Not There Plant Care for House Plants and Seedlings
I recently returned from an 8 day trip while leaving my babies at home, unattended. No need to call child protective services…I’m talking about our precious little plants!
These are the butterfly plants I’ve been overwintering since last fall and also the milkweed seedlings we started indoors this spring.
8 days is a long time to leave your plants unattended, but I knew it was not an impossible task.
1. Trim foliage of mature plants the day before leaving so they will require less water during your absence.
2. Water all mature plants and seedlings thoroughly the night before leaving.
Use a hydrogen peroxide mixture to kill any potential fungus gnat eggs lurking beneath the soil.
3. Place gallon jugs of distilled water around the plants. You can also fill up empty gallon jugs with tap water.
4. Cut long pieces of natural twine to put inside the jug with just a few inches remaining outside.
I used 34″ pieces of twine and that worked well for me. I put 3 pieces of twine in each jug, so one jug was used to water 3 plants.
5. Tape over jug openings with duct tape to slow down evaporation.
6. Place the jugs next to your plants.
7. Place the remaining end of each twine piece inside one of your pots so its laying on the soil.
8. Place something on the end to hold the string down.
9. The water will travel through the twine and into your soil as needed.
10. Give your plants some natural light by a window. Keep in mind, the more sunlight they get, the faster the soil will dry out.
11. Make sure the twine is relaying moisture to plants before leaving.
This simply means the twine should be wet.
12. Spray plant foliage with a hydrogen peroxide mixture on the day of your departure
You’ll also want to make sure the added weight from the moisture hasn’t pulled the twine end outside the plant pot. This happened to three of my twine pieces. After I secured them the second time, they all stayed put for the 8 day duration.
13. Transplant any seedlings into larger containers if they are in seed starting trays or small cups.
If your twine somehow fails while you are away, your seedlings will likely be dried up and dead upon your return. At least, take this precaution for your most prized seedlings.
14. Get a grow light timer to give seedlings adequate light. I left ours on about 12 hours a day.
Because the root systems of seedlings require less water, they will likely be fine without twine. However, it’s an added layer of insurance.
After using these tips on a recent vacation, I came back to find all of my plants looking healthier than they did before I left! My prized Swan Milkweed seedlings looked fantastic as they soaked in sun from a window and their incandescent light.
The incandescent desk light worked fine, but keep in mind the plants were also receiving a couple hours of natural sunlight too.
I’m not sure how long I could have left these plants alone, but I’m guessing they all had at least another week without drying out…pretty amazing!