The question of vacation watering is bound to raise its head sooner or later. You’ve just planned a wonderful, three week trip to Europe and the question strikes you — What’s going to happen to my plants!?
The good news is that there are many different things you can do. Obviously, it will depend on how long your holiday is.
A Few Days
If you’re only away for a few days, your plants shouldn’t have much trouble. Cacti and succulents won’t need any attention. For the other plants, give them a good watering and just before you leave, empty the saucer below the pot.
If you’re away for around a week, give your plants a really good watering, but also move them out of direct sunlight to slow the drying out of the soil.
Most obvious and the simplest thing to do is to ask a friend to visit your house and give the plants some water, although this is only likely to be an option if you have a friend who lives just around the corner.
If you don’t have a suitably located friend, you will have to use some of these tricks to ensure your plants get what they need while you’re away.
The Bath Method
Place a layer of towels in the bath tub to provide a more stable, level surface that can hold moisture. Fill up to the height of the top towel. Then place your pots, excluding their saucers, into the bath tub on top of the towels. This will allow them to drink the bath water while you’re away.
Before you leave, make sure you give them a good watering. The bath method can last up to a month.
The Panty Hose Method
The panty hose could be replaced with another type of wick, but panty hose are cheap and readily available.
- Cut a piece of panty hose 30-45cm (12 to 18 inches) in length
- Put one end in the soil amongst the roots of your plant
- Submerge the other end in a bottle of water which must be higher than the plant
The Plastic Bag Method
To keep the humidity high on a watered plant, you can cover it with a clear plastic bag. This prevents the plant from drying out. This is suitable for shorter periods.
The Fancy Watering System Method
If you want something more specialised, there are products designed specifically to deal with vacation watering, such as a self-watering probe.