My Yard/Garden Tips

Watering plan for Indoor Curry leaves plant during your absence

As many of you know that I was gone for a 3 weeks vacation to India.  I am getting back to my regular routine now.  Packing for the trip was not a problem for me, but I was more worried about my indoor 'Curry leaves' plants that I brought inside during September when the weather started to change.  The leaves started to fall here and there and I was concerned how I was going to leave it during the vacation without proper watering plan.

In the past I had bought plant light and kept them in the basement.  For watering I used 1 gallon milk jars and poked a hole at the bottom and have the jar sit on the dirt in the pot.  This method had kept my plants alive, but they would shed the leaves and won't look healthy.  This time also I tried the same technique first.  I poked holes in milk jars and tried to irrigate them and monitored them for couple of hours.  After couple of hours the pot got over soaked and the water started to leak out; the holes were a bit bigger.  So the plan to use milk jars was dropped. 

I prefer leaving my plants in the same condition than sending them to other houses to take care.  The reasons are:
  • The optimal temperature in which your plant is growing may not be the same at the house where you are sending them to.
  • The amount of sunlight that the plant is getting in your house may not be the same in the other house.
  • Depending on the above 2 factors, the water requirement by the plant may vary and it could ruin the health of the plant if you had the care taker use a set amount of water to irrigate it.
It was a last minute call in the morning before we left to NY; I wanted to try something different.  I had tried these experiments when I was in high school.  Luckily I remembered the high school experiment that I tried at home.  I loved gardening from my high school and had tried it for small plants back home.  I told my hubby about my watering plan and wanted to try anyhow and see the outcome when we return.   

    After 3 weeks of vacation, when I stepped into my house, first thing I did was I ran to my curry leaves plants to check them out and they were healthier and greener than before.  I was so happy to see them stay healthy when they were left by themselves.

Here are the steps I took to water my plants:
  • The house temperature was adjusted to 64 F as there was no one in the house.
  • Got some plastic containers like basins and buckets with circumference bigger than the base of the pots in which the plants were.
  • I placed the pots into the basins and filled water into the basin till 1/8th of the pot (from the base).
  • I left them at the same spot where they usually stay.  You can  bring them all together where  some filtered sunlight reaches.  I left them near the blinds of the kitchen, where light enters during day time.
  • I had a big pot which I was not able to find basin in the last minute that would fit the pot, so I cleaned the laundry sink few times to make sure there was no soap residue.  Then closed the drain and filled the sink with water just enough to reach 1/8th the height of the pot from the bottom.  To my surprise, not a single leaf wilted from this plant even though there was no sunlight in the laundry room as the blinds were closed.

The scientific reason behind this is the process of Osmosis which is a diffusion process that involves the movement of water particles from higher concentration area to lower concentration area.  The deep longer root that reaches the bottom of the pot will absorb the water where the concentration of water is higher when immersed in water.  As the top part of the pot gets drier, more water from reservoir (the basin) will be moved to the top and will keep the pot wet enough for weeks. 

This is a very simple technique, but it works like a charm.  There is no need to panic when you have to leave alone your plants when you are going out for vacation.  You don't have to bother lifting the plants back and forth from house to house to take care during your absence.

  • Please do not use this technique for any variety of Cactus or succulent plants.   This method of watering will simply kill the plant as they scarcely need water. 
  • Orchids are also fine without water for 15 to 20 days.  Use ice cubes before you leave for orchids, they will be fine for 3 - 4 weeks without water.

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