How do you care for your plants while you’re away from home? One common solution is to pay someone to water your indoor and outdoor container plants. But you can greatly reduce the need for watering by taking a few steps before you leave home.
1. Always use a potting mix with moisture-retaining polymers (or add polymers to the mix). These compounds retain water for later use by thirsty plants.
2. When you’re headed off on vacation or a work trip, move your plants out of direct sunlight–behind windows with sheer curtains is a great spot.
3. Turn down the thermostat in winter to keep the interior of he house cool.
4. Move pots and containers close together, so the plants will provide each other with shade and humidity.
5. Place sensitive plants inside tents made from white plastic trash bags–place a bag upside down over each plant, using stakes as “tent poles” to keep the plastic off the foliage. Cut a few small holes in the plastic to allow oxygen to reach the plant.
6. To conserve water in outdoor containers, move them to a location sheltered from the wind and cluster them together.
7. You can also bury potted plants to their rims temporarily and mulch around them.
The neighborhood kid who was counting on making a little extra money won’t be happy with these water-saving techniques, but, on the other hand, your lawn will probably still need mowing when you get back.