Well, I certainly never anticipated I’d be writing a blog on how to isolate your new plants, but here we are! Gone are the days of purchasing pre-loved plants off of Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace, or ordering exotic plants from out-of-province without a second thought. Now, the health of our families and ourselves is the priority numero uno, so we have to make sure our plants are germ-free and safe to bring home.
As you’ve all probably heard, people must temporarily go into home quarantine if they’ve travelled out-of-province or potentially come into contact with COVID-19. For us, that isn’t as difficult when we’ve got Skip the Dishes and Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch to keep us afloat. But for houseplants, you can’t exactly just lock them in a closet for weeks with no sun or water. Instead, you gotta get creative with ways to keep them growing steadily without coming into contact with them.
We developed a solid plan for how to isolate new plants in Alberta, so you can buy secondhand or order online to your heart’s content. Follow these steps, and you should be able to safely place your newest addition to the plant collection right in with all your other potted pets within two weeks time.
Bringing Your Houseplants Home
If you’re purchasing a pre-loved plant from someone, request them to tie the plant up in a garbage bag and leave it on the curb so you can have contactless pickup, and pay them via e-transfer. Spray some disinfectant on the bag before picking it up and putting it in your vehicle.
If you’ve ordered your plant online, it will come packed up already, so you won’t need to worry about keeping it protected. Just sanitize the box before bringing it indoors, to be on the safe side. Once you’ve got it inside, choose a room or closet to keep it in that you can reasonably avoid entering or accessing for an extended period. I’ve heard some folks say that they’ve just left their plant in a clear plastic bag during isolation so it can still get sun, but I don’t recommend this method, as it can suffocate the plant.
When you’ve got your packed-up plant in its chosen quarantine space, put on some gloves, wear a mask, and tie your hair back before removing the bag or box it’s in. Once the bag is off, dispose of it safely in the trash, and then take the trash out. Grab some disinfectant wipes and wipe down the container that the plant is in. Next, grab a natural soap spray solution and spray your plant thoroughly. While the soap spray won’t kill any viruses, it will help to kill any insects that might be lurking under the leaves and ready to fly off and spread to your other plants.
How Long Should I Isolate My Plant?
The recommended time for a person to self-isolate after exposure to COVID-19 is two weeks. By that logic, a two-week isolation for your houseplants should suffice! However, if you ordered your plants online and they took a few days for delivery, you might be able to shave off a day or two from its quarantine time. Now, you’re probably wondering, how on earth does someone keep a plant alive for two weeks if it’s quarantined in a closet? Well, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that you may find useful.
How Do I Keep My Plants Alive While They Isolate?
Houseplants usually need to be watered about once a week, though in the late fall and winter you can often get away with less frequent watering. To be on the safe side and prevent your plant from getting dehydrated, I recommend using a little irrigation system to slowly deposit water directly into the soil over time. Glass watering globes work really well, and are actually quite pretty, so you might wanna keep using it even after the isolation period. You can also search online for easy DIY irrigation systems that you can make with everyday household objects like pop bottles.
As for sunlight, if you’ve got a sunny spare room you can put your plant in, that’s awesome, but if you’re putting it in a windowless storage space, you’ll need to bring in some supplementary light. Small, battery-powered grow lights are great if you’re using a small space with no outlets, but electric grow lights with self-timers are great for delivering just the right amount of light, so your plant’s natural growth cycle isn’t affected. We have plenty of options for grow lights available at Salisbury, so feel free to visit the greenhouse or check out our online GrowStore.
Winter is just around the corner, and now is the time to fill your home with some fresh greenery to help beat that winter blues! If you’re in the mood to get some new houseplants but don’t want to go through the hassle of isolating them, you can always just stick to shopping local. Visit us as Salisbury to see our incredible selection of houseplants, many of which we grow right here in our own greenhouse! We have curbside pickup and home delivery options available as well, for contactless purchases.