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I’m a gardening expert – how to keep your potted plants from dying on holiday and it won’t cost you anything

Going on vacation should be an opportunity to relax, but if you’re a “plant mom” you might spend your vacation worrying about how your fronds are doing.

Preparing your home ahead of time can prevent your plants from feeling stress while you decompress for miles.

When you go on vacation, you can endanger your poor, unattended plants if you don't prepare

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When you go on vacation, you can endanger your poor, unattended plants if you don’t preparePhoto credit: Getty

Lindsay Pangborn, a gardening expert at Bloomscape, told Well + Good her expert secrets for keeping plants alive even when no one is around to ensure they thrive.

There are three important things to consider before you head out of town – so you can come home with healthy, happy plants.

MOISTURE IS THE KEY

In the days leading up to your trip, take steps to give your plants adequate water. You don’t want to overdo it and trigger root rot, but dehydration is one of the main reasons plants wilt while homeowners are away.

“Water deeply by allowing water to soak into the soil until it flows out the bottom of the pot,” Pangborn said.

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“Let your plants drain for about 20 minutes before putting them back on their saucers.”

You can also do a bit of amateur engineering to create a miniature ecosystem in your home that keeps plants moist.

“Create a humid microclimate while you’re away by grouping your plants in a small room or space that gets natural daylight,” Pangborn said.

In this space, set up watering tools that will add moisture to your plants without additional intervention.

“Put a layer of pebbles in a tray and pour water on the pebbles. Then put your plants on it,” she said.

As water evaporates from the tray, your plants will benefit from the moisture but won’t sit directly in the water, creating a muddy puddle.

“As the plant’s soil medium dries out, more water can drain from the chamber into the soil, keeping it consistently moist,” Pangborn added.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Pack sunscreen and protect your plants from burns before your trip.

Pangborn explained that you can adjust the placement of your plants to ensure they get plenty of light but don’t end up with sun damage.

“Plants that need a full amount of sunlight, put them a few feet away from the windows so they can still get bright light without using up their water supply as quickly,” she said.

If you have planters on an outdoor patio, you can also take steps to move your plants around and prevent them from scalding while you’re away.

“Full sun and wind will cause the planters to dry out much faster,” explains Pangborn.

Instead, place your outdoor plants in a shady area.

“A week or two in the shade will not harm the long-term health of these plants,” the expert said.

PREPARE YOUR SPACE

Make sure trimming your plants is also on the to-do list as you prepare for your trip.

Pruning and clipping is especially important for outdoor plants.

“This will slow down water use and reduce the chance of fungal growth,” the plant pro said.

Plus, your plants can welcome you home with a touch.

“While you’re gone, the plants will work to produce new flowers — meaning you’ll have a new batch of fresh buds to enjoy when you return,” Pangborn said.

And while you might be tempted to turn off the air conditioning or heating before a long trip, think about whether the savings on electricity bills are worth the life of your plants.

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“Any drastic change in temperature can seriously stress your plant,” Pangborn said.

Keep your thermostat set near your home’s normal temperature, or move your plants to a room that maintains a more even balance if that’s not an option.

Set up your plants for success before heading out of town on vacation

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Set up your plants for success before heading out of town on vacationPhoto credit: Getty

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https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/5298985/stop-plants-dying-vacation-holiday-potted-garden/ I’m a gardening expert – how to keep your potted plants from dying on holiday and it won’t cost you anything

Jessica MacLeish

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