Travel plans have been made, time off from work has been approved, and now you’re looking forward to some time away from home! Preparing to go on vacation requires a little planning. We often need to make special arrangements to ensure care for the things we leave behind.

Having someone keep an eye on the house, grab the mail, water the garden, and feed the pets is fairly standard stuff. If you are among the large number of people who have fallen in love with indoor gardening, you may have added some additional foliage plants to your home or you may even be approaching indoor urban jungle status. Now that your vacation is approaching, do you need to worry about all those houseplants too?

As long as you will only be gone for a week or so, the short answer is no—your plants will hardly miss you (no offense)! With the exception of very small containers (like 2-inch tropicals) or exceptionally water-needy plants (some ferns), most houseplants can easily last at least one week without your care.

Be a good plant parent and set your indoor garden up for success while you’re gone! Follow these easy tips on vacation houseplant preparation (most practical for one week vacations or less):

  • Thoroughly water all plants the day before you leave and allow them to drain so they don’t sit in water while you are away.
  • Close window curtains or blinds and/or move plants away from bright sunlight.
  • Clustering plants together can increase humidity, which will be beneficial to most plants and reduce water loss.
  • Take down hanging plants, which tend to dry out quickly, and leave them sitting for the week—hanging plants expose the roots and soil ball to more air and light, which causes water to evaporate faster; plants will usually use less water when sitting rather than hanging.
  • A layer of mulch over the top of the soil may benefit indoor plants that require regular moisture and consistent watering, such as ferns or peace lilies; mulch reduces water evaporation. Houseplant mulch can be any lightweight covering placed on top of the soil—many people use moss, but you might also mulch with bark, wine corks, or even shredded paper. Always be sure to provide at least 1–2 inches of space between mulch and the stems/trunk of your plant.

There are also many simple DIY houseplant watering projects that may be helpful, but generally, most indoor plants should do just fine being left home alone for the week by following the steps outlined above.

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