Because nobody wants to come home to sad plants.

By Katherine Owen
May 18, 2018
Caring for Plants
Credit: Inna Chernish / EyeEm/Getty Images

You changed the thermostat. Took the dog to boarding. Made sure all irons—curling or clothing—are off. The neighbor is getting the mail and you cleaned out the fridge. But! What about your little plants—especially the house plants? I personally haven't heard of plant sitter yet—though maybe that's included in house-sitting duties?—and artificial intelligence just isn't quite there yet. Here's a few smart ways to care for green, leafy friends while you're away:

For the trusting, and minimally committed:

1. Water before leaving: duh.
2. Move them to an area with indirect light: there's no denying a plant needs sun, but this will help prevent rapid dry-out.
3. Place them close together. Grouping them could help create a miniature climate that keeps them more hydrated.
4. Pray!

For the somewhat invested:

1. First, take all the above steps
2. Place open containers of water nearby, or put a tray with water and pebbles underneath your planter. Just make sure plant roots are not sitting in water and make sure the containers are not somewhere they could spill. This will add some humidity to the plant's environment.
3. Proceed with caution when it comes to automatic watering systems. If it's your first time testing it, make sure it's not a plant you care the most about. (Kind of like trying a new recipe right before a dinner party.)
4. Top with moss or mulch to help lock moisture in and extend its availability.

WATCH: The Hidden Health Benefits of Indoor Plants

For the very invested:

I hate to say it, but if it breaks your heart to think of just the possibility of wilted, curled leaves when you return, just get the house sitter. Or maybe that sweet neighbor getting your mail can pop inside to add one ice cube to your orchid as well? Isn't that what neighbors are for after all?