With the end of the school term fast approaching, I bet lots of us are counting down the days to a long-awaited summer holiday. And with that comes the inevitable pre-holiday organising. Last-minute shopping, packing lists and pet care arrangements probably spring straight to mind, but if you’ve got any houseplants, you also need a plan for keeping them alive while you’re away.
Most houseplants will be able to tolerate neglect for a few days, but if you’re going away for longer than this, you need to take steps to keep them going. Let’s face it, coming home from a lovely relaxing break to be greeted by sorry pots of withered leaves isn’t going to help continue the holiday vibe!
Here are some things you can do to keep your houseplants happy while you’re on holiday.
An obvious one, but it’s so easy to forget when you’re in the chaos of packing. Make sure your plants aren’t already thirsty before you go away; give them a good drink on the day before you leave, then a quick top-up on the day to get them off to a good start.
Move plants to a cool spot
You can make such a difference to the amount of water your plants need by moving them out of direct sunlight and into a cooler location. The soil will dry out less quickly, and the plants themselves will demand less water.
Group pots together
Gathering your plants into one area will help reduce loss of moisture; think of it as creating a bit of a mini jungle effect, where the leaves all overlap and trap water vapour.
Move houseplants outdoors
This isn’t a good idea for really tender houseplants like orchids, but most non-tender houseplants can tolerate being outdoors in summer, where they will benefit from any rain. Choose a shady, sheltered spot out of direct sunlight.
Call in the neighbours
Having a friend or neighbour pop in and water your plants is great, because they can water as needed and keep an eye on your house at the same time. Make their job easier and quicker by grouping all the plants together in one place; a little thank you present when you get home always goes down well too!
Setup a sink watering system
This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. All you need to do is put an old towel (or a sheet of capillary matting, if you have one) on your sink’s draining board, allowing one end of it to drape down into the sink. Fill the sink with water, then stand your plants on the wet towel on the draining board, checking that they make good contact. The water will be drawn up from the sink, through the towel, and into the pots as required. Clever!
And there you have it: lots of tips and ideas for keeping your houseplants alive while you’re off enjoying yourself. Have you got any holiday houseplant care tips to add?
You might also like to check out my post on indoor plant care for lots of tips on how to deal with common houseplant problems.