Prepping your Houseplants Before Traveling

Whether you’re heading up north for a long weekend on the lake or jetting cross the globe, these tips and tricks will help keep your houseplants thriving until you return.

Give a Quick Clean

Before you take any other steps, it’s best to freshen up your plants. Remove any dead leaves from the soil. Trim any brown leaves or tips from the plant. Give the leaves a nice dusting with a microfiber cloth and then shower them with a gentle mist. These are great steps to take a few times each year and before leaving is a great reminder.

If you’re only going to be gone for a few days, watering each plant well after their clean-up will be enough. For best results, take each plant to the sink and water well. Allow them to drain for 15 minutes before returning them to their places.

Light and Humidity

An easy way to extend the time between waterings for your plants is to decrease the light and increase the humidity. Move your plants away from south and west facing windows to protect them from direct sunlight. Your plants will handle the reduction in sunlight for a couple of weeks.

Grouping all your plants together will increase the ambient humidity around them. Collecting your plants together—away from windows and heating and cooling registers—will decrease the amount of water the plants lose while you’re away, and allow them to use the humidity they give off. You can also add a couple shallow dishes of water to increase the local humidity.

Create a greenhouse effect by loosely placing a clear plastic bag over your plants.

Temporary Greenhouse

To give extra care to your special plants, you can create a temporary greenhouse using a clear plastic bag. Again, move plants away from south and west facing windows. Place the bag over your plant, using a few sticks to keep the plastic from touching the leaves. Tuck the bottom of the bag loosely around the base of the pot. Poke a few holes in the bag to allow for some air flow. The bag creates a mini greenhouse environment that maintains its moisture.

Follow these tips and you’ll return home to happy and healthy plants. And remember, if all else fails, fill your home with succulents, ZZ plants, and snake plants—they thrive on infrequent waterings and appreciate a little healthy neglect!