How to keep houseplants alive when you're away on holiday
There are a range of easy DIY methods to ensure your pot plant pets survive a solo spell.
But obviously the right approach depends very much on the unique needs of the different kind of plants you are growing.
With toughies that can take a dry spell, you don't need to do much, although shift them to a cool spot out of direct sun if you have them in a sunny corner.
But with plants that need frequent irrigation, you are going to need to keep them watered and there are several ways to do that depending on how big they are and how easy they are to move.
If you have a bath, line the bath tub, laundry tub or shower with old, wet towels – and don't put in the plug. Water plants thoroughly by soaking the pots in a bucket of water until no air bubbles pop to the surface. Place the plants on the wet towels. Give them a good misting with the shower or a sprayer bottle too. Plants love the moist atmosphere but won't be sitting in water which could lead to root rot.
For plants that need a lot of water, for example, maiden hair ferns or ones that are too big to move, set up a wicking system.
Take a length of water-absorbing cord or fabric. Put one end in a bucket of water and bury 20cm or so of other end in the soil around the top of the plant pot. Cotton window-sash cord and the cord sold as replacement wicks for citronella or tiki torches both work very well, as do torn strips of old towels.
A thick layer of wet newspaper over the top of the soil helps will retain moisture too. Make sure that all the plants are pest- and disease-free as close contact and humid conditions will allow cross infection.
Quarantine any suspect plants separately.