While many popular houseplants won’t suffer if they’re left on their own for a few days – if you’re away on vacation for a week or longer, you should plan for how to deal with them and make sure they are kept in tip-top condition in your absence.
If you’re going to be away for just a few days, a good watering before you go should see your houseplants nice and healthy on your return. You can also remove them from hot window sills and locate them in cooler places while you’re away to prevent excessive moisture loss.
However, for longer periods, more creative methods are required to ensure your houseplants receive a regular and adequate supply of moisture to keep them in good health.
This is a great method for use with a large pot plant. Simply take a piece of capillary matting and use it as a wick, with one end attached to a water reservoir and the other end inserted into the pot of the plant – so that the plant can draw moisture into its pot as and when required.
This is an ideal method for dealing with several smaller potted plants. Simply take a piece of capillary matting and locate it either on the draining board of the sink or on a suitable surface near the bath. Fill the sink or bath with water, and arrange the capillary matting so that one end is dangling in the sink so that the water can be absorbed and pulled into the remainder of the matting. Then carefully place the houseplants on the rest of the matting which will enable them to be able to pull up the moisture into their roots as and when they require water.
Press each pot firmly into the matting to make sure there is good contact, and if any of the plants are housed in clay pots – make sure to water the clay pot thoroughly, which will then allow it to absorb the moisture from the capillary matting even easier.
If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time – you might consider repotting plants into reservoir pots which are specifically designed to provide a steady supply of water to the plant on a permanent basis. This can be done on a temporary basis, although some plants actually flourish all year round in such reservoir containers.
Whichever method you decide to adopt – makes sure that wicks are firmly inserted and won’t come loose, and that vulnerable plants won’t be over exposed to water to avoid the occurrence of rotting.
And of course, you could always ask a neighbour or friend to take a break from playing summer time garden games and pop in and simply water your houseplants while you’re away.