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How To Keep Your Plants Alive While On Vacation, Ep 166 - Bloom & Grow Radio

 

 

Are you worried about leaving your plants at home this holiday season? When I was constantly on the road for shows as a musical theater performer, I became a professional traveler and learned a lot of dos and don’ts when it comes to leaving your plant babies at home. The experience can be scary: it can make traveling—what is supposed to be exciting and relaxing—a time filled with anxiety. In this episode, I share many helpful tips you can start implementing on your plant collection so you can enjoy your vacations and holidays stress-free!

 

In this episode, we learn:

  • [01:28] Maria’s fall updates
  • [02:24] Have you been to the kindest and plantiest corner of the internet yet? 
  • [03:03] The perfect planty gift for your loved ones this holiday
  • [04:56] What inspired Maria to do an episode on plants and traveling
  • [09:46] Your next favorite kitchen appliance!
  • [12:40] Understanding your plants’ lighting needs when you’re on vacation
  • [15:12] The importance of using grow lights in your home
  • [17:37] How to make sure your plants get good air circulation while you’re gone
  • [19:28] Maria shares her experience of accidentally leaving her plants in extremely hot temperatures
  • [21:31] How to keep your plants watered while you’re away
  • [25:23] Different watering hacks when on vacation
  • [29:36] Where to get stylish and functional plant accessories for gifting
  • [33:40] Why you need to cut off dead and yellowing leaves from your plants
  • [35:31] Should you hire a plant sitter when you go on vacation?
  • [40:40] Why putting your plants in the bathtub while you’re away might not work
  • [41:33] How to avoid root rot in plants
  • [42:34] Why the greenhouse method won’t work when you’re on vacation
  • [44:33] Maria’s reminder about the role of plants in our lives
  • [46:17] What to keep in mind as you travel and move around this holiday season

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Addressing the Fear

Let’s be honest, plant friends. There really is a certain fear when it’s time to leave your plants for more than a few days. We’ve taken so much care and paid a lot of attention to our collection, and for them not to make it because we went on a vacation? That’s scary, and it is real.

However, traveling should be fun for us. As we transition back to the real world, we should be excited to travel again and explore new places in this world. Being away to spend time with our family and friends should not be clouded with this fear that we’re coming back to dead plants.

Realistically, if you’re only gone for a few days, your plants are most likely going to be fine! But if you’re going on a two-week vacation, there are a lot of things you can do to set your plants up for success.

To start, you can take the free Plant Parent Personality Test to find out your plant parent profile so you can choose the right plants for you. Having plants that suit your personality and your lifestyle helps in achieving a healthy and happy plant collection – whether you’re traveling or not.

And of course, I’m here to help!

 

Your Plants’ 3 Main Needs to Survive While You’re Gone

Whether you’re a beginner or someone who’s collected plants for years, understanding the big three of your plants’ needs are key to keeping them healthy and thriving when you’re on vacation.

Light

Light is the most crucial thing that plants need. Understanding the light in your home and adjusting how much light your plants get already gives you a great advantage while you’re gone. A few things to consider when it comes to your plants’ lighting needs:

  • Remove your plants from your windowsills

While your plants love being on a sunny windowsill most of the time, you want to take them off those windowsills when you’re gone for an extended period of time.

Not only does leaving them on your windowsill expose them to more direct light— therefore risking them to burn—but it will also help them transpire less.

Leaving your plants on the windowsill during colder months can also pose a risk as it can get drafty, so you have to consider how the light and the temperature will change while you’re away.

  • Put your grow lights on timers

Your plants can withstand a few days without proper light, but if you’re gone for more than a week or more, having your plants under grow lights are your best bet.

If you usually have your grow lights on for 12 hours, consider shortening that time while you’re gone to avoid forcing your plants to go into overdrive. As a rule of thumb: it’s better to put them in less light than in more light!

  • Plants in the bathtub?

While this tip is more often recommended than not, putting plants in your bathtub or in a bathroom with low light will most likely result in unhappy plants when you come home.

 

Airflow

If you didn’t know this yet, air circulation is as important as light and water to your plants. Knowing how air circulates in your home can make a difference to your plants’ overall growth.

Since most of us are leaving while it’s still warm and coming back to colder environments, review where your radiator is and make sure you don’t have the heat or your air conditioning on blast.

