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What should I do with my indoor plants when I go away on vacation?

  • Botanical Garden
English

The most reliable method is to entrust a friend or family member with watering your indoor plants, with clear instructions. If this is not possible, try one of the following options:

  1. For a small number of plants, you can use a wick watering system. Insert one end of the wick into the pot’s drainage hole and place the other in a reservoir of water. The plants will absorb the water by capillary action. You should nevertheless water the plants from above before you leave, to ensure the soil is soaked all the way through. Check to make sure the device works. You may need more than one wick per pot.
  2. Cover each plant with a plastic bag, tucking the edges under the pot. As the water evaporates from the plant, it forms condensation on the bag and falls down to the level of the drainage hole to be reabsorbed by the roots. The bag should not touch the leaves.
    A variation of this method is to place the pots on a small tub containing vermiculite or gravel soaked in water. The bag is closed over the plant, the pot and the box.
  3. Fill your bathtub with 10 to 15 cm of water and place each container on an overturned stoneware pot or a porous brick to prevent direct contact with the water. The water will then gradually rise by capillary action.

These methods can be used for seven to ten days. In most cases, it is preferable to move plants away from sunny windows. As bathrooms are generally dark, your plants may wilt if you are away for more than a week. Cacti and succulents should stay in the window, as these plants are well adapted to dry conditions.

To learn more, consult the Green Pages section on the general care of indoor plants.

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