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How To Keep Plants Alive When On Holiday

Written by Jenny, Contributor

All parents need a break now and then–even plant parents. And as long as you think smart and plan ahead, you won’t have to return home from a relaxing trip to a home full of unhappy (potentially dead) indoor plants.

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How to keep plants alive and happy until your return

Going away in the winter is a breeze, as many plants will be dormant, and none will need much watering. However, going away in the warmer months is a different story. One warm day can leave your plants thirsty. Then before you know it, the soil dries up and the leaves begin to wilt and crisp.

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Our top tips to keep plants happy during your trip

Planning is key to keeping your plants thriving while you’re away. So save yourself the stress of wondering if your beloved plants will cope and take some precautions to ensure they’re A-OK. If you’re unable to get a pal to plant-sit, we’ve got some great alternatives that’ll keep your leafy friends alive while you’re having the time of your life–because ending your trip by coming home to a plant graveyard is not a vibe.

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Group similar plants together

Indoor plants are a bit like humans in the way that they are stronger together. So before you leave, group together the plants with similar requirements, e.g. watering, humidity, lighting and temperature. This will also make tending to them before you go a much quicker process. When grouped together, plants can create their own microclimate and retain humidity–perfect for humidity lovers like asparagus ferns.

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Invest in self-watering systems

Watering bulbs and inserts are a travel lover’s best friend. All you need to do with the watering bulbs is fill them with water and insert them into the soil at a slight angle. The water will slowly drip down and give your plants enough moisture until you return. With the self-watering inserts, you will need to repot your plant into the insert, then place the insert in a water-tight decorative pot. You can fill the well with water until the little leaf reaches ‘max’, giving your plant a drink for however long you need. You can purchase inserts in multiple sizes, from 17cm in diameter to 33.5cm in diameter.

Move away from strong light & heat

Even if your plants like sunshine, it’s usually best to move them away from any heat sources while you’re away so they can retain moisture for longer. If you have blinds, you could open them slightly so that some sunlight can leak through.

Give them a soak

Giving your plants a good drink before you leave is the most simple and effective way to ensure they survive while you’re gone. Use your watering can to thoroughly soak the soil and drain them all so they’re not sitting in water.

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Whelk shells keep soil moist

Mulching is a gardening method using natural material to spread over the soil surface. It can help retain moisture but also prevents weeds and improves soil quality. You can use materials like whelk shells and wood chips, which are effective and decorative. Because who doesn’t want stylish plants?

Pebble trays maintain humidity

Place your humidity-loving plants in a drip tray of pebbles and shallow water. Prevent root rot by ensuring the plants are not sitting in a pool of water (all you need is enough to cover the pebbles). The water will slowly evaporate surrounding the plant, increasing the humidity in the required area while not impacting the rest of the room.

Check for pests

Inspect all of your plants for any signs of pests or issues so you can deal with them before you leave. Coming home to a pest infestation is without a doubt more unpleasant than coming back to wilted plants.

Take extra precautions for dramatic plants

We all have those plants that require a little extra attention *cough* fiddle leaf figs and orchids. So ask a neighbour, family member or friend if they’d be willing to take in your plant for however long you’ll be away.

More Tips From The Stem

Check out our plant care guides to ensure your plant is getting the right amount of light, water and feed to help keep your plant happy.

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