Houseplant Care During Vacation

By Phyllis Van Horn

The bathtub routine has worked great for me. Was once gone for ten days, and all my plants did fine.

I put several layers of bath towels in the bottom of the bathtub. Then I watered all the plants thoroughly and left some water in the bottom of the tub, with the towels thoroughly saturated and pots on top (not cacti).

Came home and all the water was absorbed by the plants but the towels were still damp. I probably could have stretched it to 14 days.

Re-evaluate your pots. If you’re using terra cotta, consider plastic which does not dry out as fast. Pots with the self-watering wells in them help, too.

Consider using polymer water crystals. They are expensive, but a little goes a long way and they are worth it. It’s less expensive in the long run to spring for a large bottle, and then you will have crystals for several years. I rehydrate the crystals by soaking in lots of water overnight to get them to their maximum size, then add them to the soil when potting. If you add them dry or you add too many, they can swell and pop the plants right out of the pot.