How to water plants while away

How to water plants while away

Table of Contents

The very last thing you want when coming home from a vacation is to find your plants withering and yellowed. We go on vacation to feel refreshed, rejuvenated and energized and, returning home, we want our lovely greenery to be the same!

To help you achieve this, we’ve put together this easy guide that will tell you how to water plants while away so that you return home to a verdant oasis, no matter how long your holiday.

Though watering plants while on vacation can seem near impossible, these simple, DIY solutions prove that with just a little bit of planning, you can keep your plants thriving and thirstless while you soak up some deserved R&R! So, if you’ve ever wondered if there is an easy way to water plants when you’re away, this is the article for you!

How to take care of plants while on vacation

There’s nothing a good shower can’t fix and this is particularly true when creating self-watering plant systems. Before going on vacation, giving your greenery a deep watering in your bath or shower can sometimes be enough to see them through until your return.

For outdoor plants

For outdoor gardens, use soaker hoses or drip irrigation to give your plants a really deep soaking just before you leave (the closer to departure the better). Then, to lock in this moisture, add some mulch to the top of the soil.

soaker hoses

For indoor plants

Bring all of your plants to your bath or kitchen sink and soak them until the water is running out of the drainage holes. Once the soil is thoroughly saturated, wipe down the leaves and allow the pots to drain before placing the plants on a humidity tray.

Humidity trays are easily crafted lifesavers. Fill a shallow tray with pebbles and cover with water that doesn’t quite reach the surface of the pebbles. Then put your pot on top to keep them hydrated for at least a week or two.

DIY self-watering system

Now that you’ve done your preparatory watering work, it’s time for some self-watering solutions to keep your plants going while you’re away. While this might sound complicated, it doesn’t need to be! There are lots of easy, homemade plant waterers you can craft out of materials you are guaranteed to have lying around the house.

Wick watering

For example, try using a wick. This is easily made with a bucket of water and a length of natural fibre or cotton rope. Bury one end of the rope two to three inches deep in your plant’s soil (which is well-watered) and the other end inside the container of water.

The rope works as a wick that continually absorbs and then transfers the water from the container into your plant soil. This simple DIY self-watering method will keep your plants hydrated for a period of one to three weeks.

Drip-watering system

Alternatively, a drip watering system can be crafted out of a single plastic bottle. 

Simply take a water bottle and pierce several holes near its top. Then fill the container with water, turning it upside down and dunking it into the soil of your plant so that the holes are buried. This drip system will water your plant as the soil dries out. 

It should last for a week or so and can also be done with a wine bottle for larger plants and trees.

Running a houseplant bath

While the above methods are suitable for both indoor and outdoor plants, you can also use a houseplant bath to keep your plants fresh.

Fill your bathtub with a few inches of water and cover with a towel. Allow the towel to soak up all of the bathwater before bringing your well-watered houseplants into the bath, resting them on the wet towels. Similar to a humidity tray, this method will enable plants to stay hydrated for longer by absorbing the moisture that slowly evaporates from the towel. Easy!

Long-term plant watering 

DIY a mini greenhouse

If you are treating yourself to a longer vacation and worried a week’s watering systems won’t cut it, there are some long-term options that have been proven to work. One is the greenhouse method, which involves using a plastic bag to recreate the effects of a greenhouse.

Take a large plastic bag that will adequately cover your pot and foliage. It is usually advisable to construct some stakes around the pot which will help prevent the bag from clinging to leaves.

Water your plant as normal before pulling the bag up and around the plant, blowing some extra air into the bag to ensure it won’t touch the leaves and damage your plant. Seal the bag and then leave in an area that gets indirect sunlight.

This will create a greenhouse effect whereby the bag will catch water as it evaporates and drip it back into the soil, keeping the shrub hydrated for much longer.

green house

Get a garden sitter!

Finally, for the long vacationer, find a reliable neighbor, friend, or family member to act as a garden sitter who will keep your plants loved, watered, and growing in your absence. Be sure to walk them through a watering plan ahead of time and ensure they know how frequently and deeply each species needs to be watered.

Don’t forget to thank them with your best flowers, fruit or vegetables on your return!

Now that you know how to look after them when you’re away, all that’s left to do is get yourself some plants! Head for the most sumptuous collection of houseplants and succulents you will do just about anything to keep alive!

Can plants survive 2 weeks without water?

Cactus and succulents can last several months without water while fully-grown houseplants can last 2-3 weeks. However, most outdoor varieties can survive a maximum of seven days without water.

Is it bad to water plants in the sun?

The idea that water droplets cause foliage to be scorched and burned when in full sunlight has long been disproven. However, gardeners still recommend avoiding watering in the sun as heat causes moisture to evaporate faster and prevents absorption.

What time of day should you water plants?

Early morning or evening are the two best times to water your garden. However, morning watering is generally considered to be the most preferable time as your shrubs will have time to dry before the sun goes down. 

Is it OK to water plants at night?

It is generally considered a bad idea to water at nighttime. This is because the moisture doesn’t have enough time to evaporate and so rests in the soil and on the foliage, making your leaves and shrubs highly vulnerable to rot, fungal development and insects.

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