Gardening is fun but laborious— you occasionally want to take a break and vacation. 

But of great concern, especially among plant owners, is leaving their plants unattended. Watering your plants is essential for their health and growth, and neglecting them could spell doom for them.

Luckily, you don’t have to fuss over this. There are some street-smart ways to allow your plants to remain refreshed and hydrated while you are away.

Read on to learn more.

Prerequisites

The period during which you will be away from your beloved plants is critical in making a watering plan. The second most significant factor is the watering needs of your plants.

You also want to assess whether you need a self-watering system or the bonafide services of a neighbor or friend to tend to your plant’s watering needs. If you’re going to work with a neighbor or friend, provide them with clear instructions on your plant’s watering needs. 

How To Water Your Plants While On A Vacation?

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1. Making Use Of Self-Watering Systems 

A self-watering system works best in keeping your plants hydrated while you are away on holiday. The system works to supply water to your plant constantly without your need to tend it. 

Most of these systems can be DIYed, or you could purchase them at nearby garden centers or hardware stores. 

1. Set Up A Wick

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A wick system works best with immovable plants both indoors and outdoors.

 Materials You Need: 

  • Water-holding container 
  • Natural fiber rope / A cotton shirt strip 

With these materials in place, cut a piece of rope to a length that can reach the bottom of the water container. You can place a rock over it to hold it in position. The other end should reach 3 inches deep down the plant soil. Take care not to tamper with the plant roots. 

The “wick” gradually sucks water from the container into the plant pot. You can use more than one wick for larger pots. As the water dries out, more water will flow via the wick into the soil. 

Ideally, you want to place the water container in a higher spot to allow the easy flow of water by gravity to your plant pot. 

Before you leave, test your wick system to ensure it supplies sufficient water to your plant. 

2. Use A Slow Drip System

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A slow drip system is convenient for caring for your plant’s watering needs while you’re away. It works best if you have more outdoor plants. 

This system could set you back by about $100, but the investment is worth it since it can serve you for quite a long time. The drip system has an automatic timer to help regulate the water flow.

Depending on your plant watering needs and budget, you can also lay an extensive drip irrigation system with an automatic timer to cover your indoor and outdoor plants. 

Alternatively, you can install your own DIY drip system before you leave for your holiday. 

Materials You Need

  • Clean, empty plastic bottle (or a large wine/ water globe)
  • Drill

Setting Up A DIY Drip System

  1. Puncture several small holes into the lid of the plastic/ wine bottle. 
  2. Fill the bottle with water.
  3. Turn the bottle upside down and quickly plunge it 3 to 4 inches into the soil. 
  4. The water will slowly hydrate the soil via the holes in the lid.
  5. If you aren’t sure of your drilling skills, there are screw-in drip nozzles available that you can use.

3. Set Up A Mini-Greenhouse

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If you have a manageable number of indoor or outdoor plants, you could create a mini-greenhouse effect that serves their watering needs while you are away. 

Materials You Need

  • Large clear plastic bag 
  • Moist towel
  • Rubber band/ Twist 

Setting Up The Greenhouse

  1. Identify a temperate room with a waterproof floor. 
  2. Set a large clear plastic bag on the floor.
  3. Spread the moist towel(s) on the plastic bag.
  4. Arrange as many potted plants on top of the towels.
  5. Spread the bag from the sides to cover the top of the plants.
  6. Blow in air to puff up the bag as you work on step 5. 
  7. Twist the bag at the top and seal it. 
  8. If any gap is still left on top of the twist, fold it twice and band it up. 

The resulting effect is when plants release excess water through their leaves; it drips back into the potting soil— ultimately replenishing the plant roots. 

If you are setting up your mini-greenhouse outdoors, set it up in an area with indirect sunlight to avoid heating your plants. 

An alternative to setting up a mini-greenhouse is using a DIY succulent Terrarium. However, it is most apt for arid/drought-tolerant plants.

Materials You Need

  • Selected Succulents
  • Sand Or Vermiculite 
  • Cactus Potting Soil Mix
  • Rocks/Pebbles

Setting Up A DIY Succulent Terrarium 

  1. Choose a large glass dish that you will keep your plants in. Note that a lid is not required as we would be creating an open terrarium.
  2. Set up a layer of sand or vermiculite to create a functioning drainage system. 
  3. Add a layer of cactus potting soil.
  4. Plant the succulents.
  5. Adds stones or pebbles if necessary. 
  6. Water the substrate moderately before you leave. It should hold moisture for 6-7 days.

