3 tips for keeping your plants alive while you’re away


By AGENCY

Photo: AFP

When vacations approach, the threat for your houseplants is imminent. Tips for watering, adjusting their exposure to light or protecting them against pests, Youtuber Marion Botanical has a host of ideas to help our green friends get through this period. Tested and approved.

“If I can do it, you can do it too.” Marion Botanical is a French Youtuber who specialises in plants. Her apartment is home to around a hundred of them! She decided to turn her passion for her “little forest” into a YouTube channel where she shares advice for how to care for them – and she’s built up a community of fans.

Is her success down to her pedagogical approach? At least in part, because this plant lover is also a teacher by day. She’s shared her best tips for taking care of plants (and keeping them alive), even during a long absence.

Beforehand: prepare yourself according to how long you’re away.

Everything depends on the length of the absence. It may seem obvious but sometimes plant lovers just can’t resist buying a plant the day before – but don’t. And if you are going away for a month or more, call a friend! You should plan for at least one or two visits per week. If you’re not going to be away more than 15 days, your plants can survive. Note that in case of a heat wave, you must absolutely drop them off at someone’s house.

Tip 1: Managing light exposure

The first thing to do is to move your plants away from the windows. This limits the amount of evaporation from the soil. Then, group your plants, for instance on a table, not too close to the window. This will create a microclimate, because the plants share the humidity. The added benefit is that if someone comes by to water them, they have all the plants in front of them.

Many people like to close their shutters or blinds when they leave on holiday. But it’s important not to leave the plants in complete darkness, because they need sunlight to live. The best thing is to group them in the bathroom so that they can benefit both from the humidity if you have a bathtub and from indirect light.

Tip 2: What to do about water + creating a microclimate

Before leaving, saturate the soil around the roots by giving it a “shower” unless it is a succulent, like a cactus. If the plant comes from a tropical forest, which is the case of a large number of the plants that are popular for living room decor, go for it. Ensure the water passes through the small holes of the pot. Similarly for the foliage, give it a shower. If you leave for a month, it is necessary to invest in pots with water reserves. The water will be distributed throughout your absence.

There are other DIY tricks, such as a bottle whose cap is pierced with a needle and which is tipped into a jar. It’s not very aesthetic, but it’s a good solution. Another option: a bottle with the spout. You can also use ollas (or oyas). These small ceramic pieces inspired by permaculture contain water and diffuse it gently. Plus they are pretty.

Side note: This is a perfect gift for a plant fan. For the lucky owners of a bathtub, put your plants directly in it with a little water. Not too much, so as not to rot the roots, or place a wet towel that will help irrigate the roots by capillary action. Finally a tip that grandmothers have been passing on for hundreds of years: the wool thread. Take 20cm of thread and bury it deep. Place the other end in a glass of water. Via capillary action, the moisture will go up to your plants.

Tip 3: Protecting plants from pests

When you have around a dozen plants or more, it may help to use some black soap spray before leaving, to prevent infections. Don’t forget to shower them well beforehand in case there are already some unwanted guests. Then, dilute a bit of black soap in water and spritz! This is a tip that can be a plant lifesaver, because when you are not there, things can degenerate quickly! – AFP Relaxnews

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