With Summer holidays coming up, you may be wondering what to do with your plant collection. Short periods of neglect shouldn't be a problem for the majority of indoor plants, but longer periods (say 1 to 2 weeks) might require some forethought.
First things first, check the forecast and consider the different needs of the plants in your collection. As a general rule, the most vulnerable plants will be younger plants, those with thinner foliage, those that need frequent watering and those that are particularly light-sensitive.
Succulent plants, such as Aloes, Cacti and Yuccas will be far more tolerant of a couple of weeks of neglect – they may even look better than when you left them!
Ferns, Calatheas and Areca Palms (to name a few) are likely to struggle in a two-week drought, but don’t be tempted to drench them to the point of root rot before you go!
For the more moisture-loving members of your plant family, you could try placing them on capillary matting. The idea is that your plants will absorb water from the capillary matt gradually. You soak the matt, place it in a sink, shower or bathtub and place your plants on top. Because capillary simultaneously absorbs and stores water, the plants will take what they need over time. If you don’t want to fork out for a sheet of capillary, using a thick towel should work in much the same way!
Additionally, grouping all your plants together – perhaps in a bathroom or in the bath – will create a bubble of localised humidity, as plants release and absorb one another’s moisture.
You may want to rearrange your plant collection if you’re going away before a big heat wave. Plants that have been fine direct view of a sun-lit window, may suffer in the height of Summer. Check a long term forecast and move any vulnerable plants to shadier spots – though obviously not to spaces with no access to sunlight.
Of course, you could also nominate a kindly neighbour to come in while your away … but these tricks should ease some of your plant-parent anxieties.