How to Keep Your Plants Alive While You're on Vaycay!
Did you hear? Crazy plant lady is the new crazy cat lady! Hi, I'm Camille and I'm a crazy plant lady.
Saying I have a lot of plants is the understatement of the century. I live in a 715 sq. ft. one-bedroom apartment with more than 150 plants, most of them tropical, rare, and unique. Some plants require frequent waterings, while others require constant high humidity. It can sometimes take me an entire day to tend to my plants, an activity I actually enjoy (it's very therapeutic!).
So you can only imagine my panic when I realized I would be leaving my plants unattended for a week while I visit my family in San Francisco for the holidays!
Here are a couple tips to keep your plants alive while you’re on vacay:
Most indoor houseplants are okay without water for a few days if it's not too hot, so giving them a thorough watering right before you leave can be enough if you'll just be gone for a long weekend.
And when I say thorough watering, I mean, make sure to give your plant enough water so that water is running through the planter's drainage hole. If your planter doesn't have a drainage hole, water it thoroughly, but keep an eye on how much water you're giving your plant so that it doesn't drown and get root rot! (BTW Make sure to use planters with drainage holes. Your plants will thank you.)
Pro-tip: Trim your plants! Flowering plants want more water, so trimming plants and buds off will make them a bit more water efficient in general. Also, remove dead leaves, since they use up your plant's energy too.
The hotter it is, the quicker water will evaporate and the more water your plants will drink. To keep your plants cool, move them away from your sunniest windows. When your plants are cool, they won’t need as much water.
Simple as that!
Pro-tip: In the winter, keep your heat down so the air in your home is less dry. If you have to have the heater on, invest in a humidifier to keep your plants happy all winter long!
Save your wine bottles from your #WednesdayWineDown with the girls & use a terracotta watering spike to keep your plants watered while you're on vaycay, or even add it as a part of your weekly plant maintenance. (I have one for my big monstera and fiddle leaf fig that I refill once the water level in the wine bottle gets low!)
Watering spikes provide a constant supply of water to your plant. Simply attach a bottle of water to the spike and press the spike into the soil of your potted plant. As the soil dries, water moves slowly downward using gravity as its major force. Make sure the spike is completely pressed into the soil to water your plant evenly. You want to make sure all of the roots are being watered, not just one spot!
Pro-tip: Decorative watering globes work the same way and come in different shapes and sizes for all your plants.
Keep your plants happy while you're gone by creating a mini greenhouse for it.
After giving your plant a thorough watering, cover it in a clear plastic bag and use sticks to prop up the bag, creating a tent effect so the bag doesn't touch the leaves. The plastic bag will prevent water from evaporating and the air inside the bag will remain moist, keeping your plants happy in the humid environment. If your plants are small enough, you can use a large clear bin from Ikea to create the same greenhouse effect.
Don’t worry. Your plants won’t run out of air inside a sealed bag because plants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide during the day, then do the opposite at night. Plants produce all the air they need to breathe well. Just make sure to leave them in a place that gets light.
This is especially useful for plants that require constant humidity, including philodendrons, anthuriums, and begonias to name a few.
Pro-tip: The clear plastic bags from the produce aisle at your local grocery store as well as large zip lock bags make perfect mini-greenhouses for smaller plants in 4-inch pots!
This tip works well if your plant is potted in a terracotta pot.
Place a brick in a tray or container that's at least 2-3 inches in height. Pour water over the brick making sure it is fully saturated. Continue filling the container about halfway. Place your terracotta-potted plant on top of the brick and give your plant a thorough watering, making sure the terracotta pot itself is fully saturated. The terracotta pot on the brick will create a capillary effect, pulling water up through the brick and terracotta, keeping your plants watered and happy!
Feel free to fill the container all the way to the top if you're going to be gone for more than a couple days.
Pro-tip: You should totally have your plants potted in terracotta pots. Not only do they look amazing paired with plants, but the porous nature of the baked clay used to make the pots allows air and water to pass through the walls of the pot, promoting healthy plants by starving off root rot and disease caused by overwater. While beneficial, use with caution because terracotta pots can cause the soil to dry out quickly, which means more watering.
If all else fails, ask your mom, your friend, or your neighbor to water your plants. That’s what they’re there for, right?
Good luck and have fun on your vacay!