that with a little extra preparation, you can ensure that your indoor plants stay healthy and happy while away.
Think of your plants in terms of two teams; the ones you water the most and the ones you water less often.
This often means grouping your tropical plants together and your leafy plants together.
For example, tropical plants such as the ZZ or cacti can most definitely be left alone for a few weeks with just a little care before you leave. Same applies to most sansevieria, succulents and dracaena plants.
Needier plants such as Orchids, Bonsai, Boston ferns and Fiddle leaf figs will require a little more attention.
Reserve sometime a few days before you leave to give your plants a really good pamper session. This involves removing any dead leaves as they take up unnecessary energy from the plant.
Don’t forget to check the soil for any fallen dead leaves. These can cause the soil to rot and will attract insects.
For plants such as orchids or bonsai, now is the time to check if they are due a little trim
Before you leave, you’ll want to make sure that your plants are fully hydrated. Doing this in a tub or shower makes it much easier to give them a thorough soaking.
After watering, allow your plants to rest and the excess water to drain before placing them back in their saucers. Most plants cannot tolerate standing in water so allow your plants to rest and the excess water to drain before placing them back in their saucer.
For plants that enjoy a damp soil, you can fill your bathtub or large sink with a few centimetres of water and place a towel inside. Place your water-loving plants on the damp soil. The soil will then draw up water as needed while you are away.
Be very careful to avoid this step with plants that prefer drier soil as this can lead to rot.
Most houseplants are native to a wet, tropical climate and they need moisture in the atmosphere to really thrive.
Before you leave, group your plants together in a smaller room, a bathroom with a window or in an area that receives an average amount of natural sunlight. This creates a microclimate where your plants will generate their own humidity.
You can also place your plants on pebble trays filled with water which will help raise the moisture levels in the air and prevent plants from drying out.
To make your own DIY pebble tray:
When plants receive lots of light, they photosynthesize faster and therefore need much more water. Slow down this process by moving your plants away from areas of direct sunlight, intense sunspots.
You’ll also want to maintain an average temperature for your plants while away so move all plants away from heat vents, draughty windows or doors and intense sunspots.
If you are the creative type, you can fashion your own self-watering gadgets which can keep your plants hydrated while you are away.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with an old plastic bottle. Make several tiny holes at the base. Press the bottle gently into the soil. Just before you leave, fill the bottle with water. The water will slowly seep out and keep the soil moist.
If all else fails, it’s time to arrange a plant sitter!
For those of you who are lucky to have an obliging friend or family member nearby, you could always ask them for some help with your plant care.
Make sure to leave clear watering and misting instructions and if possible, walk them through your plant routine in advance of your trip.
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