For Your Garden

How to take care of plants while travelling

Whether you have a garden or potted plants, it is essential to take good care of them at all times. Yes, even when you are on a vacation. Drying out or growth of fungus or attack by pests can render your plants lifeless or flowerless. And that is surely not something you want to come back to after your trip, right? So, take a look at these smart tips to ensure that your foliage stays healthy and fresh even when you are gone.

  • Avoid direct sunlight – Keep plants away from direct sunlight when you are on leave. This will help them retain more moisture and they won’t dry out.
  • Mulch can help – Add mulch so that your plants can conserve water easily. If stray animals keep digging your soil, pine cones placed on the top of the soil can prevent this. 
  • Grouping – Before you leave, group your potted greens together, so that the air around them stays humid. This is because plants give off moisture through transpiration. Or, you can fill planters or pots with pebbles and water, and position the plants on the pebbles. This is a great way to enhance humidity.
  • Ample watering – Make sure your plants are sufficiently watered before you go on your trip. To ensure this, you should water them till the excess water drains from the bottom.
  • Use a watering wick – Check out your local garden centre for a watering wick. Then experiment by positioning it in different places on your pot, to see which part of the soil needs maximum moisture. Try it out at least 2 weeks before leaving, since the wick might not work efficiently if the soil is very thick.
  • The bathtub method – To keep your plants moist, place them in your bathtub and cover with a plastic sheet. Or cover each plant with plastic bags, make slits for air flow and seal the bag.

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Here are some more ideas for indoor plants that you can put to use to keep them safe while you are not attending them:

  • For mature plants, trim the foliage, so that they require less watering when you are not there.
  • Be it a mature plant or seedling, water it sufficiently the night before you leave.
  • You can use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide to destroy gnat eggs or fungus under the top layer of soil. 
  • To maintain a humid atmosphere around your plants, fill empty gallon jugs or buckets with water and place them around the pots.
  • Place long twine pieces inside the jugs or buckets and make sure that a few inches are outside. So, if you put 3 twines in one jug, it can water 3 plants in your absence.
  • Remember to tape the mouths of jugs to diminish evaporation.
  • Position the bucket or jug right next to the planter and place the twine that is hanging outside the jug on the soil. Use small stones or paperweights to ensure that the string stays on the soil at all times.
  • Now your homemade self-watering system is ready! The twine will allow water to flow from the bucket or jug to the soil in your pot.
  • Make sure that this system is working well before you leave. So simply check if the twine is wet.
  • Some amount of natural light (but not direct sunlight) can promote healthy growth in your plants.
  • For seedlings, transplant them into large pots if they are in trays or cups at the moment. You can also purchase a grow light timer to make sure that the seedlings get the amount of light they need to grow well.

Plants are precious, especially if you are someone who admires the beauty of nature and wants a slice of it in your balcony, living room or bedroom. And all you need to do to keep them healthy and alive while you are not there is to follow the above tips. You can also consult your local nursery for more ideas or if you have plants that win shows. While succulents and cacti don’t need much care in your absence, there are many varieties that dry up and shrivel if you don’t make the proper arrangements. So, don’t just depend on your neighbor or relative to water your greens while you are vacationing or on a business trip. Be a little more careful yourself!

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