The road is calling. You want to get away, but what about your houseful of pampered plants? Will they be OK for the week or two you’re gone?
The answer is yes – with a little planning. Here are a few inexpensive methods to water your plants while you’re away:
1. Water Before Departing
Trim and water your plants right before you leave, and move them out of direct sunlight.
2. Try Plastic Bottles
Use plastic bottles. Drill a 1/8-inch hole in the lid. Fill the bottle with water, and screw the lid on tightly. Dig a small hole in the houseplant soil, and insert the water bottle upside-down in the hole. This can be done with outdoor plants, too, using a 2-liter bottle. This method will water plants for about three days, depending on bottle size.
3. Reuse Glass Bottles
Use glass bottles. Fill a wine bottle, for example, up to the neck. Cover the hole with your thumb, flip the bottle and push the neck several inches into the soil. Lean the bottle against the edge of the pot, if needed, so it stays upright.
4. Make a String Drip or “Wick” System
Put a vase or jug next to your plant. Cut a long piece of cotton or nylon twine (can be braided) or even a strip from an old cotton T-shirt. Place one end in the jug, and poke the other end in the plant’s soil. Fill the jar with water. Make sure the mouth of the jug is above the base of the plant so the water can drip down the string. This system can keep most plants happy for two weeks or more.
5. Make a Mini Greenhouse
Good Housekeeping recommends placing a damp towel in a clear plastic bag that’s big enough to envelope your plant. Put the plant on top, and tie the bag shut, trapping as much air as possible inside. Once sealed, it should trap moisture released by the plant that will drip back down onto the plant. But move the plant away from direct sunlight so it doesn’t cook. Works for indoor and outdoor plants.
6. Give Plants a Bath
Place big plants in a bathtub lined with newspapers (great way to recycle). Add enough water to soak the papers. Close the shower curtain to retain moisture, and leave the bathroom light on, if possible. Small plants can be placed on a shallow tray lined with pebbles and filled with water for the same effect.
7. Give ’em The Gazette
For large plants, place layers of damp newspaper over the top of the soil to keep it moist.
8. Baby Them
Just before you leave, repot your plant, placing diapers on the sidewall and/or bottom to retain moisture.
9. Ask a Friend
Beg a favor. A tried and true method. Ask a friend to stop by to water your plants.
Because no one wants to kill that vacation buzz by coming home to dead plants. It’s wise to buy low-maintenance houseplants that can go longer without water.