Remembering to keep your houseplants watered can be tricky. It can be hard to know how to look after a plant if you’re going away or if you’re simply struggling to maintain it. Even if you can rely on someone to pop over and maintain them, there’s still the risk of over - or under -watering.
There’s nothing worse than coming home and finding your favourite plants are brown and crispy so why not try these plant hacks to keep your green friends hydrated and happy?
Make your own irrigation system to keep your plants watered
This method of watering is ideal if you are going away for a week or two. To make the watering device, take a plastic drinks bottle, poke holes in the half you’ll bury (the bigger the holes, the quicker the water will drain), bury most of it in the soil, and fill with water. The water will slowly drain from the bottle, keeping your soil moist.
This system is best for plants that need regular watering and enjoy moist soil. If you’d rather not get hands on and make your own, most gardening shops now offer products similar to the DIY bottle irrigation. Not only will they have allocated the right number and size of hole, they also tend to look a lot nicer too!
Try a self watering system
This is a good method to avoid overwatering those plants which need less water. You’ll need a length of string, candle wick or any other water-absorbent material. If all you can find is a thin piece of string, you can plait it to help improve its absorbency.
Tie a knot in one end of the wick and let it sit in water until completely soaked. Then, thread the wick through the soil and out of the bottom of your drainage pot. Leave the wick dangling in a fresh pot of water and the soil will ‘pull’ the water up through the string as-and-when it needs more.
Perhaps your plant needs a slow release watering system
Materials such as a soaked egg carton or wet towel hold water very well. Simply cut up some old egg cartons and soak them in some fresh water. These can be buried in the soil itself for a slow-release water supply. Another option is to fully soak a towel and sit your plant pot on top. The soil will pull the moisture through the holes in the bottom of the pot, keeping soil moist. This is a good method of slowly releasing water through to the plant.
Try and keep the moisture in your plants
The biggest water thief is the sun, so moving your plants to a shadier area before you leave can help reduce the moisture lost from the soil.
You can also layer the top of the soil with wet newspaper. This way, the moisture from the newspaper will evaporate first, trapping the moisture in the soil beneath.
Make a miniature greenhouse for your plants
A mini greenhouse for your plant will keep humidity high and the soil moist whilst keeping the temperature warm. Take a see-through plastic bag – one big enough to cover both the plant and the pot. You’ll also need a couple of bamboo sticks to hold the bag up and stop it collapsing onto the plant.
Start by planting the bamboo sticks into the soil, one either side of the plant. Make sure they are in deep enough to be fairly sturdy. Now, wrap the plastic bag over the top of the bamboo sticks, around the bottom of the plant pot, and tie the handles together. Finally, secure the bag in place with a rubber band to keep it airtight.
Written by George Williams from SmartPlant