Vacation Tips for Houseplants
It’s the end of December, which means vacation time! If you’re a keeper of an indoor garden, here are a few tips for how to make sure your plants will still be healthy and happy when you get home.
The following is good advice for most indoor houseplants that you’d be worried about if you’re going to be gone for a week or more. Mostly this is all about maintaining soil moisture for as long as possible, so it doesn’t apply to succulents or other dry soil lovers.
- Move the plants away from the windows. More sun makes for thirsty plants. Indoor plants will deal with less sunlight better than running out of water for a week. Reducing the light level will make the water last longer. The easiest way to do that is to simply move plants that are close to the window back by a few feet.
- Keep the heat on. If you live in a place that’s super cold right now, and you turn the heat off while you’re away, you may come home to dead plants. It’s easy to understand why – they like the temperature you like. So keep the heat on, at least a little, to keep it from getting too cold, especially if you live someplace that freezes. To conserve energy, you could set the thermostat low and close off vents in rooms that don’t have plants in them.
- Give them a good soak before you leave. This is obvious, I know, but the watering technique is important. Don’t do a normal watering, which can leave patches of dry soil in the pot. Pick up the plants, put them in the sink (or shower for the big ones), and really soak the soil.
- Leave water in the saucer. Normally this is that last thing you should do, but if you’re going to be gone for a while, a plant can live with “wet feet” for a few days if it means you can be away for another week.
The tips above are things you could do right now if you were leaving town tomorrow. But if you have a few days to prepare, another good tip is to repot the plant in a bigger pot. The more soil in the pot, the longer it’ll stay wet, the less you need to water. In general, if you find you have to water a plant more than once a week, it probably needs to be repotted anyway. You could also try a Lechuza self-watering planter. The plants I’ve got in them only need to be watered once a month. But be aware that it takes at least two months for plants to grow into them, so that’s more about preparing for next season.
Speaking of the holidays, if you’ve got a gardener in your life that you’re still looking for a present for, check out the Plantgasm Gift Guide from last year. They all still awesome.