Home greenhouse helps houseplants survive your vacation

Protect your houseplants while you're away on vacation by putting them in a "home greenhouse."

"The temporary greenhouse consists of several layers of newspaper placed on a plastic drop cloth in the bottom of your bathtub," said Jan McNeilan, Oregon State University Extension Service consumer horticulture agent. "Put the plants in the tub and turn on the shower long enough to wet the leaves, soil and newspaper.

"Then pull the shower curtain and drape another plastic drop cloth over the top, attaching one edge to the back wall with tape to form a greenhouse sort of tent," she said.

"Leave the light on in the bathroom and your plants should be in top shape when you get back from vacation," said McNeilan.

"Don't try this method for African violets, cacti, or succulents with leaves that rot easily," she warned. For these plants it is better to buy a plant wick from your nearest garden store. The wick can be used to transfer water, via capillary action, to dry plant soil as needed from a nearby water jar.

"Whatever means you use to care for plants while you're away, remember that no plant storage method is perfect," McNeilan said. It helps to have someone stop by from time to time to check your more valuable plants.

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Jan McNeilan

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