Move indoor plants out of direct sunlight
If you have plants on windowsills or other spots where they’re exposed to direct sunlight, move them to a shady area of the house. Soil won’t dry out as fast and as such they will need less water.
Place plants in the tub
Wet a few towels and place them flat in the bathtub, plug secured. Place pot plants on the towels and leave them there. The plants will absorb water when they need it, and all of them placed close together will create lots of humidity that they love.
Install an automatic irrigation system
Installing an automatic irrigation system is the easiest way to ensure your garden gets the water it needs. Simply set it on a timer and let technology take care of it.
DIY irrigation system using plastic bottles
If you would rather opt for a homemade version, which is cheap and temporary, it’s easy enough to do it yourself using two-litre plastic bottles. Simply poke a hole in the lid of the bottle, fill it with water and replace the cap. Push the bottle upside down into the soil and water will release slowly.
Mulch, mulch, mulch
Mulching is one of the easiest ways to ensure water is retained as it prevents evaporation. After watering plants, preferably the day before you leave, mulch the beds. Use anything from compost and bark chips to grass cuttings and even newspaper.
Add water-retaining additives to soil
Water-retaining additives are great at keeping soil wet for longer, and they work even better when covered with a layer of mulch. Try Aquasoil or Stockosorb, available from most garden centres or nurseries.
Plant water wise
If you’ve planned your trip well in advance, it’s definitely worth investing in hardy, water-wise plants like succulents. They can easily be left for weeks on end and, although many of them flourish when watered, they look just as beautiful without.
Cover plants in plastic tents
If you will only be away for a short break, create little tents to cover plants. This works especially well for container plantings. Secure a clear plastic bag over plants, using canes or sticks to elevate the bag. Vapour is collected by the plant creating a mini rain forest and, essentially, a self-watering system.
Invest in self-watering containers
Everyone with indoor plants should invest in self-watering containers, which can be bought at most nurseries. These clever containers have built-in reservoirs with a slow release system. Water the container before you leave and you’ll be sure to come back to healthy plants.
Hang a shade cloth outside to protect plants from the sun
This is especially handy in drought-stricken areas. A shade cloth will ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out too much, and keep your plants out of the harsh sun.
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