URBAN JUNGLE BLOGGERS | Watering your plants

We are at the end of July and this means one thing for most of us in Southern Europe: August is almost there and summer holidays will start eventually! I really cannot wait for this year as we have arranged a pretty busy schedule of travelling to see families, dispersed in three different nations.

Though we have arranged a stop in Barcelona on the way down South, this is quite a lot of time away from home and a great challenge for any plant lover, surely for my fellow Urban Jungle Bloggers. In these years, I have tried several tricks to manage to keep my plants alive in the hot Barcelona summers and I have to confess some of them resulted in a massive botanic hecatomb. I learned the hard way to accept I must select drought tolerant plants for the outdoor but I find difficult to compromise with my indoor plants. Moreover, unlike the crazy plant collectors of my friends who actually choose not to go on holidays to avoid any risk, I strongly believe in the "holy days" of relaxation. 

So, I want to share with you two tricks that seem to work quite well for houseplants. A good option is watering your plants by emerging them until all the air bubbles have come out, let the excess water dry out and then placed them above the bath tube filled with a bit of water to grant a consistent humid environment.  This works well in case your trip is just a few days long but, if you are planning a longer one, I strongly suggest you to rely on science.

How? Have you ever heard the word terrarium? You probably have because they are a must-have green trend. The use of keeping plants under a glass dome dates back to 500 BC but it was in 1827 when the modern version we know was accidentally discovered by Sir Ward in London (check the history of terrarium here). The principle is simple: the sealed environment recreates the rain cycle through the process of evaporation and transpiration and allows plants to flourish inside for a long time (even 60 years). 
During summertime, we can take advantage of the water-recycling principle of a terrarium recreating it with a simple DIY: 

1 - get as many clear bags as you can;
2 - divide your plants into groups that can fit inside each bag;
3 - place a moist towel in each bag and then the well-watered plants on top of it;
4 - tear the bag while blowing air inside to make the bag puff out ( you are adding carbon dioxine) and sealed it quickly with a rubber band. You can place it in another clear bag sealed with a second rubber band to make sure air won't go out.

The temporary terrarium will work just fine for a few weeks, only remember you must placed it in a room outside direct sunlight (but with light). The water will be released through the leaves as a result of the natural process and its excess will drip back down onto the leaves and the soil for the roots again.

I love terraria  a lot for their perfect fusion of science and beauty and there are some very nice modern versions now available on the market, like this Small Terrarium by Danish Pop Deluxe. In case you do it, please let me know how it worked out!


  1. Oh wow, what an amazing trick with the transparent bags! It totally makes sense! Have you ever tried it yourself? I truly believe in a few "holy days" off too ;) Have a wonderful trip and lots of relaxation, family dinners, laughter with friends and sunshine. And thank you for sharing this cool tip and being part of our green family, Elena! "See" you in September!

    1. Hello Judith! I have tried the terrarium effect many times, especially during the green workshops I hold in Italy for children and it works very well! Of course, better the bag is sealed, safer it is so, maybe get some vacuum bags (the one sold at Ikea for example): the sealing system will be very efficient and they will accommodate all your plants in a sort of tall greenhouse.
      Are you coming to Barcelona as well? It sounds like we have to arrange a UJB trip to the Hivernacle then!

      PS: No vacuum part at the end, of course. : )

  2. This is fantastic Elena! I love the DIY idea for a terrarium! Seems to be pretty easy and sounds like it will work! Thanks for sharing those tips!

  3. I love the idea of temporary terrarium! I live in a rooftop apartment and it gets really hot on sunny days. I spent most of the summer in our country home and keeping my house plants alive is always a major concern for me these days. Fortunately our two homes aren't too far away, so I can go to water them every three or so days. I'll definitely try this terrarium thing when I have to be away for longer periods :) Above the bath tube is unfortunately not an option for me as our bathroom doesn't have windows...

  4. J'adore … arrivo con un treno di ritardo, ma l'idea delle "borse di plastica" è semplicemente geniale. quasi quasi ci provo tra un paio di giorni e vedremo se al rientro dalle vacanze le piante sono sopravvissute (altrimenti ti mando la fattura ;-) un abbraccio