We all appreciate getting away for a break now and then, but no one wants to come home to a house and garden filled with sad, drooping plants or beds filled with weeds. Here are a few tips on how to keep your plants happy while you’re away.
Tips on how to avoid dead plants while you're on holiday
Water everything well before you leave.
Mow the lawn, and instead of putting the clippings on the compost heap, spread them on the beds as a mulch. This will act as an insulating layer, helping the soil to retain moisture. It will also go some way towards suppressing weeds, meaning you won’t come home to face hours of weeding. If you don’t have enough grass clippings to act as mulch, garden compost works fine too.
Move houseplants into a cool, dark place to slow down their growth temporarily. One way to do this is to line with a sink (or a bath if you have lots of plants) with a few layers of damp newspaper and place your plants on this. Close the curtains or shutters slightly to block out the light, and the plants will grow more slowly, absorbing enough moisture from the newspaper to keep them healthy for a few days.
Create a wick using capillary matting (made of felt or other absorbent material) to provide individual plants with a water supply. Fill a bowl with water, then place a strip of matting so that one end is in the water and the other end is buried in the compost in the plant pot. The capillary matting will draw up water from the reservoir and allow it to soak gradually into the compost.
Move outdoor potted plants into the shade and group them to create their own micro-climate, raising the humidity around them slightly.
Mulch outdoor pots with bark mulch, decorative pebbles or gravel to reduce water loss through evaporation.
To make your own drip water feeder for a potted plant, take a large plastic water bottle and make a tiny hole in the lid. Fill the bottle with water and plant it upside down in the pot. The water will leak out slowly, providing a constant supply of water until the bottle is empty. It’s a good idea to do a few test runs before you go away to make sure the water won’t run out of the bottle too quickly.
Deadhead everything, especially roses and sweetpeas, and pick any ripe vegetables like tomatoes, beans and courgettes before you go. If you’re lucky, you may be able to get a friendly neighbour to water your garden in exchange for free vegetables while you’re away!
Whatever solutions you need for your garden, you’ll find plenty to help at our centres, so visit us soon. Our friendly staff are always happy to advise!