Nine Ways to Take Care Of Your Potted Plants On Vacation

image by Vadim Kaipov | Unsplash

Many people enjoy the feeling they get when surrounded by nature. Some of us try to bring that feeling home by surrounding ourselves with houseplants. There’s a certain kind of satisfaction that comes from caring for green, living things. 

According to some studies, more than 30 million American households have at least one houseplant. Many “plant parents” get caught by surprise when they have to go away on vacation or business. Who will take care of the plants? Here are nine ways to take care of your houseplants when you’re not around.

Ways To Control Temperature

Some plants are temperature sensitive. One way to deal with this is to put all the temperature-sensitive plants in a room with a thermostat. This can work for short and long absences. 

Ways To Control Light

If your plants exist on artificial light, leave the light on or use timers. You can purchase basic timers, but advanced timers give you features like automatically adjusting the time the light is on or photoperiod. 

image by Luca Finardi

Grow lights provide light in the same spectrum as natural sunlight. Many have built-in timers. If you leave for longer than a few days, leaving your lights on might not be the best answer. For better results and long absences, get a grow light with a timer. 

Ways To Control Watering

Plants need to be watered. There are different ways to automate this vital chore. 

Water Crystals & Water Bulbs 

Hydrogels, or water crystals, are compounds that absorb water. They are thrust into or buried in the soil. They work by releasing stored moisture as the soil dries, slowing the rate of evaporation. Water bulbs, stakes, or pots, work in a similar manner. You fill them with water and insert them into the soil. As the soil dries, it leaches water from the tiny reservoir. Water bulbs and water crystals have pros and cons. They may not work equally well in all soil types. Since they don’t store a lot of water, most users find them best for short absences of up to a week.

image by Huy Phan | Pexels

Self-Watering Pots

Self-watering pots depend on some form of pot-in-pot design. The plant and soil go into the central pot, and water goes into the secondary pot. Water gets to the plant through wicks, or it soaks through permeable walls or membranes inside the pot. Self-watering pots look nice but can be expensive. You add water to them differently, depending on how they are built. Most pots are designed to provide a week’s worth of water. 

Water Wicks

Water wicks or plant wicks work using capillary action. They use a wick that is made of a mold- and rot-proof material and a container of water. One end of the wick goes into the water, and the other end is buried in the soil. As the soil dries, water is drawn through the wick. Water wicks can water plants for a month or longer, depending on the size of the water reservoir. 

Automatic Drip

Automatic drip watering solutions usually depend on a programmable pump, a system of tubes, and a source of water. Many automatic drip solutions include a container that holds a limited amount of water. Others come with a connection for an input tube that goes to your water supply and an output tube that delivers water to your plants. Container systems can go almost anywhere, but they can run out of water. The distributed-tube system can draw water from a tap or even a toilet tank, so it never goes dry. But this feature can be disastrous. If the pump fails to turn off for any reason, you might flood the room. Some of these pumps may siphon water from the supply when the pump is not operating, also leading to a flood. The easiest way to stop siphoning is to place your pump and pots above the level of the water reservoir. 

Don’t Be A Plant Killer

It’s depressing to return home and find all your leafy pals are dead. Don’t let that happen! Set up some essential life support for your houseplants before you leave. With some care, your chance of returning home to a green room instead of a brown desert will be almost assured.


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