Don't Let Your Plants Dry Out: Tips for Watering Indoor Plants While Away

Don't Let Your Plants Dry Out: Tips for Watering Indoor Plants While Away

As plant parents, we all know the struggle of keeping our houseplants alive and healthy. But what happens when you have to go away for a few days or even weeks? Your indoor plants still need regular watering and care, and leaving them unattended can result in them drying out and eventually dying. However, with a little bit of preparation and some simple tips, you can ensure your plants stay hydrated and healthy while you're away. In this article, we'll share with you some practical and effective ways to water your indoor plants while you're on vacation or away on a business trip.

Factors That Affect Indoor Plant Watering While Away

Regardless of the watering method you opt for while you're away, it's crucial to acknowledge that each plant is unique and has specific watering needs. Furthermore, several other factors should be taken into account, such as the season in which you're traveling. For instance, during the summer months, plants typically require more frequent watering, whereas, in winter, their watering needs are reduced.

In addition to seasonal considerations, the amount of light exposure and the humidity level within your house are vital aspects to consider when determining the appropriate watering approach for each plant while you're absent.

Preparing Your Plants for Your Absence

Now that you're aware of the key factors to consider when planning the care method for each individual houseplant while you're away, let's explore the practical steps you can take to ensure that your plants receive optimal care during your time away.

Give Your Plants Some Extra TLC

Pothos plant being inspected by a magnifying glass

Prior to your departure, thoroughly inspect each plant and remove any dead leaves or foreign matter that may be present in the soil. Additionally, taking the time to gently wipe down their leaves with a damp cloth before your departure can be beneficial.

Water Your Plants Thoroughly

ZZ Plant being bottom watered  in a bowl


While it may seem obvious, it's crucial to prioritize watering your plants before embarking on a holiday. Often, this task gets overlooked amidst a flurry of pre-departure preparations and an extensive to-do list. Be sure to consciously include watering your plants in your checklist!

In my opinion, the most effective watering method just before you leave for your holiday is the bottom watering technique. This involves placing the plant in a saucer filled with water (assuming the planter has proper drainage holes, as it should!). By watering your plants in this manner, you can ensure even moisture distribution throughout the soil, and it should slow down the evaporation process, keeping the plants hydrated for a longer duration.

Group Your Plants Together

Plants grouped together on one side of a room


Plants release moisture into the air through a process called transpiration. Grouping your plants together can create a microclimate that is more humid than the rest of your home, which can help to keep your plants hydrated.

Move Your Plants to a Cooler Spot


 Plants grouped together out of the direct sun

This step holds immense significance as it serves two crucial purposes during your absence: preventing leaf scorching caused by direct sunlight and reducing the water evaporation rate. It becomes particularly critical when you plan a trip away from your plants, especially during the summer season.

Prune Your Plants

Pothos plant that has been recently pruned


Check which of your plants require pruning before you leave for your vacation. Pruning encourages growth while minimizing the chance of pest infestation. You might just come back home to a few new leaves!

Cover Your Plants with a Plastic Bag


 Begonia Maculata plant covered with a plastic bag

If you want to give your plants a little extra love, try covering them up with a trusty plastic bag. It's like creating a mini greenhouse right in your own home! This trick works wonders for plants that crave some humidity. Just remember to poke a few holes in the bag for good air circulation. We don't want your plants or the soil getting all moldy on us, right?

Watering Techniques for Indoor Plants

Now that your holiday is perfectly planned, your bags are neatly packed, and your plants are all set, it's time to tackle the crucial task of ensuring their well-being while you're away. Choosing the right watering technique is key to keeping your beloved plants happy and thriving. Luckily, you have a range of options to consider. The ideal method may depend on factors like the quantity and variety of your plants, the time of the year, and the duration of your absence. So let's explore the various techniques and find the perfect watering solution for your specific plant needs.

Use a Watering Globe or Bulb

Monstera deliciosa plant with a watering bulb


Watering bulbs effortlessly marry practicality with aesthetic appeal, making them delightful accessories for your plants. With a plethora of shapes, sizes, and captivating colors to choose from, they add a touch of elegance to any plant display. The concept is simple yet ingenious—fill these bulbs with water, and they will dutifully dispense it into the soil gradually, ensuring sustained hydration over an extended period.

