You’ve taken great care of your houseplants, making sure they get the water and light they need to thrive. The last thing you want is to go on holiday and come back to droopy, sad plants.
Depending on how long you will be gone, some of your plants will be fine without needing a watering system while you’re away. For instance, succulents can go a month without any water, so simply giving it water before you leave can be sufficient. But most other houseplant varieties, especially tropical ones, need water 1-3 times a week and will suffer if they aren’t watered while you’re out of town.
It can be a hassle to get a trusted neighbor or friend to take care of your plants while you’re away. Luckily, there are some DIY and commercial ways to make sure your plants get enough water while you’re out of town. These easy watering solutions also work for any forgetful or busy plant parent.
DIY Water Wicking
The water wicking method works for when you need to water multiple plants while you’re away, and is a good method if you’ll be gone for 1-3 weeks. To set it up you’ll need a container to fill with water and a cotton rope for each plant and . A cotton wick works best because it’s absorbent, but any other permeable material like a piece of cloth will work as long as it’s long enough.
Cut the rope so that it’s long enough to reach the bottom of your water reservoir and 2-3 inches into the plant soil. Push one end of the rope into each of the plants’ soil, covering each rope with soil to make sure it stays put. You may find it easier to create a hole with a pencil first so the rope has somewhere to go. Then, put the other end of the rope into your water reservoir.
Finally, fill up your water reservoir with filtered water and water your plant.
Don’t worry about whether your water container is above or below your plants, as capillary action will carry the water from the reservoir to your plants’ soil regardless of the direction of gravity.
Plastic Bag Greenhouse
This method works for longer vacations, even up to 6-8 months. You’ll need four wooden stakes and a clear plastic bag that’s big enough to fit over the plant.
Stick the wooden stakes into each corner of your pot, then water your plant as you normally would. Drape the plastic bag over your plant so that the ends can be tucked underneath the pot. Blow a bit of air into the bag so it expands enough to hover just about your plant’s leaves. The DIY greenhouse will keep evaporated water contained so that the water droplets get absorbed back into your plant.
Make sure to leave your plant in indirect light, as direct sunlight could overheat the plastic greenhouse and kill your plant.
DIY Drip System
This DIY drip system works best for plants that thrive with constant and gradual watering.
Get a plastic water bottle and use a nail and hammer to puncture 3-5 small holes into the cap. Fill the bottle with water and screw the cap back on. Dig a hole into the soil of the plant you’ll be watering, and put the drip water bottle in cap side down. The drip system will keep your plant watered for up to 5 days.
While all of these systems work to water your plants while you’re away, they can be a bit of an eyesore and a pain to set up. A self-watering planter is an easy and reliable way to water your plants while on vacation. They also are nicer to look at than a plastic bag draped over your plants, so you can keep them around even when you’re not out of town.
With these watering systems under your belt, you can take that trip without worrying about watering your plants.