HOLIDAY PROOFING YOUR HOUSEPLANTS
We work hard all year to provide for ourselves and our families, so when a holiday rolls around, we embrace the well-deserved break. For many of us, sitting at home just isn’t enough, and a vacation away is necessary. As if planning and packing for a trip isn’t enough work, it’s hard to focus on anything once our brains settle into that “vacation mode”. But if we remember to set up our houseplants to survive our absence, we’ll have lively plants to greet us upon our return.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Giving your plants a little bit of extra TLC before you leave can go a long way in helping them fend for themselves. It doesn’t take much time, and you can relax a little more on your holiday knowing your plants will be fine. Here are a few things to add to your to-do list:
Deeply water your houseplants the day before you leave, ensuring the soil is pretty soaked. You should see water filtering into the plant’s saucer below. Don’t let the plant sit with wet feet though; pour the water out of the tray before you go.
Turn down the heat and light. Warm air and direct sunlight will dry your plant out faster. You can retain soil moisture a little longer by moving them to somewhere with indirect sunlight and turning down the furnace. On the plus side, reducing the heat is also economical - why pay for something you're not around to enjoy?
Keep plants away from drafty areas, such as doors or windows. Cold, dry air is just as much of a threat to moisture as excessive heat! Plus, you don’t want your plants’ foliage to freeze.
Do some trimming. Prune away any dead plant material, including flowers and leaves. This encourages your plant to use energy on maintaining healthy growth instead of material that’s already spent.
Huddle your plants together. Your plants will enjoy each other’s company while you’re away, not just so they won’t be lonely, but because it’s actually beneficial. Plants placed close together will create their own mini-ecosystem to conserve humidity as a group.
WATERING WHILE AWAY
If you’ll only be gone for a couple of days, some of the above provisions should be enough to take care of your plants. For vacations that extend longer than a weekend road trip, you may want to consider setting up some supplemental watering. There are a couple of ways to do this:
Drip-irrigation systems slowly release water into the soil over a period of time. This can be as high-tech as electronic systems, or as simple as water spikes or globes. What works best for you will depend on your own plants’ needs.
Make your own irrigation. For those who are more mechanically-inclined, it’s possible to create your own watering system out of household items. You can easily rig up empty jars or bottles with twine to water plants slowly. Try searching Google or Pinterest for a variety of low-cost ideas and tutorials!
Create humidity using contraptions called humidity trays. These are easy to make - just add a layer of small rocks or gravel to the saucer underneath the plant. All you need to do is add some water, which will help to add moisture to the air!
PLANTS FOR FREQUENT FLYERS
For people who travel for work or leisure often, houseplants might just seem like an inconvenience. The good news is that there are loads of low-maintenance options that might better suit your lifestyle. Many plants require little to no watering, and will actually thrive on some neglect every now and then. Try cacti, succulents, snake plants, or ZZ plants for some stunning accents that won’t suffer in your absence.
With a couple of these tips and tricks, you can easily holiday-proof your houseplants. Enjoy your well-deserved time away with the comfort of knowing your plants will be just as green as when you left them.