The Best Advice For Leaving Plants In Your Neighbors' Care While You're Away

Leaving your plants for a long stretch of vacation this summer? Trusting friends or neighbors to water and care for them correctly? Here's a tip: Shift your pre-trip thinking about how you want your greenery handled. Take your focus off your verdure and put all that gardening care into your plant sitter, as Swansons Nursery notes.

Plant sitters mean well and may even be enormously qualified for the job. However, we've all volunteered to tend to a plant while a buddy is away, only to find ourselves in a sudden crisis of confidence. Why is there that odd yellowing of the outer leaf? Is that a bit of wilt in the stem, and is that this plant's way of asking to bathe in the sun or get a break from the heat? Most of us have a sense of our own plants' rhythms, but taking temporary care of others' florae can have us questioning our best judgment.

Implementing a few small tips and tricks can make the care you want for your greenery abundantly clear for your plant sitter without anyone feeling over-tutored on how to pick up a watering can and pour.

Use marking sticks and the all-in-one-sink strategy

Instagram guru Houseplusplant suggests one way to omit the guesswork is by using color-coded markers tucked into each plant pot: Simply paint or color popsicle sticks according to plant needs. For instance, florae with a blue popsicle stick are only to be watered if absolutely dry, while red popsicle stick plants need a drench if just the topsoil is dry. Also, gather them according to watering needs, and place those needing extra attention into one sink or bathtub. Watering your plants a week before you go is also a good tip — that way, they'll need a nice drink on the day you leave.

Another suggestion to help plant sitters help you is leaving behind the tools that make the caring part fun. Do you have a cute little watering can you normally use? Wild Interiors suggests you set that out for your plant caretaker or drop it off along with your verdure if your plant sitter is watching them from the comfort of their own home.

From doggy day care to plant day care

Like doggy daycare, there are plant daycare (via Telegraph) options popping up, but more than likely, you'll find a friend who is happy to house your greenery until you wrap up your vacation. In that case, be purposeful at drop-off time. For example, be sure to position your plants near windows that will get the right amount of sun or away from air conditioner vents as you station your pots around your friend's home. Even better is to bring a tray or pad to put all your pots on, protecting your friend's counter or floor from those incidental water spills.

Swansons Nursery suggests you may give your plant sitter a further sense of calm by outlining your own approach to watering — in the morning before work, for instance, or maybe you typically water in the evening after dinner. Anchoring your water habits to a time of day and general activity can help inspire that same notion for your plant sitter. It's not a bad idea to add a little note for those plants that tend to need periodic pruning. A small post-it reassures your plant sitter that a few falling leaves are nothing to worry about. Letting your buddy know they are doing a fine job will help them feel good, which is your best bet for good plant care while on vacation.