A vacation, especially if it is longer than a week, is the perfect time to recharge your batteries. It’s a chance to gain a new perspective on life, become more worldly, see some of the world’s wonders, or simply relax and enjoy the culture. While eating your way across Italy sounds dreamy to you, your plants may think otherwise.
During the pandemic, a lot of people bought plants to help occupy time. Now, those indoor or outdoor plants are thriving and you want to keep them that way. Sadly, a vacation can ruin your plants if you don’t prepare properly. That’s why we did a little digging (no pun intended) to find out some expert plant care tips for when you leave town. Go enjoy your vacation, but make sure that your plants stay alive while you’re away. Read on to learn about some expert out-of-town plant care tips.
Tweak Light And Temperature
The more sunlight your plants get, the more thirsty they become over time. Plants utilize the most water during transpiration, a process of exhalation of water vapor through the stomata. The rate of transpiration will depend on how much sunlight the plant receives. That means that the more natural light the plant gets, the more water it will need. If you are out of town for a while and leave your plants in a sunny area, they may look wilted or dead when you return home. To help your plants from wilting while you’re away, place them in the middle of the room so they are far from the heat and light from the windows. When you return, you can move them back to their usual spots. While you’re away, don’t leave an air-conditioning or heating system blasting near your plants. These systems can deplete your indoor humidity and kill the plants. Lastly, give your indoor plants a good dusting, remove all dead leaves and blooms from the soil, and keep the soil moist.
If you are going to be out of town for longer than a week, there are a few techniques to keep your plants hydrated. One thing to determine is how frequently you water your plants in a week’s time. You want to avoid overwatering your plants before you depart, and you want to keep the time of year in mind. Is it hot, cold, humid, or dry? Consider the following tips to help your plants maintain moisture:
- The Lava Rock Trick: Add lava rocks on top of the soil to help your plants hold moisture while you’re gone. Only put the rocks on the soil after you give your plants a good soaking. If you don’t have lava rocks, you can use mulch, wood chips, or damp newspaper to help keep the soil moist.
- Create A Makeshift Greenhouse: This sounds more complex than it actually is. Water your plants thoroughly and then cover with a clear plastic bag just below the lip of the planter. This essentially establishes a mini greenhouse, but make sure to cut a couple slits in the plastic to allow for air circulation. You can use sticks to hold the bag up and away from foliage.
- Line A Shallow Tray With Rocks And Water: Place some small rocks in a shallow tray and pour water in to fill up the tray. Set your planter on top of the rocks, so that the base of the planter sits just above idle water. The rocks should help elevate it just above the water. This works to increase humidity and moisture levels in the soil without overwatering.
Determine The Maintenance Level Of Your Plants
Are your plants high-maintenance or low-maintenance? Once you figure out how much attention your plants need, you can figure out how to keep them alive while out of town. It’s perfectly fine to neglect succulents, pothos, and yucca for a little while. Maiden hair fern, gardenias, or red maranta prayer plants require a lot more love. If your plants are low-maintenance, you can give them a good watering before you go; just make sure the roots don’t sit in water. If your plants are high-maintenance and you’re going to be away for over a week, you may need to call a friend. This friend may need to become your plant sitter. Some plants require daily misting and regular pruning. Consider leaving plants with a relative or friend to make it easy on them.