Remember, we want our plants to be in the same internal conditions as they normally have when we’re at home, so that’s a good baseline for the temperature adjustments you want to make.

 

Water

Watering is one of the things that can make people anxious and the best thing you can do is to keep it simple. A week without watering is fine as long as you give your plants a really good drink right before you leave.

If you’re gone for more than a week, here are some watering hacks that you can dive into to make sure your plants survive:

  • Group your plants together

Putting your plants in one place, all bunched together, helps create a microclimate that’s a little more humid as it helps them transpire less while you’re gone.

NOTE: Triple-check your plants for pests as this method can pose a risk of a bigger infestation!

  • Put your humidifiers on timers

This idea is actually from one of Bloom and Grow’s community members – shout out to Jeff!

If you have plants that require a maintained humidity level, have your humidifiers on timers to help them stay in their preferred humidity range. This option, while genius, will require you to find someone (aka a plant sitter) to refill those humidifiers.

  • Alternative Watering Methods for your plants while traveling 
    • Self-watering planters
    • String method / capillary wick
    • Capillary mat / self-watering tray
    • Self-watering spikes
    • Watering orbs
  • Damp moss method

Put damp moss on top of the soil to help your soil stay moist. This method helps slow down your soil’s evaporation and it can make your plants look really natural and organic!

 

Hiring a Plant Sitter

If you feel more comfortable hiring a plant sitter, here are a few options to consider – and some things you need to remember:

  • Hire a friend

While we love our friends dearly, your plant killer friend is probably not the right person for the job. Hire someone who also has plants or at least knows basic plant care. Make sure to bring them home a gift and absolve them of the guilt if you ever come home to one or more dead plants. 

  • Use the Garden Party App “Plant Friend Near Me” feature

Turn your location on and see plant friends who live near you! This community platform has region-specific groups so it is easier to meet up and vouch for each other. Claim your free 14-day trial to the Garden Party here!

  • Use the Watering Can app

Sign up to be a plant sitter or sign up to get your own plant sitter – either way, this app is great as they do background checks and qualify the plant sitters for you. All you have to do is pay!

 

Best and Least-Liked Tips for Plants When Traveling

Best

  • Cut off all dead or yellowing leaves

Not only does this help your plants’ overall health, but it also makes it easier for you to know if your plants had gone awry while you were gone.

  • Inspect your plants for pests

Doing preventive pest control before you leave is a must to avoid the infestation multiplying while you’re away, especially if you plan to group your plants together.

 

Not a Fan Of

  • Bathtub method

Moving your plants into a no- to low-light environment will most likely result in sad plants when you come home. Root rot is also a possibility if you leave your plants in a water-filled tub or tray as the soil will be unnecessarily wet for a long time.

  • Plastic bag greenhouse

This method is best when trying to heal a plant back to health, but not when you’re leaving for two weeks. Your plants will be susceptible to root rot and you won’t be around to observe them, so better try this out when you’re actually nursing a plant.

  • Grouping plants together–without checking for pests

As mentioned before, pests can multiply and the infestation can worsen if you group healthy and pest-infested plants together. Ensure your plants are pest-free before leaving them all in one place.

 

If you follow some of the tips mentioned above and still come home to unhappy or even dead plants, it’s okay. There will always be that risk and we should always remember that we live our lives for ourselves!

Reconnecting with loved ones, exploring the world, and going on adventures are important to us and to our well-being. We should be able to do these things without feeling guilty that our plants are alone back home.

This is your permission to lose a plant if it means you live your life to the fullest!

 

Mentioned in our conversation:

 

Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Modern Sprout

When you think of planty products and accessories, you need to think Modern Sprout. With gorgeous different lines of planty products and accessories from grow lights to watering cans to the cutest gift sets, Modern Sprout has got you covered for this holiday season.

Visit modernsprout.com/growingjoy to see my top gift picks for the holidays and use code GROWINGJOY at checkout for 20% off sitewide.

Lomi

Lomi is a small countertop composter that is the perfect solution to reducing your garbage footprint and food waste. This sleek composter enables you to compost hassle-free: just take your food scraps and put it in the Lomi, press a button, and you’re set! Lomi is giving a rare and special offer of three months of Lomi pods and filters for FREE (that’s $50 value!).

Go to pela.com and redeem your special gift!

 

 

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