Plant Survival Guide | Living North

Plant Survival Guide


Top tips and tricks for keeping your plants alive while you're on holiday

As Brits gear up to head on their summer hols, many of us plant parents are worrying about how our beloved plants will cope without us on their lone staycation, with over a third of Brits reporting that they feel guilty or upset when their plants die. 

Wyevale Garden Centres have put together a checklist of handy tips and tricks to make sure your indoor and outdoor plant babies survive their time alone – without the need to hire a professional plant-sitter. 


Avoid direct sunlight
Going away for just a few days? Give your plants a thorough watering before you leave and ensure they are moved away from direct sunlight and into a cool room. 

Bags of support
If you’re going away on a short break, place a clear plastic bag over the plant and seal it closed, allowing water vapour to be collected and recycled by the plant. Keep the sides of the bag out of contact with the plant by supporting the bag with canes. 

Self-watering systems
If you’re planning on being away for a week or longer, invest in a self-watering container which has a built-in reservoir and is best for plants which like moist conditions all year round. 

Placemat for plants
Capillary matting is great for a group of small pots. Place them on the matting and drape one end of the mat into a sink or basin of water – the mat will absorb the water and the pots will benefit. Make sure your pots have an open hole at the base and that clay pots are well-watered before putting them on the mat. 

The wick method
Ideal for large individual pots, this technique also involves capillary matting. Immerse a piece of matting into a full container of water and place the other end of the matting directly into the pot for the plant to absorb. 

Bathtub solutions
For smaller plants that like humid conditions, such as ferns and orchids, place these on a water-soaked towel in an empty bathtub. Be careful not to leave plants in a bath or sink full of water as the plant may suffer from overwatering. 

Outdoor Plants

Welcome the rain 
One main advantage for outdoor plants is the chance of natural watering from summer showers. If possible move certain plants out from sheltered spots to ensure the rain reaches them. 

Create shade
If a dry spell is predicted and your plant may be exposed to high levels of sunshine, protect large areas of your garden by hanging a shade cloth stretched across a fence or hung from poles. 

Mulch away
Before you jet off, give the entire garden a good watering and use a few inches of mulch on top of your soil. This will help retain moisture in the summer, keeping your plants at their best through less frequent watering. 

Self-timed sprinklers
Set a timed sprinkler or attach a soaker hose to your water butt to allow for gradual, controlled watering to suit your plants. The best time to water is early in the morning or in the evening after sunset, and be sure to move all containers and pots so they’re in reach of the sprinklers.

Water bulbs
As with houseplants, you can use water bulbs with your outdoor plants, ensuring slow release of water during your time away.

Published in: June 2019

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