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Dubai: Come summer and one of the biggest fears of vacationing residents concerns the plight of their gardens. Not all families have support systems to fall back upon, as a result of which they are forced to lock up their apartments and villas and leave their plants to fend for themselves. Needless to say, the plants, often bought at high prices, wilt within days and die.

But this need not be the case. XPRESS spoke to experts at the Dubai Garden Centre to find out whether there are any plants that can survive the UAE heat, without being tended to, for say two-three weeks. The good news is that the list of such indoor plants is long. And although some indoor varieties and all outdoor plants need water every day or every other day to survive, there are mechanisms that you can put in place to ensure the task gets done while you are away.

And no, we’re not talking of hiring help or leaving your plants with someone elsewhere – which may not be practical. As Dubai Garden Centre staff pointed out, a number of self-watering systems help do the needful.

Watering globes

The most commonly used watering system for indoor plants is the plant watering globe. The aid comprises a transparent and hollow stick with a ball on top. All you need to do is fill up the globe with water and put the stick at a slight angle into the soil. The globe then releases water into the pot on its own and keeps the soil moist. Bigger pots would require more than one globe.

 Succulent plants top the list of plants that can survive without water for two-three weeks.”

 - Sheela joseph, supervisor, indoor section, dubai garden centre 

You can also use self-watering pots and containers to grow your plants. Filled with water in a deep reservoir and equipped with a water gauge, these pots release water in small portions, enough to keep the plant healthy. The pots come in different colours and shapes. “However, these watering systems work well for short periods of absence, when you are away for the weekend or for a couple of days,” said Sheela Joseph, supervisor of the indoor section at the Dubai Garden Centre. “If you want your indoor plants to survive longer without water, then you have to choose the right plants.”

Making a point. Sheela Joseph, supervisor, indoor plant section, at the Dubai Garden Centre sharing tips on how plants can survive summer.

She said there’s a wide variety of indoor plants that do well in indirect bright sunlight and without water for as long as two-three weeks. “The whole range of succulent plants tops the list as they store water. There are other varieties too, including the highly sought-after oxygen-releasing kinds (see box for details).” As for outdoor plants, she said, “The question of ‘no water’ does not arise.

But yes, you can zero in on plants that remain particularly hardy in full sunlight. Also, you can employ a good domestic irrigation system with a timer that works on its own in your absence.” At its simplest, the irrigation system works with the help of a timer, main hose connected to a reservoir or running tap and smaller pipes branching out into different plant areas or pots. “Timers are useful because they help you fix the exact frequency and quantity of watering. All you have to do is set it up before you leave.”


What do you do with your plants when you travel?

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