You can task out the watering of your houseplants while on vacation to a friend or relative – or you can prepare for your holiday and leave your plants unattended for several weeks with a little advance planning. This article explains how.
Are you planning a dream holiday to the tropics or ski slopes? Have you considered the care of your houseplants? Oops! Often we forget our green friends with the hustle and bustle of vacation preparations.
If you have a friend, neighbor, or relative with a green thumb, you might want to arrange for him or her to come in. However, what can you do if you do not want anyone in your house while you are away? Here are some suggestions.
Most cacti will do well for several weeks if watered before you leave. Succulents and some other tender plants may develop root rot if kept wet for too long. Soil mould may also be a problem.
It is best to test the system you intend to use months before you leave to ensure that it will actually work. You must consider the watering requirements and growth habits of your plants before you choose a specific method.
Simplest Approach: Turn Down the Thermostat
If you water your plants well, turn down the thermostat, and close all the curtains before you leave, your plants should be able to survive for a couple of weeks. However, the closed curtains could be a signal to would-be thieves that nobody is home.
Use the Shower
Water your plants, place in the shower, close the shower curtain, and shut the bathroom door. Do not leave them standing in water!
Dry Cleaner Bags
Many plants will survive well for two weeks or longer if watered and enclosed in dry cleaner bags. However, due to the lack of air circulation and constant moisture on foliage and roots, brown leaf tips, mould, and root rot may quickly develop.
Plant Nanny has several products for varying needs. Each involves a hollow clay stake that you insert into the soil. Some will allow you to fill a wine bottle with water that you invert into the stake. Others have an extra plastic attachment that fits onto a narrow-neck soda bottle.
As the soil in your houseplants dries, water slowly percolates through the clay stake to deliver a constant supply of moisture. With large wine bottles, you can also sustain balcony or outside container plants.
Check garage sales and flea markets for unique bottles, and you will be able to set up a distinctive indoor garden that reflects your personality! Personal experience has shown this to be a good system, long- or short-term. If you use Plant Nanny for routine watering, be sure to monitor the soil moisture. Some plants may like a dry spell once in awhile.
Aqua Globes use a similar principle to the Plant Nanny products. You fill a large glass globe with water and push its long open-ended spike into the soil. There is no size selection, and you are limited to the available colors – but it may be suitable for your needs.
Soda or Wine Bottles
Some people report good results with soda or wine bottles. Fill with water, invert into the soil, and the plant receives a gradual supply of moisture. Experiment to determine what size bottle works best for each plant.
This system can reportedly water and fertilize your plants for several weeks.
You set up a water container next to a plant (with or without soluble plant fertilizer), place one end of a Water Worm wick in the container and the other end in the soil of your plant. If you choose decorative containers that complement your decor, this system could become the default watering method for you even when you are not on vacation.
Some people have experimented with cotton rope to set up a similar system, making sure that large plants have more than one rope. However, this is not something you should try unless you can test it well in advance. Realistically, the price and convenience of the Water Worm system would likely sway most people to go with the manufactured product.
(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann
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