How to Take Care of Plants While You Are Away
How to Take Care of Plants While You Are Away
Plants, just like humans, have many basic needs. They need sufficient water, quality air, humidity, and light to survive and thrive. They also need fertilizers for nutrients, pesticides to keep off pests, regular pruning/removing dry leaves and the fallen ones, and some talking to (if you believe that plants can hear and feel your love). That is what makes it hard for many people to own houseplants. It gets harder when you aren’t home most of the time- your plants can fail to develop properly, wither, dry up, and eventually die. For this reason, you need to find someone you can trust with your plants while you are away. If you don’t have such a person, here are 3 tips for caring for plants even when you are not around.
- Be creative with your watering methods
There are several watering methods that don’t need your everyday presence. They include:
- How to pull it off:
- Get a bottle (the size will depend on the planting pot) and clean it up.
- Drill several holes in it
- Fill it with water and plunge it into the soil. Make sure it is deeply covered in the soil and it does not touch the plant.
- The water will leak into the soil through the drilled holes thus keeping your soil wet.
- It is advisable to water your plant first before leaving to ensure your soil is not dry and will not need the bottled water immediately. This method works best for the weekend.
- In this method you will need to:
- Put water in your bathtub or sink (half-filled would be okay).
- Bring your potted plants and preferably pots with good drainage (put a rug inside to protect damages on your sink)
- Once your plants are inside the tub, the soil will soak up and the roots will get enough water.
This method is helpful for up to one week.
iii. Water wicking method
In this method, you will need a big bucket/small tank and a cotton rope.
- Put water in the bucket/tank
- Connect a cotton rope from the bottom of the bucket to the planting pot ( get a rope long enough to fit)
- Water will be flowing from the bucket a drop at a time through the cotton rope.
This method can serve for longer days depending on the size of your external water supply. It can also serve several plants from the same point.
Note: Plants such as succulents, pathos, cat-iron plants, snake plants, among others, can survive for a very long time without water. If you travel a lot, you can consider them for your indoor plants.
- Ensure the plants get sufficient light
Plants use light energy to convert water, carbon dioxide, and chemical minerals into oxygen and other useful organic compounds in a process known as photosynthesis. If you are taking care of your plants while away, ensure you put them in a strategic position where they can access natural sunlight. If you need to close up your windows for security purposes, or if you are leaving during winter when sunlight is very minimal or you want to ensure the plants at the dark corners have access to light, you still can use grow lights to provide artificial light which is equally helpful to your plants.
Grow lights come in different qualities, prices, and sizes. The common ones include LED grow lights and Fluorescent grow lights. LED lights are commonly used for their efficiency and energy-saving properties. Fluorescent lights are not as efficient, but they are fairly inexpensive.
Tip: While you are away, ensure the plants are not too close to the grow lights so as to avoid too much heat which could burn or dry them up.
- Ensure there is a favorable humidity level in the room
Plants also breathe. They also need quality air in the photosynthesis process. Humidity affects the favorability of indoor air for your plants. Humidity needs vary from plant to plant, as well as depending on which stage the plants are at. Plants in the vegetative stage require 60-70% humidity while those in the flowering stage require about 50-60% humidity. If you will be away for the winter months when the air dries out, you need to increase the humidity by putting several plants close together and a small water container at the center. Place a humidifier or a fan blowing steadily around the plants, or place them in the kitchen or the bathroom where air humidity is often higher compared to other parts of the home. If you have the means, you can also consider using home-automation devices such as HVAC equipment, that help control the humidity inside the room. Such devices are extremely convenient when you’re away from the house as they can be adjusted remotely.
Take care of your plants constantly to ensure they are always in perfect condition and healthy enough to survive even when the environment is not favorable for them. If you do that, it won’t matter whether you are home or not. Your plants will forever be happy and thriving.