While it looks like those of us on the east coast are in for a wet summer with La Niña well and truly in effect, it doesn’t mean that when we finally get to enjoy a well-deserved summer holiday we can completely forget about the garden.
Many of us have house plants or covered balconies where the rain can’t reach and if you’re planning on being away for more than a week and don’t want to come home to an indoor garden graveyard, we’ve got some tips to keep your plants happy while you kick up your feet.
Make use of your bathroom
If you happen to have a bathtub, it can quickly and easily become a giant wicking bed for your plants while you’re away. Just fill it with around 5cm of water, then pop your plant pots in and they’ll pull up as much water as they need. If you’ve only got a few houseplants you can use the same trick in the kitchen sink.
Get rid of any dead weight
Before you head off, take some time to prune off any dead or dying foliage. That way your plants can focus on nurturing the parts that need to be nurtured and not the parts which are already on the way out. If you have any flowering plants it might be worth picking the flowers before you go. Again this will give your plants less to nurture while you’re away.
Create a mini greenhouse
While most house plants are tropical in nature, some need more moisture and humidity than others. A great way to keep them happy is to create a tropical micro environment. All you’ll need is a few skewers or sticks and a plastic bag which you’ve stabbed a few holes in. Give your plant a good water, pop the skewers into the soil around the pot edges to protect the foliage then cover it with a plastic bag and bob’s your uncle!
Keep the light low
Reducing the amount of light your plants get while you are away will reduce the amount they photosynthesise and thus the amount of moisture they need. While we don’t mean you should keep them completely in the dark, moving them away from windows and direct sunlight will do the trick.
Give them a bottle
Some plants require more water than others and you can provide them with their own personal water supply using an old soft drink or wine bottle. All you have to do is fill the bottle with water then using some cotton rope, bury one end a couple of centimetres into your plant’s soil and make sure the other end goes to the bottom of the bottle. The water will move along the rope allowing your plant to suck up as much as it needs.
If you follow these tips you're sure to return home from your holiday to a house full of happy plants.
And if it does rain while you're on holiday, why not kick back with one of our glorious gardening books.