care for plants in gritty mix over vacation

mrtulinFebruary 4, 2011

I recently killed a lovely moss from underwatering, and I realized I need to plan for a two week vacation away from my plants and 4 feet of snow.

I have in 1-1-1 gritty mix the following plants: 2"tall jade start; small citrus start; gaultheria (wintergreen, a hardy groundcover) in 1 qt pots (an overwintering experiment with plants bought in January;) amaryllis in bloom;and some very small cyclamen I don't care much about.

Generally, how do you care for plants that like more moisture, like gaultheria, that are not going to be watered for two weeks? They are in plastic pots.

And Mike, hope to be in touch about the plant food when I get back!


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You'll probably need to make arrangements for someone to come in and water or leave them with someone. I think that if you were using a soil that would be able to carry you through the two weeks w/o watering, it wouldn't be healthy for the plant.

If you have the ability to turn the heat down to 50* and can put the plants together and tent loosely to slow transpirational water loss, it might help. Covering the top of the pots with plastic wrap (the soil, not the plant) would further slow loss.

The wintergreen you can just water well & stick it someplace very cold (32-40*) and it will be fine. Jodi might be able to come up with a suggestion for the amaryllis. Looks like you need a baby sitter for the cuttings and the cyclamen.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 10:23AM
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If you want. I can even come over and water for you, at least once while your gone to help out:-)

I am thrilled they won't be in peat!
Have you ever seen what happens when you let peat get bone dry...?
How about when you lower temps and remove them from light, to encouarge the peat to stay wet for longer periods? Neither have ever had any benefit for my plants in the past.

At least if your gritty mix dries out, you can still water without a hitch at all.
And if your plants sit in darkness, and in very cool conditions, the plants still react nicely to this.

Just as Al suggested, I round up anyone that I can trust to water my plants, and here is the kicker, even if they should over water, like everyday, your plants will still be ok within that time!
I just tell my mom to water them all everyday till I get
Even easier when they are all outdoors.

Your jade should be just fine. Even if it should shrivel quite a bit, it will plump right back up after a watering.

We have to talk soon.:-)


    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 11:25AM
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Actually, it won't hurt the Amaryllis to go a bit without water... it'll simply lose a leaf or two, but once watered again, new leaves will grow. The bulb portion holds a lot of moisture. I'd follow Al's advice... lower the temp a bit, group all plants together, tent them, water well before leaving.

The best way is to have someone you trust come and care for them, if at all possible. Or take them to a trustworthy "plant sitter" friend or neighbor or family member.

Have a good time on vacation! Gosh... I wish I could take one! :-)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 11:44AM
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