Whether you are enjoying tropical weather or the fresh powder on a mountain, there are plenty of ways for you to keep your plants hydrated while you’re away. Like a pet, it’s important to have a plan for watering plants on vacation, and doing so will help keep them healthy when you return.
The first thing to do is decide how long you will be away. If you don’t have any neighbors or friends who will look after your plants while you’re away don’t panic. There are a number of easy things you can do to water your plants while you’re gone.
If you will only be out for just a few days then it is usually okay to just give your plants a watering before leaving. This will generally be perfectly fine for most plants. For especially thirsty plants you can add a bit of mulch on top of the soil to help lock in moisture. You can also move plants in very bright light back a few inches from their light source to further help reduce water loss.
If you’re going away for longer then you’ll need to come up with a plan to keep your plants hydrated. Luckily, there are a number of self-watering techniques you can use to supply your plants with water without needing to be there. Even better, you can actually utilize these techniques anytime to help reduce the amount of time you’ll need to invest in your plants.
First, identify how much water is needed by each plant. Remember that your plants may have different requirements when it comes to water so make sure individual requirements are properly noted. Here are some of the self-watering techniques you can try for your plants.
1. Glass Bottle Solution
First off, we have a very easy solution that can be built with items you probably have laying around the house. The setup is easy, and depending on the size of the bottle can provide water for up to a week.
You will need an empty bottle with a cap, some nails, and a hammer. First, if the cap doesn’t have any holes in them, make 2-3 by hammering a small nail through it. Then, fill the bottle up with water and put the cap back on.
Next, thoroughly water the soil then dig a small hole and put the bottle in upside down. As the soil dries water will begin to leak out of the bottle and keep your soil moist. A standard water bottle will last 3-5 days or so, with larger ones providing more water.
2. Simple Water Wick System
This technique is straightforward and does not need a lot of materials to construct. Grab a small pot or an empty bucket, preferably the same size as the potted plant. The important thing to consider is making sure the container when filled has enough water to keep your plant hydrated while you’re away. Go ahead and fill this container up with water.
Next, find any material which has a good absorption rate, this will act as a wick. There are several materials which you can use as a wick such as a piece of cotton-based shirt, a thread, a cord, and other materials which absorb well.
This simple wick system works by dipping one end of the wick on your pot/container filled with water and the other end on the soil of your potted plant. Make sure that it’s a few inches deep to keep the soil moisturized. The wick will absorb water, and slowly transfer it from the water container to your soil. This method could last your plant for one to three weeks depending on the size of the container.
3. Plant Saucer Set Up
This method is hassle-free, and easy to set up, but is limited in how much water it can provide. This kind of watering system is ideal for succulents that only need a few drops of water or other low maintenance plants.
Start by simply buying a plant saucer. The size of the saucer is preferably a few inches bigger than your pot. Fill the saucer with water and let it sit. The soil should naturally absorb the water. This is actually a technique often referred to as bottom watering, and is something many gardeners do even for routine watering. The amount of water will vary depending on saucer size, but expect it to last for an extra 2-3 days after a normal watering.
4. House Plant Bath
A variation on the above, this method is great for plants that don’t need a ton of sunlight but more water than a small saucer can offer. We’re basically doing the same thing, just with a larger container that can hold more water.
Start with either a sink, bathtub, or deep container. Fill your chosen container with a few inches of water and then place your plant into the water. Like above, this bottom watering technique will allow your plant to absorb water from the container. This can last much longer with the downside that many times the location will limit your plant’s sun exposure.
5. Greenhouse in a Plastic Bag
Lastly, we have an option that can sustain plants for much longer time periods. This technique could last up to six months if done properly, and is fairly easy to put together.
Grab a clean, clear plastic bag that can be used to cover the entire potted plant. You want to make sure that there are no large rips or tears in your plastic as this will ruin the process. A few small holes in the plastic is okay, and can actually be beneficial by encouraging proper air flow.
Water your plant, then give it a day or two to dry out a little. This makes sure that there is some water in the soil, but not too much.
Then, take the sheet and place it completely over the plant. This plastic sheet catches the water while it evaporates making sure your plant does not dry out while you are away. This can keep the water in your tiny ecosystem for months at a time when done properly. Take care though, dry loving plants like succulents or cacti will receive too much moisture from this method.
Watering Plants On Vacation
Remember that several factors could influence your plant’s water requirement. Some of these include your plant variety, the pot you’re using, the growing conditions, and several other variables. A self-watering system is not also applicable to all plant types, peace lilies, money trees, orchids, and succulents are just a few of them. Also, there is no harm in testing your self-watering technique first before locking the door and leaving your plant babies behind for a couple of days.
Hopefully the tips above will come in handy the next time you need to leave your garden for an extended period of time. Have another tip you use? Let us know and we’ll update the article!