Finally, going for that long-awaited vacation you have been saving for the past few months? Bon Voyage! But, wait! What about the plants? Who will water them?
Every plant parent suffers from the same perilous thoughts of their plants dying on them at the thought of staying out of home for more than a couple of weeks. Whether it is an office trip or a Work-From-Hills kind of trip, there are many quick and frugal solutions to keep your plants alive and happy, even when you are gone for weeks at a stretch. So whether you have an indoor plant, a herb garden or a pretty patio full of flowers, make sure you make arrangements weeks in advance for your plants to be self-watered.
Indoor Plants vs Outdoor Plants
Indoor and outdoor plants have different watering requirements, due to the environment they stay in. Though indoor plants can go for almost a week without water, the continuous exposure to the sun for outdoor plants requires almost a daily shower. Plants like Succulents and Cactuses can be left alone for weeks at end, due to their ability to utilize the stored water.
For both the foliage and flowering plants, make sure you give them a proper soaking 2 weeks prior to traveling and cut off the dead and damaged plant parts. If the leaves have turned brown, make sure to trim those ends as well. This establishes the plant better, making it easier to survive the oncoming period of stress.
Methods for Self-Watering
Make sure to test your methods a week prior to traveling. Often methods such as the Wick method required a certain material for the wick to actually use that water and provide to the soil.
Water Wick Drip System
This method is ideal for those who have long trip planning, almost for over a month, and works best for plants who enjoy a thrice-a-week showering.
- Put Jugs of water around your plant and cut off a decent size of twine or cotton yarn.
- Make sure the elevation of the jug is higher than the elevation of your plant.
- Dip one end of the string in the water and put the other end about 3 inches into the soil, right where the root zone is.
- Due to capillary action the water will travel from the jug to the plant roots, keeping the roots hydrated.
This method works best for plants with good foliage and also if one wishes to have one single set-up for a lot of plants at once.
Glass Bottle Solution
This method is ideal for those who are on a weekend getaway and are perfect for plants that require a daily dose of moisture.
- Take a glass or a plastic bottle with a tapering end and with a plier, remove the plastic cover from the inside of the cap.
- With the help of either nail and a hammer or hot metal, make 5 tiny holes on the cap and re-cap the bottle.
- Take the cap end of the bottle and push it deep down into the soil, right near the root area for a continuous and steady water source for almost 5 days.
Houseplant Basin Bath
One of the oldest tricks in the books and an absolute genius solution for the regular watering outdoor varieties that thrive with long sun exposures. Not to mention, this is one of the most effective and simple methods one can try out.
- Fill water up to a couple of inches in a tub, basin, or bathtub, depending on how many plants you will subject to self-watering.
- Put the plant in the tub making sure that the drainage holes are completely soaked in that water.
- The plants will stay alive for almost a month.
Note of caution: Houseplants subjected to this test should be heavy feeders. Stagnant water attracts pests, flies, and bugs. Ideally, no plant should be kept in this arrangement if the plant is prone to root rot, otherwise, it is an excellent method to ensure roots are healthy.
Your tropical plants are sure to love this terrarium-inspired DIY for those days when you won’t be there to attend them. This is one of the easiest solutions if you want your plant to survive on its own for long periods of time.
- Take 4 wooden sticks and plant on 4 sides of the pot. This ensures that your plastic cover does not wrap itself around the leaves
- Take a large and transparent plastic garbage bag and cover the entire plant with it and tie it to the stem. Make sure the cover is around the sticks, for proper support.
- Poke a few holes in the plastic wrapper for ventilation and transpiration and do not keep it under direct sunlight.
- Viola! Your mini-makeshift terrarium is ready!
Note of caution: Use this method for humidity-loving plants, air-purifying varieties, and non-succulents.
Plastic-Bottle Planter Method
This might possibly be the easiest and most frugal option if you are just out for the weekend, but have a humidity-loving, unforgiving plant. This method lasts up to almost 4 days and is especially beneficial for plants that need the soil to be constantly moist.
- Take a plastic bottle and pierce about 4 holes on the side and 3 holes at the bottom.
- Insert the bottle at one side of the planter towards the pot, so that the pierced side is facing the plant roots. Keep note that about 2 inches of the bottle should be visible from the top and a layer of soil is present between the bottle and the plant root system.
- Water the plant thoroughly before inserting the bottle so that it does not use up the entire water in a couple of days.
- All you need to do now is to refill the bottle as per your travel and let the plant soak in as much water as it needs.
In case the above DIY hacks are not your cup of tea, fear not! We have a solution for that as well. There are a lot of plants that do not need regular watering and can be quite a sport even in drought conditions. If you are an experienced plant parent or a just starting out new plant mom, these plants do great with minimal watering, partial shade, and lots of negligence:
- Air Plants
Do decide a couple of weeks in advance which DIY method you want to implement and which suits your plant’s needs the best. The above methods are all trial and tested and show great results. If your plants look a bit droopy after you come back from vacation, you do not need to worry. The revival rate is very high so that you don’t lose your leafy friends for good.