Six plants that will cope when you’re away

Amateur Gardening - - Contents -

PASS­PORTS, tick­ets and bags packed. You’re nearly ready to go. But be­fore you get to the stage of head­ing off for your sum­mer break, there’s one more thing to do – plan your hol­i­day wa­ter­ing. Un­less you want to come back to faded peren­ni­als and life­less pots of an­nu­als, you need to con­sider how your plants will be wa­tered while you lie in the sun.

It was once the case that noth­ing could re­place the daily wa­ter­ing that you give your plants. How­ever, with ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy you can pretty much put your wa­ter­ing can down for good if you in­vest in an au­to­matic wa­ter­ing sys­tem.

You’ll find prod­ucts that you can con­trol from any­where in the world. With so many com­po­nents within wa­ter­ing sys­tems you can in­stall seep hoses, sprin­klers, drip­pers, mis­ters and rain sen­sors. These sys­tems can be used un­der glass, for bas­kets, lawns and bor­ders.

If you’re not ready to com­mit to an all-singing, all-danc­ing wa­ter­ing sys­tem, then the ideal so­lu­tion is to ask a friend or neigh­bour to call in every day to wa­ter and to throw open the vents and green­house doors. If you have com­man­deered a non-gar­den­ing friend, ask them to come and watch you wa­ter. Ex­plain the is­sues caused by over­wa­ter­ing as well as un­der­wa­ter­ing!

Con­tainer care

If your friends aren’t pre­pared to take on the chal­lenge of wa­ter­ing, you need to make some changes to your gar­den be­fore you go away.

Mov­ing your con­tainer plants to a shady spot in the gar­den will re­duce the amount of wa­ter they require. Place your win­dow­boxes and pots close to­gether as this will re­duce wa­ter evap­o­ra­tion. Putting pots in saucers is also a good way of cap­tur­ing any rain­wa­ter while you’re away.

Groups of plants in the shade are likely to en­cour­age slugs, so con­sider putting a slug con­trol in place. Also, be­fore you go away give these plants a good soak. If the weather fore­cast is very dry, ask a friend to call in once to wa­ter – this is far less of an ask than a daily visit.

For those who are in the habit of tak­ing a hol­i­day, mix wa­ter-re­tain­ing gel into com­post in pots at plant­ing time. Your choice of pot can also play a part in your wa­ter­ing plans. Ter­ra­cotta pots

Wa­ter works: there are many ways to en­sure your plants are wa­tered while you’re on hol­i­day

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