For a clever and budget-friendly DIY approach to watering bulbs, look no further than the humble wine bottle. Yes, this is the perfect DIY for the wine bottle hoarder. It's a simple yet effective solution that can work wonders for your plant's hydration needs. Just fill a wine bottle with water, invert it, and gently insert it into the soil of your plant. Mirroring the mechanism of a watering bulb, the water will gradually trickle out, keeping the soil consistently moist without crossing the line into soggy territory.



 Fiddle leaf fig tree that is being watered through a wick in a bowl of water

Wicking offers a wonderfully straightforward and effective approach to watering your plants while you're away. No need for complicated setups here. All you need is a simple strip of cotton or nylon fabric and a container of water. Just place one end of the fabric in the water container and the other end in the soil of your plant. The fabric will work as a reliable wick, drawing water from the container and delivering it steadily to the soil. It's a practical and reliable solution to keep your plants adequately hydrated during your absence.

For those seeking a practical and enduring solution to water wicking, automatic plant waterers are now readily available. These convenient devices operate through a thin tube that draws water from a container. The water travels along the tube and is gently released into the soil of your plant via a clay cone. It's a reliable and hassle-free method to ensure your plant receives consistent moisture over an extended period. Consider incorporating these automatic plant waterers into your plant care routine for a convenient watering solution that requires minimal effort.

Self-Watering Pots


 Peace lily plant in a self watering pot

Self-watering pots are another excellent solution to keep your plants perfectly hydrated, even in your absence. These remarkable pots boast a clever design, featuring a reservoir nestled at their base. This reservoir becomes a spring of sustenance, gradually dispensing water into the soil precisely as your plant requires. It's a self-regulating system that ensures your plant's thirst is quenched without any guesswork or intervention on your part.

Capillary Matting


 Three plants on a wet towel

An effective method for watering your plants with convenience and grace is capillary matting. Here's how it works: a gentle and absorbent mat or towel is placed beneath your pots, patiently absorbing water and delivering it directly to the roots. This technique is particularly beneficial for smaller plants, offering a dependable solution to keep them adequately hydrated even when you're not around. With capillary matting, you can create an ideal environment where your plants receive the moisture they need without the need for constant attention or monitoring. It's a practical and fuss-free approach to plant care.

TIP: When making use of the capillary matting watering method while away, place the towel and your plants in your bathtub.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Indoor Plants While Away

In your quest for nurturing thriving indoor plants while you're away, it's essential to explore other crucial aspects that contribute to their well-being. Alongside watering, there are a few additional factors worth considering to ensure your plants flourish in your absence. Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind:

Provide Adequate Light

To guarantee that your plants receive sufficient light while you're away, it's important to take measures to ensure their lighting needs are met. If you anticipate an extended absence, consider using a timer for your grow lights. This simple solution allows you to automate the process of turning the lights on and off at specific intervals. By implementing this strategy, you can provide your plants with the necessary light they require for their growth and well-being, even in your absence.

Keep Your Home Cool

During your summer escapades, it's advisable to adjust your thermostat to a cooler temperature for the well-being of your plants. This thoughtful action helps mitigate water evaporation, leading to a slower rate of moisture loss from the soil. Consequently, your plants won't require frequent watering while you're away. By creating a comfortable and cool indoor environment, you provide a protective shield against the heat, allowing your plants to thrive without excessive maintenance. Take this simple step to support the health of your plants during the summer months and enjoy worry-free adventures.

Ask a Friend to Water Your Plants

While automated systems offer convenience, they can never replicate the genuine care, affection, and personal touch that humans bring to tending to living things. In situations where you're away from home, consider reaching out to a trusted friend or neighbor to provide plant care. Entrusting them with this responsibility allows for the continued nurturing and presence your plants crave. To ensure a seamless transition, provide your plant caretaker with a detailed watering schedule, outlining their responsibilities with precision. By sharing your knowledge and expectations, you empower them to step into your shoes and tend to your leafy companions with the same level of dedication.

In conclusion, watering your indoor plants while you're away doesn't have to be a daunting task. By understanding your plants' watering needs, preparing them for your absence, and using the right watering techniques and products, you can ensure your plants stay hydrated and healthy. Remember to provide adequate light, keep your home cool, and prune your plants before you leave. Avoid common mistakes like overwatering or underwatering, and ask a friend or neighbor for help if needed. By following these tips, you can enjoy your time away while knowing that your plants are in good hands.


Happy watering!

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