How to keep your plants happy while traveling
We all love our plants and the vibrant energy they give our homes. These beautiful fellas provide oxygen, energy, food, and it’s easier than you think to return the favor while you’re away from home.
If you’re lucky to have a kind friend that will come by your apartment to water your beauties you’re set, otherwise keep reading; there are a couple of things you can do to keep your plants healthy.
1. Location, location, location
Make sure your plants are in the right spot. To prevent plants from drying out, I usually move them away from direct sunlight. It’s important to consider the length of your trip; you don’t want to be too radical that plants start to struggle for sunlight. As a rule of thumb, reduce exposure to sunlight to just a couple of hours per day.
If you have huge pots and it’s not possible to move them, try to keep these guys as humid as possible. Provide a temporary shade or a homemade self-watering solution like I’ll describe below.
2. Feed your plants
Try giving your plants carbonated water, or the (cooled) water you have boiled your eggs in. Both are filled with nutrients and minerals that are good for your plants.
A couple of days before you leave, schedule an occasional “tea time” for ferns, gardenias, and other acid-loving houseplants. Cold leftover brewed black tea is a great addition to your watering can, or you can place wet tea-leaves into the soil to give plants a lush look.
I recommend doing this on a regular basis, perhaps once a week. Feed your plants 5 to 8 days before you go, especially if you have never done it before so you can observe how they react.
3. Self-watering methods
The wine bottle:
Fill an empty wine bottle with water and place it upside down into the soil. Your plant will get a steady supply of water that won’t be evaporated by the sun.
The cotton string:
Connect your pots with a cotton string to a water source. Make sure the string is thick enough to transfer water into the soil. Also, make sure the end that is in the soil is burrowed deep enough so the water can reach the bottom of your planter.
Thread a small needle to a self-sealing plastic bag to use it as a wick. Make a knot and leave it inside the plastic bag with the other end hanging out.
Fill the water bag with water and place it inside the plant’s pot with the wick touching the soil. The water will drain continuously into the soil, while the bag deflates slowly in the process.
If you need to deliver more water to a plant, you can either add more wicks to one bag or add more bags to that plant’s pot.
Finally, water your plants before applying these methods, that will ensure the soil is moist and these tips will help maintain that level of moisture.
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