Have you ever returned from summer holidays to find your garden destroyed by the hot sun and drying winds?
Some plants – especially those in pots – need a little bit of preparation before you leave.
So, what do you need to do to holiday-proof your plants before you hit the road?
Shrubs and trees need to be soaked for several hours at a time using a drip system over a number of days, if you are going to be on holiday for any length of time.
Then if you mulch the roots with whatever you have to hand – compost, shredded newspaper, straw, dried grass – there should be sufficient moisture in the soil to to last two to three weeks.
Large containers also need a sustained soaking for as long as possible, in an effort to conserve moisture in the root and not between the gap in the pot, followed by mulching.
The amount of evaporation via the surface of the mix will be considerably reduced.
Small pot plants can be dunked to the rim in a bucket of water, long enough for any air bubbles to be expelled to show the mix is thoroughly soaked.
They, as well as house plants, will thrive outdoors in the summer months if they can be protected from the heat and wind.
Where plants have to remain indoors, then put them together in a room with low to moderate light, but not in the dark. The plants will need some light if they are to stay alive.
If you have a cool bathroom, the bath can provide a convenient oasis from the dry heat of a closed home.
Line with a few spare towels, and add an inch of two of water.
Put the plants inside and you’ll find they remain cool and moist for at least a week or so.
On plants in the garden and in pots, excess growth should be trimmed back and any fertiliser withheld – it will only stimulate growth and encourage the plants to use more water.
Indoor containers that are too large to move can be watered by the wick system.
A strip of absorbent cloth anchored in a bucket of water, then inserted into the soil around the plants roots, will keep on supplying moisture until the water in the bucket runs out.