Care tips for your plants when away from home?

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Redtwist

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I'm going away for a week or so soon, which raises the thorny issue of how to look after the orchids when absent for more than a few days. Not too worried, when its only a week, but longer absences/holidays in future are worth planning for.

I should mention I'm specifically talking about a small group of paphs/phals in a home growing environment - so automated systems of watering/fogging etc. are out, as is leaving plants outdoors or windows/doors open for air flow (Im in the UK, so anything can happen weatherwise). I have a desk fan and heat mats under humidity trays at my disposal, so hopefully by using timers I can keep air flow (if only recycled) and humidity ticking over. But whats best when it comes to watering? A long final soak before leaving, then fingers crossed?

I'd be interested to hear peoples tips/strategies for dealing with absence periods and what they place most importance upon - keeping plants from drying out, or from getting too wet/stale?
 

SlipperFan

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If you can keep the environment cool, the plants will need less water. So a good watering before you leave should be fine for them.
 

Justin

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Fans will dry them out so i would not use them...water them well and they should be fine for a week. 2 weeks you would want a friend to come water...
 

Linus_Cello

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What media are your plants in? If you have pals in spaghnum they may not dry out for two weeks (at least some of my phals in spaghnum take that long to dry out).

Another 'trick" is grow semi-hydroponic. Don't have to worry about overwatering or sitting in water.
 

fibre

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I put my Paphs that usually sit on the windowsills on a table in the middle of a cool room. They get some low light from two windows (distance about 2-3 meters). I water the day before I leave. This way you can leave them alone for two or three weeks.
 

Redtwist

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What media are your plants in? If you have pals in spaghnum they may not dry out for two weeks (at least some of my phals in spaghnum take that long to dry out).

Another 'trick" is grow semi-hydroponic. Don't have to worry about overwatering or sitting in water.

My plants are in a mix of bark and leca pellets - with a small amount of ground moss in the paphs and about 50% moss in the phals. The paphs do dry out much quicker, but thats the way I like it as I've had more problems with root/base root and overwatering in the past when the media was less open.

Excuse me being dense here, but how would you set up a temporary S/H? I assumed that did mean having them sat in water constantly?

Thanks for the good tips everyone. Yes, Justin, I wondered if the fan might be counter-productive in this situation. So I guess the concensus is keep the conditions gentler (cooler,shadier,etc.) until youre back?
 

Linus_Cello

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Excuse me being dense here, but how would you set up a temporary S/H? I assumed that did mean having them sat in water constantly?

Thanks for the good tips everyone. Yes, Justin, I wondered if the fan might be counter-productive in this situation. So I guess the concensus is keep the conditions gentler (cooler,shadier,etc.) until you get back?

No temporary s/h. Just repot in s/h next time. My phrags do fine in s/h. Paphs don't seem to like it.

Yes cool and shady. Some dry shriveling better than having neighbor overwater and rot your plants.
 

Wendy

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I'm a home grower now as well. When we go away for a week all I do is make sure they are watered well the day before we leave. Our son stays here to look after the house but does nothing to the plants. I have him open the curtains etc exactly the same as if we were here.

I think most people worry too much about leaving their plants (in a house situation) alone for a week-10 days. By the time they are back it would be the normal watering time again anyways.
 

Redtwist

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I'm a home grower now as well. When we go away for a week all I do is make sure they are watered well the day before we leave. Our son stays here to look after the house but does nothing to the plants. I have him open the curtains etc exactly the same as if we were here.

I think most people worry too much about leaving their plants (in a house situation) alone for a week-10 days. By the time they are back it would be the normal watering time again anyways.

Thats too long for me - I'm currently watering my multis virtually every other day! Its my own fault, as I deliberately went for a very open mix to reduce any risk of root/base rot, which has been a bit of a problem for me in the past, but it has now gone slightly the other way. The plants are doing well so long as I keep my regular watering up, so I think a cooler/shadier spot, plus the good final water is the answer for now - until its repotting time.
Thinking about it, a moss/spagh (or perhaps plastic) 'collar' to trap moisture a little longer might work well as a quick fix?
 
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