Vacation Watering for Your Houseplants While You Are Away

Vacation watering for houseplants while you are away is a major concern for many plant lovers. Whether you are planning a fun-filled getaway or any type of extended absence, there is no need to panic.

Consider the time of the year.  Is it during the season when plants are actively growing?

If this is the case, then your plants will need more water.

On the other hand, if this is the time when plants are resting or dormant, then they will need less hydration.

This is the information you need to know in order to apply the best technique for any type of vacation watering.

The containers of your houseplants are a factor as containers made of glazed ceramic, fiberglass, and plastic retain water. Those planted in porous material such as terracotta, wood, and cement will evaporate water more quickly. In addition, dark colored pots absorb more heat and the soil dries out faster.

First, gather all plants with like needs because individual plants require different amounts of water to keep them alive and healthy. For example, flowering plants, require more light, higher humidity and water. Plants with soft, lush foliage will require more water than those with waxy or leathery leaves.

Cacti and succulents are great for the forgetful gardener. They have water reserves in their thick, fleshy leaves. Water them thoroughly and remove out of direct sunlight and away from heating and air vents. They can go up to 12 weeks without any additional watering.

Houseplant Vacation Watering Tips

Use the Bag It method: Clean plants by removing all dead and yellowing leaves plus flowers and buds. Thoroughly water soft foliage and delicate plants and place in a plastic bag (large dry cleaner bags are ideal) blow it up with air and seal with tiers. Place bag in an area with  medium light--away from direct sunlight. With the greenhouse effect of this method, your plants will not lose water and last for 12 weeks.

Create your own self-watering pot: 

1. Use a plastic container with lid to serve as the reservoir. Punch a hole in the center of the lid. Fill container with water and cover with lid.

2.  Cut a piece nylon stocking or knitting yarn to serve as the wick.  Make it long enough to reach from the bottom of the of the reservoir to the top of the pot.

3.  Push one end of the wick through the drainage hole up into the middle of the root ball and the other end of the wick will remain in the reservoir.

4.  Thoroughly water from the top so that the wick can become moist. The moisture will prime the wick and cause it to start drawing water from the reservoir into the soil as it starts to dry out. This works great to keep the potting mix moist. Two (2) liters of water can last for 2 weeks. Just make sure you have enough water to last while you are away.

Ceramic Stakes:  You can get hollow ceramic stakes from the garden center that have an attachment on the top. screw on a 1 or 2 liter bottle full of water to the top and push the stake side deep  into the soil of the potted plant.  The water is slowly released through the ceramic stake to keep the soil in the pot moist. This works outside as well. 

Moisture Crystals:   Mix moisture crystals into the soil of your houseplants.  Some potting soils come with these crystals already present in the mix.  Moisture crystals retain moisture and help prevent over- and under-watering of your plants.

Vacation watering with these methods along with moisture crystals added into the soil of your houseplants work well to keep them alive and healthy.

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