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The First Thing To Do To Your Plants When You Get Back From Vacation

Image by Aliyev Alexei Sergeevich / Getty
August 5, 2022
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We all have our post-travel nonnegotiables. Maybe you're someone who needs to unpack the minute you walk in the door, or you might be more of a shower-right-away type. Whatever your routine looks like, you'll want to make sure it includes your houseplants, too.

According to Sonam Aditya, the founder of Plant Shoppe in San Antonio, you should always greet your greenery with a good spray after returning home, for a few reasons. Here's how to show them some love after all that time away.

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Why you should spray your plants after spending time away from home.

It might seem intuitive to give your plants a drink after a vacation, but we're not talking about a typical watering. Instead of just watering your plants at soil level as usual, Aditya suggests actually spraying down their leaves too. The best way to do this is to take your plants to the sink or shower/bath and use a spray nozzle to give them a good shower, making sure to get both their leaves and their soil wet.

"This is a good way to keep your plants clean so there's no dust on their leaves and they're able to perform photosynthesis," Aditya tells mbg.

Beyond clearing off the dust that settled while you were away, this will give dry soil a much-needed soak. "If you forget to water for a while and your soil is really hard and cakey, putting it in the shower is a great way to rehydrate it," Rebecca Bullene, the founder of biophilic design shop Greenery NYC, previously told mbg.

Bullene likens dry soil to a dehydrated dry sponge: It needs to soak up some serious moisture before it can even think about doing its job again.

As always, you'll want to hose your plants down with room temperature water, as anything too hot or cold will shock them.

The one caveat is that not every plant will appreciate getting its leaves wet. If you have any drought-resistant succulents or finicky calathea, you'll want to just water them at root level as usual.

Otherwise, spray away. And while you're up close and personal with your greenery, look over its foliage for signs of pests like leaf holes and webbing. Then, let your plants dry off, and place them back in a sunny spot.

The takeaway.

After a long trip, watering plants in the sink or shower will provide moisture for their soil and clear dust and debris off their leaves. Even if you took all the precautions to prep your plants for your trip, this is a soak they're bound to appreciate. Reunited and it feels so good.

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Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.