Home Gardening techniques How to look after plants while on holiday

How to look after plants while on holiday

Philodendron, Monstera and Dracaena
Philodendron, Monstera and Dracaena

Tips to safeguard your houseplants, pots and garden plants from Wyevale Garden Centres

Do you worry about your plants dying when you go on holiday? According to research by Wyevale Garden Centres, a third of the nation (32 per cent) claim they feel guilty or upset when their plants die.

Watering issues are a key concern for gardeners but pests come top of the list of concerns in the Garden Trends Report, with 70 per cent of us worrying about them.

Mark Sage, Head of Horticulture for Wyevale Garden Centres, said: “People often feel a strong sense of attachment to their plants and spend a huge amount of time nurturing their every need.

“During the summer months, our plants require additional support to survive the hotter, drier spells and knowing that they will be left unattended for a longer period of time can cause significant stress for holiday-goers.

“There are many quick and easy DIY hacks you can undertake pre-holiday to ensure your indoor and outdoor plants are thriving upon return – without the need for a professional plant-sitter.”

Aeonium
Aeoniums with bananas, Yucca and geraniums

Looking after houseplant while away

  • Avoid direct sunlight: Away for a few days? Give houseplants a thorough watering and move away from direct sunlight and into a cool room.
  • Bags of support: On a short break, place a clear plastic bag over the plant and seal it closed, allowing water vapour to be collected and recycled by the plant. Support the bag with canes so the sides don’t touch the leaves.
  • Self-watering systems: If you are planning to be away for a week or longer, buy a self-watering container with a built-in reservoir.
  • Capillary matting: Put a group of small pots on the matting and drape one end into a sink or basin filled with water. Make sure your pots have an open hole at the base and that clay pots are well watered beforehand.
  • The wick method: Ideal for large individual pots, immerse a piece of capillary matting into a full container of water and place the other end of the matting into the soil for the plant to absorb.
  • Bath time: For smaller plants that like humid conditions, place on a water-soaked towel in an empty bath. Don’t leave them in a bath or sink full of water as they may be overwatered.
Canna, geranium
Drought-resistant geraniums and Canna indica in a display of pots

Keeping outdoor plants at their best

  • Rain: Move pots away from sheltered spots to ensure the rain reaches them.
  • Create shade: Protect large areas by hanging a shade cloth stretched across a fence or hung from poles.
  • Mulch: Give the garden a good watering and mulch well with organic matter. This will help to retain moisture.
  • Self-timed sprinklers: Set up a timed sprinkler or attach a soaker hose to your water butt to allow for gradual watering at a controlled level, either early in the morning or in the evening. Move pots to in reach of the sprinklers’ water.
  • Water bulbs: Use water bulbs for outdoor pots, ensuring a slow release of water.
  • Protect from pests: Common pests such as aphids, slugs and snails, red lily beetles and vine weevils can cause major damage. Do a pre-holiday check for any signs of pests or plant diseases so that you can treat them before you go.

For more information, visit the Garden Solutions area at Wyevale Garden Centres or www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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