Plant parents will be able to relate to delaying trips or remaining worried for the entirety of a holiday because no one is at home to water their favourite plants.
Since we are smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, we speak to Annette Matthew, a resident of Thane in Maharashtra and an expert in gardening to quell your doubts.
Gardening for the past eight years, she grows about 300 varieties of plants with the help of her family and also runs a YouTube channel called Geeks of Green.
Despite her mother’s and mother-in-law’s interest in gardening, Annette wasn’t involved in it until on her trip to Mussoorie she visited a relative’s house that was filled with huge varieties of beautiful plants. She came back with around 40 succulent plants.
“I started gardening by planting whatever looked good. But soon I understood that we should plant according to space, sunlight and other amenities available at our place,” says Annette.
Her YouTube channel that was started in 2018 was inactive for around eight months until she started posting videos regularly. Today, the channel has more than 80,000 subscribers.
Annette shares some tips on watering plants while one is away from home. “It is best to have a friend or relative in or near your house to look after plants. Nothing equals individual care. But there can be situations where you have got no other choice but to use some tricks to keep plants healthy,” she adds.
To continue gardening even when you aren’t present, Annette says:
Seek help from a friend/neighbour
- Divide your plants into different categories based on their need for water. Separate them into plants that need water regularly, weekly and 2-3 times a week. This method will help those who offer to help you easily differentiate and water the plants accordingly.
- Keep the plants away from direct sunlight so that the soil remains moist for a longer time.
- Keep all the plants in one place which will help your friend not miss watering any. Also, place the watering equipment together so that it’s easy for them to spot.
- Water all plants well before leaving. Place them in a shady area with low sunlight.
- Take a plastic bottle, make small hopes with the help of a needle on its top and place it upside down in the pot in such a way that water slowly drips to the roots.
- If wide tubs are available at the house, fill them with water and place the pots in them so the moisture retains in the soil for a long time.
- To avoid mosquitoes breeding in the water, spray a solution consisting of three per cent hydrogen peroxide and three drops of dishwashing liquid mixed in water in the tub.
- Take a cotton cloth and turn it into a thin rope. Place one end of the rope in a tumbler of water and the other end inside the plant pot in such a way that it reaches the roots. This will help retain moisture.
- Use a mixture that can absorb water. Adding more cocopeat to the mix will help in retaining water.
- Another effective method is mulching wherein the plants are to be watered well to add dry leaves or a wet cloth around the plant. Frequent watering is not required after implementing this method.
- Ready-made irrigation systems like drip irrigators are available on online shopping sites like Amazon. It comes with a timer and water the plants at regular intervals.
- Proper drip irrigation systems are available to be implemented for large gardens. This requires money and time to install but is highly convenient to use.
Visit Annette’s YouTube channel for more detailed information on gardening.
Read this story in Hindi here.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)