20151130A.jpgIf you’re often absent for several weeks at a time, remember that the easiest plants to maintain in absentia are desert cacti and succulents.

Water them well before you go and move them back from any very hot window and they will remain in perfect condition for at least 6-8 weeks. Even if you will be absent for up to six months, most of these plants, accustomed to drought in their native country, will be somewhat shrunken but still alive when you get back.

When they do appear a bit shriveled, start by watering them only very lightly at first (they will have to produce new rootlets before they can withstand moist soil), then moderately as they start to plump up, and finally normally when they regain their normal shape.

These low-maintenance plants are the perfect choices for Snowbirds!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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