How to keep your plants alive when you're away for the holidays

Remaining green for 2019

How to keep your plants alive when you're away for the holidays
Stars Insider

12/28/18 | StarsInsider

LIFESTYLE Home

In the midst of trying not to overpack your suitcases, making arrangements for your absence at work, and getting excited about a much-needed change of scenery, it's easy to forget about the leafy houseplants you're leaving behind. Do yourself a favor by keeping them in the best of health so that you still have some vibrant green in your life when you return.

This holiday season, MindBodyGreen has researched the best ways to get ahead of the wilting, while simultaneously combating the wave of post-vacation sadness that will inevitably wash over you if you return to a house filled with dead plants. Here are some simple tips that will make all the difference.

Water more than usual. Though overwatering in normal circumstances is certainly not recommended, an exception to the rule is encouraged one or two days before leaving. The soil should be moist enough that it would drip if the pot was turned on its side, but it should not be soaking. For trips longer than a week, however, you should also move the overwatered plant into a smaller room that more easily maintains humidity, like a bathroom, provided that there is a window for sunlight. Another trick to keeping moisture in is adding decorative moss, rocks, or another insulating material to the top of the pot, restricting evaporation.

Turn up the heat. You'll have to compare the cost of replacing your plants with the cost of your heating bill, but plant professionals recommend leaving your heating on during your vacation, at around 65°F or 18.3°C.

Do some rearranging. If your plants usually live next to the window, relocate them closer to the center of the room before you leave so that they don't dry out. Intense, direct light expedites wilting, but plants still need sun to grow, so it's best to keep those blinds open. If you put all your plants together in the same room, they can each contribute to maintaining a more humid environment that is beneficial for all.

Give the fertilizer a break. You don't want your plants to grow unruly and oversized while you're gone, so you can give them their own sort of vacation by holding off on the fertilizer.

Have a backup plan. This is especially important if you're going on a long trip, since many leafy plants won't last more than two weeks without being watered. Call a friend to check in on your plant family, or invest in a self-watering plant pot.

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