Anita Morton - Growing Gardens

Holiday plant care

If youre heading off for a holiday this festive season, it pays to prepare your garden and pot plants to survive without you. The garden needs a thorough soaking dig holes to see that the water has seeped right down to the root zone followed by mulch.

Outside pot plants should be thoroughly saturated and grouped together in a shady and protected spot. Soak the potting mix by sinking the whole pot into a bucket of water and leave it there for a minute or two. If the mix is dry, add a few drops of washing-up liquid to help the water penetrate. Leave the saucers off and put the pots directly on damp earth, then heap up mulch around them.

Indoor plants like aspidistras and cacti will be perfectly happy if left in a bright, but not hot, room soak the pot, drain and leave them for up to two months.

More thirsty plants need more care. Soak the pots and drain them as before, then mulch the soil surface with damp coir or pebbles. Group them together in a laundry trough, bath or shower base which has been lined with newspaper to prevent scratching. If youre going to be away for more than two weeks, prop the pots up on blocks and fill the base of the trough with water. The constant humidity will keep plants in good condition, but dont let the base of the pots actually touch the water.

Dont worry if there isnt a lot of light for the short term, its more important that plants stay cool. Do remember to check each plant for pests and diseases before you include it in the group. We dont want to spread the problem, so sickly or infested plants can take their chances outside. Have a happy holiday season!


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