Planning Your Winter Break

Are you planning to get away this winter? Whether it’s to spend time with the family over the Christmas holidays, or to head to warmer climes and soak up some fabulous winter sunshine, spare a thought for your friends back home – your houseplants, that is. You’ll need to make sure you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure that your plants continue to flourish in your absence. Let’s explore some of the things you’ll be need think about, and how to avoid the coming home to wilted greenery.

The first question to ask yourself is how long are you going to be away for? Provided your plants are healthy, and conditions in your home will be stable, then most common houseplants should be fine on their own for up to a week, as long as you give them a good drink before you go. Many, such as varieties of Succulent and Cacti will be quite content for significantly longer than that, but if you’re heading off for an extended trip then you’d better find a way to keep them hydrated.

The simplest solution, if it’s available to you, is to just ask a friend to pop round and give them a drink from time to time - but not everyone has green fingers, so it’s a good idea to leave a note next to any that have particular requirements. But if this isn’t practical, don’t despair. There are a number of alternative strategies and gadgets available to you. It’s a good idea to remove buds and prune plants before you leave as this will make them less demanding. Depending on how many plants you have, a simple watering device might be the way to go. This is where a Boskke Totem comes in handy – water the plants, soak and fill the Totem and insert into the soil – it’ll extend the period between watering by a few days. Depending on how many plants you have, another simple solution is to temporarily rehouse them in the bath or shower stall, sitting atop a soaked towel or two. Then again, if you find yourself going away on a more regular basis, you might want to consider switching over to self-watering containers such as the Boskke Cube.

Finally, remember that it’s not only water that plants need to stay healthy, so think about how the environment in your home changes when you’re on holiday. If you prefer to draw the blinds, putting a lamp on a timer for a few hours a day will help keep things green and growing. Likewise, remember that most varieties prefer slightly cooler conditions in winter, so set the thermostat for between 15°C and 18°C (58°- 64°F).  

Your houseplants bring you pleasure – as well as cleaner air and a less stressful environment - all year round, so why not return the favour and ensure they don’t miss you too much when it’s time to pack your bags? Take the necessary steps, then forget about it and have good time. Now – where did you put that passport?

Joss Spry, November 2017

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