Helping Houseplants After The Vacations

However hardy and drought-tolerant indoor plants are, they require systematic care and regular attention. Only a select few indoor "Spartans" can easily endure the absence of their owners and proper watering. And after all, not only business trips, but also a long-awaited vacation no one puts off for the sake of green and blooming darlings. Even if you can rely on your loyal friends to take care of your plants, you are still likely to encounter unpleasant surprises when you return. And the first thing you should think about is emergency care for your green pets.

Helping houseplants after the vacations
Home plants. © inaminorchord

How to prepare your plants for your absence?

Every, even the most radiant florist sometimes has unexpected trips in life. And no matter whether it is a pleasant or not so pleasant reason for them, such absences disturb the usual way of life and all the plants in our house. And that's not to mention the long-awaited vacation! Even before going on vacation or business trips, it's worth thinking about how to minimize the traumatic factors for your plants. As with any other crop protection issue, prevention is the best method of control. Even if you have a short trip for a few days or make arrangements with someone to water your plants, make preparations anyway:

  1. Water your plants generously and soak the ground clod with water. If you can, install an automatic watering device.
  2. Transfer plants to the coolest place in the house.
  3. Install screens to diffuse direct rays or move plants to a place with diffused light and keep them out of the sun.

Such simple measures will help to minimize moisture loss and reduce the plants' need for active care, thus making it easier to take measures upon return.

Resuscitating plants after a long trip

But first aid to plants after returning from a vacation or trip may still be needed. Every florist has, more than once, been distressed to discover at the first glance that even your friends or neighbors who have taken the trouble to water your plants have failed and they are in a sorry state. But in trying to make up for the lack of attention to your green loved ones as quickly as possible, it is important not to overdo it and make things worse. Never grab a watering can and start watering immediately. After all, if they have been cared for, it is possible that the cause of the oppressed state - not at all in the dryness of the substrate. So in order to help your houseplants and potted plants you must first take a good look at them and see exactly what condition they are in:

  1. If you have arranged for someone to take care of them, it is likely that the plants are in an over-watered substrate and not suffering from dryness. Overwatering the substrate with temporary caregivers is much more likely to threaten the plants, they are more likely to overwater than to water too sparingly.
  2. There are also cases where plants literally wither away. This problem is most obvious on short and unexpected business trips or trips and in cases where no one has agreed to help.

And outwardly both are difficult to distinguish. The two problems you may encounter appear the same: dry tops, sluggish and pale leaves, and withering shoots are characteristic of both cases.

Helping houseplants after the vacations
Home plants. © Boyce

What to do if plants are flooded?

If your plants have suffered from too much watering and too much care, you need to dry out the ground lump immediately. First, take the pots out of their trays and place them on a tall stand so that air can get to the watering holes. Allow the substrate in the pots to dry out almost completely and, for drought-tolerant crops, dry it out completely. Only then should you start to water regularly, making sure to check the moisture content of the substrate and to check the plants carefully before each watering.

The plants will not recover as quickly, but they will gradually return to normal. If drying does not help or is unacceptable for a particular plant species, you will have to resort to the dangerous but only way out - emergency transplanting.

What to do if plants have not been watered?

In case your plants have suffered from too long a drought, it is urgent to fill the ground with water and perform an emergency watering. But for such a procedure the classical method of top watering is not suitable.

The containers with the plants should be lowered into large bowls or a bucket of water suitable for watering house plants, and left completely submerged until the soil is completely saturated with moisture and no more air bubbles can escape.

If you cannot submerge the plants in water because of their large size, you should put the plants in a large container or on a tray into which a large amount of water can flow freely and water a little bit of the substrate from above every hour. And then water profusely.

Helping houseplants after the vacations
Housing plants. © Jose Harvey T

Sanitary pruning

But correcting moisture is not the only first aid to your pets. It is necessary not to forget about sanitary pruning. You can do it not earlier than 10 days after your return and the resumption of watering normally.

At the age of two weeks after renewed care you will already be able to judge if the plant is able to produce new leaves and shoots or if you have to resort to more drastic measures. If the plant is recovering well then pruning all dead, rotten and damaged parts of the plant, removing yellowed leaves and elongated shoots will help it to fully recover.


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