5 Ways to Keep House Plants Alive During Travel
Most recognize the benefits of having a couple of house plants indoors to help purify the air we breathe. I didn't bother to do anything about house plants until we had kids. I figured now was the time to clean the air THEY breathe. For years, I've tended my peace lily plants with relative success, even impressing my dark green thumbed sister who marvels at how my peace lilies stay so happy looking. It's our daily chats, I tell her.
Part of the reason I was reluctant to add to the family with house plants those years ago was I traveled pretty regularly and the idea of both killing a plant while away and returning to the withered vision of those on their last photosynthesized breaths was just too much to bear. Okay, admittedly life was pretty good if I was worrying about plants. Fast forward, peace lilies in the house (three of them) plus a couple of seasonal 4", 6" or 8" potted plants that I pick up at the grocery store when there's a sale or I'm feeling particularly festive, which happily is most months of the year. But how to care for and maintain, nay nurture, said plants?
Here are 5 Ways to Keep House Plants Alive and Thriving During the Holidays and Beyond
First choose plants that do double duty - look nice and are known to clean air efficiently. NASA (yes, the astronauts) suggest these. Over the years, I've nurtured peace lilies, English ivy, spider plants and bamboo. And according to scientists, all good choices.
Then, water house plants weekly by gathering them from rooms of the house and placing them in the kitchen sink. Run cold water to hydrate the plants and let them sit in the basin for up to an hour while they soak up all that H2O. The longer you leave them the less they drip on the way back to their home in the house. Plan to move them back with a dish towel under the base of the plant for any drips.
Every other week, when watering, use your sheers to snip any browning or yellowing leaves to keep greens fresh. I don't fertilize my house plants, leaving that for my outdoor blooms, but if you'd like to give your house plants an extra boost, combine 1 Tbs Epson salt with 1 gallon of water and water your plants monthly with this solution.
When you bring your plants to the sink, instead of running water from the faucet, water from a can or pitcher with your Epson salt solution. Epson salt is made of magnesium and sulfate, both vital nutrients for plants.
For the travel weary, take heart and get a few houseplants to freshen your air. Don't worry about leaving them to dry up. Instead, gather plants and place in a shallow storage bin or use the bath tub. Fill bin with a shallow bit of water, 1/4"-1/2". The plants will soak it up while you're away. Good for up to 2 weeks of travel.
It's all pretty easy if you have a system in place. And remember to keep your plants up and out of little hands' way. I once gave out sweet little sweet peas for a spring baby play date event, only to be told afterwards that I had given my guests poisonous plants! My advice, was to keep the baby away from the plant! Ugh! Live and learn. Enjoy!