How To Water House Plants While Travelling For A Month

Question From: Pinckney, Michigan, United States
Q: Hi Nancy, Read your column always! I have an indoor plant question, hope you can help me. No one I have contacted so far can give me an answer. I am leaving them for 1 month and have no one to come in and water them. I don't want to lose them; they are sentimental to me. One is a lipstick hanging plant that I have had for 35 years, one is a mixed foliage planting that I brought home from my mom's funeral 4 years ago, a hugh aloe, a Christmas cactus, and an English Ivy. The only solution I can think of is to put them in a sink, with a few inches of water they can draw from. What can you tell me, please.

A: Setting the plants in water is not a good idea. Better to set them in a circle on the floor. In the middle place a 5 gallon bucket of water on a stool. Next take thick cotton rope or thick strips of terry cloth and wet them. Then stick one end in the soil of each pot - about three inches deep and drop the other end in the bucket. It should reach the bottom of the bucket. The water will move into the pots by osmosis. Set this up and test it to make sure the plants are getting the right amount of water. Stick the rope deeper in the soil to increase the moisture level or less deep to reduce the moisture level. You can add a second wick if necessary. You might have someone check on the plants while you are gone. Old beach towels would do the trick. Good Luck Nancy and Happy Yardening