How-to: Care for potted plants while you’re away for a few days

One of the first few things I did this time, after getting back from vacation, was to check on my ivy collection in the utility area and the potted plants in the balcony. The balcony garden had thrived well, but the ivies had accumulated a lot of algae almost endangering them.

There’s nothing more heart-rending than to see your plants barren and it’s leaves turning yellow, when you return from a holiday. It’s happened to me more than once, and on every one of these occasions, I’ve sat down to reminisce how long it took for that Tulsi to grow from a three-leaf plant to one with numerous branches. And it’s all gone in no time.

I’ve gone wise since these last few experiences; and here are a few things on my to-do list now before I leave on vacation every time which might be of help:

1. Move the plants to a shaded region of the balcony that doesn’t get direct sunlight. This will help preserve water.

2. If you have only or two potted plants, then fill a bucket with about 10 inches of water (nearly quarter). Immerse the pots in the bucket. This has worked well for me on a number of vacations when I’ve been away for 4-7 days.

3. If you have bottles of ivies like I do, it’s best to drain the water. Clean the roots and fill the bottles with fresh water just before you leave. Ivies, or any bottled plant for that matter, provide a conducive environment for algae to thrive in stagnant water.

The above steps are sufficient if you are going for a week or less. If you plan to be away for a longer duration, then your neighbor is your best bet.  You may also try covering the pots with a plastic sheet.

How do you take care of your apartment garden while you’re away – give the keys to a neighbor and ensure they stick around :), have a gardener/maid water form outside if it’s a ground floor apartment, or do you have some automatic watering system installed? Share your tips/tricks.

I leave you with some inspiring images of balcony gardens …

Plants in colorful buckets. What an idea!

Plants in colorful buckets. What an idea!

Space saver. Gives a great view of the home from the street.

Space saver. Gives a great view of the home from the street.

A hydroponic vegetable garden. Must-see, can-do.

A hydroponic vegetable garden. Must-see, can-do.

Another space saving solution

Another space saving solution

What a feast to the eyes!

What a feast to the eyes!

Image courtesy:

1. Flickr – Bucket PlanterHydroponic Garden, Flowering plants, Stepped, Row planters

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