Having to go away for days or weeks can be worrisome for houseplant lovers, but this guide will provide some simple tips on how to keep your plants heathy and happy!
Vacations, holidays, family emergencies, business trips. All these things may require a lengthy absence from home. For houseplant lovers, this can be worrisome.
Finding someone to care for plants can be difficult and expensive, and nothing is worse than returning from a trip to find dead or dying plants.
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Fortunately there are some steps that can be taken to ensure plant survival, in fact, if followed correctly, they will keep your plants healthy for up to a month. (Note: these instructions are intended for tropical houseplants-succulents and cacti have different needs and can survive without water for extended periods.)
Give them a check up. Take each plant into very bright light and give it a through look over. Check under the leaves, and where they meet the stem, the soil line, even the roots.
Be on the lookout for any signs of disease or insects, which, if left undetected will wreak havoc on unattended plants, and since the plants will be left grouped together (see below) will also quickly spread. Any problems should be treated immediately, and the affected plants quarantined.
Set up a watering system. Most garden centers, nurseries and gardening catalogs offer a wide selection of capillary mats and wick systems that will provide water to unattended plants, but an equally effective system can be set up with little cost.
Simply set plants in shallow tubs or trays lined with pebbles or packing peanuts and a shallow layer of water(just enough to cover the pebbles or peanuts). A bathtub or large sink is an ideal place to set up this system.
Keep it cool. A cool and mostly dark place is best for unattended plants.
A small amount of light is all they’ll need. Again, a bathroom is ideal.
Water thoroughly. Water all plants before departure and soak thoroughly. Drain well and group close together on the trays discussed above. Don’t pack too tightly as this will block air circulation and lead to fungal issues.
The above steps should keep plants healthy and happy for up to a month unattended. For longer absences a plant sitter should be considered. Be sure to check references and ask lots of questions.
Think carefully about having a friend, family member, or neighbor do it as many people do not understand how to care for plants properly. Be sure to go over instructions carefully and leave a written copy behind.
If the worst happens and plant death occurs, it’s okay to be upset, but remember, there is always a new gem waiting for you at your favorite plant store!
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