Last Updated on August 18, 2021
You’ve booked yourself a much-needed vacation, organized a dog sitter for your pooch, and have your bag packed and ready to go, but what about your plants?
Your beloved green children, unfortunately, can’t be taken with you in your suitcase, so how do you keep them alive in your absence?
Indoor plants require a lot of ongoing love, and if you have a regular watering and feeding schedule in place, you might be anxious about taking a trip and leaving them to fend for themselves.
In most cases, these plants will be able to survive with you for a while but it takes some preparation and planning on your behalf.
So, how do you water indoor plants while you’re on vacation?
There are a few options for keeping your plants hydrated including a DIY drip system, self-watering pot, and plastic bag greenhouse. You should also move your plants to a shaded area and clean them up before you leave, giving them a better chance at survival.
Learning how to water indoor plants while on vacation is a skill every gardener must-have, and it means they don’t have to die just because you need a holiday.
We’ll show you the expert tips and tricks for keeping them alive and thriving while you’re away, so they can be there to greet you in good health upon your return.
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Do My Indoor Plants Need to Die?
A common misconception about indoor plants is that they can’t be left alone for too long or they’ll wilt and die, and it’s stopped many a gardening fanatic from taking a vacation because of it.
An indoor plant doesn’t need to die just because you’ll be out of the house for a week or two, though, provided you know how to prepare them for it.
All plants are different in their requirements, and some might need watering every few days whereas others can go weeks without hydration.
Before you leave, take some time to assess the plants in your home and figure out how much water they need and how often they need it, so you can come up with a watering system that works.
If you’re truly concerned about your plants or they have high demands, you might consider using a plant sitting service while you’re away.
These professionals operate like a pet sitter or dog walker and have someone can come to your home to tend to your garden when you’re on vacation.
Usually, though, the job can be done yourself with a bit of forward planning and examination of the best methods for watering plants while you’re not around.
Methods for Watering Plants While You’re Away
In the world of gardening, there’s a whole host of ways you can maintain a plant with minimal human interaction, and you can use these to your advantage if you’re planning a getaway.
These are some of the most common plant watering methods available to ensure your plant never goes thirsty.
- Plastic bag greenhouse: To benefit from what greenhouse owners already know, you can create your own miniature greenhouse over plants so they’re full of moisture. Place a plastic bag over the plant and secure it so there’s little room for air to escape. This will keep everything inside humid and create moisture which means a happy plant that doesn’t need watering.
- DIY drip system: Using an old soda bottle, puncture a few tiny holes into the lid. Fill the bottle with water, tip it upside down, and push it into the soil a couple of inches. This will slowly drip water into the soil while you’re away and keep your plants thriving.
- Bathtub: If you have just a few plants and a bathtub handy, you can place them all inside of it with half an inch of water at the bottom. The plants will be watered from the bottom up, provided they are all housed in pots with drainage holes.
- Water wicking: A simple water-wicking system can be set up for all of your indoor plants using some string and a large vessel of water. Attach one piece of string to the container of water and deliver it to the soil of the plant, and it will gradually pull water through it. This keeps plants hydrated and happy without the risk of over-watering them.
- Capillary mat: A capillary mat is like a wick system in that it wicks water from somewhere and then delivers it to the soil. This is like a mat that the plants can sit on while you’re away, getting a steady supply of water to their roots and keeping them happy.
- Self-watering pot: The self watering pot name can be misleading as it doesn’t actually water itself, but sits in a pot of water. This enables the roots to extract water and deliver them up through the plant. These are easy and affordable solutions if you have to go away for a week or two.
- Smart home systems: Homes with smart automation are perfect for indoor plants if you can afford them. Not only can these be programmed to water plants while you’re away, but they can also lift the shades and let them get some sunlight or even play them music so they don’t feel alone.
How Long Can Plants Survive on Their Own?
All plants are created differently and some are considered hardier than others. With that in mind, your favorite indoor houseplants can usually survive for longer than you realize with your help, as long as you’ve done a few things first.
The most important step is establishing the watering method, but that’s not all it takes.
Before you leave, you should gather up all of your houseplants and find a nice, shady spot in the house where they’ll all live together while you’re gone.
Even if your plant prefers a sunny location, it’s better not to overdo it if you’re not going to be there to keep an eye on them.
You’ll want to give them some basic care before you leave as well, so prune back anything that needs clipping and remove any dead leaves from the pot.
With all of these measures in place, your plant should survive for at least a month while you’re gone, and for the hardier species, even longer.
Keeping Plants Happy While You’re Away
There’s no need to feel guilty leaving your plants while you go on vacation when you’d done everything you can to keep them happy.
With the correct positioning, a quick pruning, and the right method of watering available to them, they’ll continue to thrive while you’re off enjoying a vacation and much-needed break.
Indoor plants are known for being hardy and although they have individual needs, it should be easy enough to keep them alive even if you’re not there to tend to them for a couple of weeks.
If you’re truly concerned about unhappy plants, enlisting the help of a plant care service or friend to take care of them while you’re gone is the way to go.
Most indoor plant varieties are known for being low maintenance which makes them ideal to be left alone for a few days or even a couple of weeks, but you still need to take care to do it right.
There’s a lot to learn about watering plants, indoor and out, and we’ve answered some FAQs about the process that can give you a few pointers.
Is It Bad to Water Plants at Night?
You should avoid watering plants at night if possible because they’re less likely to dry correctly without sunlight and heat which leads to damp leaves.
With damp leaves, the plant is more susceptible to developing fungus which can turn serious and cause issues like root rot and other diseases.
Should Plants Be Bottom Watered?
Watering your plants from the bottom or ‘bottom watering’ is good for root moisture but not as helpful for the rest of the plant.
At least once a month, plants need to be watered from the top of the soil so that excess minerals and salt are washed away, leaving healthy and fresh soil for them to live in.
How Often Should Plants Be Watered?
A plant watering schedule should be determined by the type of plants you have and their unique requirements.
Depending on the climate, the plant’s location in your house, and what the species needs, a plant should be watered whenever the soil is dry.
To test this, stick your finger a couple of inches down into the soil, and if it’s dry, give them a good watering.