4. Make A Drip-Watering Jug 

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Another DIY system to use is a drip watering jug. This method is useful for both in-ground plants and container-grown plants. 

Materials You Need

  • Soda bottle / Milk jug 
  • Nail or pin

Making A Drip-watering Jug 

  1. Poke holes at the bottom of the milk jug or soda bottle. 
  2. Fill the milk jug with water. 
  3. Partially bury it adjacent to the plants you need to water. 
  4. Water the garden well to keep it moist before you apply the drip watering system. 

You can be gone for a week or more, and your plants will still be fine. 

5. Invest In Water-holding Crystals

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You can easily keep your plant hydrated while away by blending your potting mix with water-holding polymer crystals for your houseplants and outdoor inground plants

The crystals slowly release water into your potting mix, helping keep your plants hydrated. The polymer crystals soak up to 200 times their weight in moisture which helps in keeping the soil moist longer. 

Once you blend the crystals with your potting mix, water the mixture gradually and deeply to ensure you fully hydrate the crystals. However, the crystals come at a cost of about $1 per ounce. 

6. Self-Watering Planter 

Another option to go for is a self-watering planter. The planter comes packed with a sub-irrigation system that supplies water to the plant from the bottom instead of the top. 

The planters are fitted with an in-built reservoir at the bottom, enabling the plant roots to be replenished when in need. The planter has a gauge fitted at the top, letting you know when the reservoir is out of the water and needs refilling. 

The system is perfect if planning to be away for long vacations. 

2. Grouping Your Plants 

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You can create a micro-climate that sustains your plant’s watering needs when you are on vacation. The technique works best when you group container plants— helping reduce water loss through evaporation.

Place the plants close together under shade. Deploy a timed sprinkler that covers the entire group.

3. Heavy Mulching With Deep Watering

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This method works best if you are on vacation for a week or less. Mulching helps plants retain moisture and remain hydrated while you’re away.

A barrier is created between the soil and air, which prevents water from evaporating too quickly. 

Additionally, mulching regulates soil temperature helping to reduce water loss. However, avoid adding too much mulch up to your plant’s crown, which could create fungal problems. 

With mulch in place, water your garden thoroughly before leaving. 

4. Use Rain Barrels With Soaker

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What better way to water your plants while vacationing than to capture free water from the heavens? You’ll need a rain barrel to harvest the water and direct it to your plants using a soaker. 

Technically, you want to ensure the rain barrel is filled with rainwater before you leave your home. Water captured by the barrel gradually flows via the soaker to saturate your garden. 

The rain barrel is also a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes; thus, you want to cover it with a mesh cloth to keep them at bay. 

5. Use A Plant Bath

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Did you know you could place your potted plants in a bathtub filled with water? The method is convenient if you have a large group of plants that must be continuously hydrated. 

However, some plants may be intolerant to sitting in water for long periods. Use unused clothes or a towel to prevent scratches on the surface of your bathtub. 

6. Work With A Professional Plant Sitter 

You could work with a professional plant sitter for a fee if you will be away for a month and do not want to burden friends or family. 

Most urban centers have professional plant sitters; you could leverage their services to ensure your plants stay refreshed. Research your locality to identify one with good reviews.

Alternatively, you can hire someone you trust for a fee and with clear instructions on watering your plants. 

7. Ask A Friend Or Neighbour 

If you are a die-hard party animal, a generous neighbor, or a regular Church visitor, you must have friends or neighbors willing to water your plants while you’re away. This also serves best while going on an extended holiday (a month or more).

Make sure to give them clear instructions and take them through a tour of your house to make them understand how you operate. 

You could throw them dinner or babysit their kids for free in exchange when you return.

Conclusion 

Watering your plants while being away for holidays can be a daunting task. There is a significant risk of your plants drying out and dying.

We have a list of effective watering methods to keep your plants hydrated and tended to. 

This way, you can have a worry-free vacation knowing your plants are cared for.

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