It can be challenging enough to keep your house plants healthy when you’re at home. But when you’re away on vacation, it can be daunting. One solution is to get a family member, friend, or even a plant-sitter to water them for you, but that’s not the only answer.
The most common solution to keep house plants watered when you’re away is to get some human help. Automatic plant waterers are another possibility. Another relatively foolproof method is to move them into a bath or sink while you’re away. Just be aware that different methods are suitable for different timelines, so you must take this into account.
What do you do with houseplants when on vacation?
Anyone who has indoor plants in their home will know that too much and too little water can kill them. If you’re the one who usually waters your plants, you’ll have gotten used to which ones need more water than others.
So, what do you do with your indoor plants when it’s away-vacation time? If you’re at home most of the time while you’re on vacation, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Obviously, whatever you do, you’re going to want to keep your plants alive while you’re away. Your first step will be to decide how you’re going to water your plants.
Some solutions will allow you to leave them exactly where they are. Others will mean moving them.
If you’ve got a fair number of plants that need the same amount of water, you might want to move them. For example, you could put them all together on a table so your plant-sitter won’t miss any of them.
Alternatively, there’s a trick you can use to place them in a bathtub. That will also mean moving them.
Otherwise, it really does depend on how you are going to water plants while you are away.
How do you keep house plants watered while on vacation?
Here are some tips on how to keep house plants watered and healthy when you are away on vacation. All these methods are designed to keep plants alive without much effort.
Hire a Plant-Sitter or Ask a Friend
Either way, if you’re going to lean on human help to water plants while you’re on vacation, you’re going to have to give them clear instructions.
Show them – don’t just tell them – what you want them to do. This will primarily be how often and how much water you need to give your plants.
If you are going to move your indoor plants to a central spot, on a table perhaps, make sure you group them according to their watering needs. It’s also a good idea to leave notes next to the plants to remind your plant friend what their needs are.
This is particularly important if you’re not going to move them. But instead of leaving notes attached to each one, you could color code them.
For example, use yellow sticky notes for all your succulents and pink ones for house plants that need more water. Then use a whiteboard or make a master note that shows what the colors stand for.
Self-Watering Drip System Solutions
The easiest of these are the ones that you buy as a kit from garden centers or online. Designed for drip irrigation, the simplest types are usually made of plastic and come in sets with 6, 12, or more in a box.
They are stand-alone spikes that are easy to install. The best is that you can adjust each one and manage the flow rate with a control valve.
More expensive types come with a pump and timer. Some connect to WiFi and you can manage them with a remote control app – which is perfect when you’re on vacation.
While they are easy to set up and operate, they are designed to manage many plants at one time. This means you will need to set them up only with plants that have the same watering needs.
Some automatic watering systems have as much as a 60-day programmable timer. This makes them ideal for anyone who is going to be away for a relatively long period of time.
Additionally, you can buy self-watering planters that have a built-in sub-irrigation system in the form of a built-in reservoir. They water plants from the bottom up, which is what many indoor plants prefer.
If you are on a strict budget, you can also try creating a DIY drip system. All you need is a glass bottle with a metal screw cap.
Make 4-5 small holes in the cap with a nail. Fill the bottle with water and screw the cap on.
Push the bottle into the soil. The water will drip out through the cap slowly, watering your plant while you are on vacation.
Give Your Plants a Bath
You’re not going to be using your bath while you’re on vacation, so why not use it to keep your plants watered? It’s basically a big version of leaving your potted plant on a plant saucer that is filled with water.
The saucer method will usually keep your plants watered for 2-3 days. Using a bath the same way for multiple pots will keep your plants alive much longer.
The bath method works best in bright, sunny bathroom environments.
If your pots are plastic, they aren’t likely to damage your tub. But if you have terracotta or ceramic pots, they could scratch the surface of the tub.
To avoid possible damage, you can line the inside of your tub with towels. Either way, add only a few inches of water to the tub.
This is a good way to keep your house plants watered from the bottom. The soil draws water up out of the tub keeping the plants hydrated.
There is a caveat, plants that don’t want much water probably won’t survive this method.
What about a Greenhouse?
Plants will usually survive with minimal care in a greenhouse situation. The concept is that this environment creates humidity that is tantamount to misting your plants regularly.
If you don’t have a greenhouse, you can buy a mini greenhouse kit that will do the trick. Otherwise, cover each of your plants with a clear plastic bag.
Use stakes to stop the bag from touching the leaves more than minimally. Place these pots in positions where they will only get indirect sunlight.
Other plant tips while going on vacation
It’s a good idea to mist and/or water your indoor plants shortly before you go away. If some are in direct sunlight, move them to prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.
Another very simple tip is to bunch all your house plants together. This isn’t for a plant carer, but rather to enable them to create their own microclimate.
It’s all got to do with increasing humidity.
There are lots of ways you can water your house plants when you are on vacation. While there’s no guarantee that they will all survive, the methods we suggest will certainly improve their chances.