How to keep your plants watered while you're on holiday

Nick Moyle and Rich Hood

While you're soaking up the sun away from home, don't let your little green friends go without their much needed H2O

Peak plant watering season tends to coincide with summer vacations, and your plants will struggle to survive without regular liquid refreshment. Here are a few ideas on how to manage their watering during an extended spell away from home.

 

Watering Indoor Plants 

Indoor plants are understandably the most problematic to keep hydrated and are most likely to suffer due to sudden changes in their watering routine. Try the following to keep things moist...  

 

Bath time 
Round up your pot plants and head for the bathroom. Line the floor of your bath with a towel (make it a beach towel to pass on positive holiday vibes) and soak the towel thoroughly with water. Plug the bath and position your plants on top of the soggy towel, first ensuring that the pots they sit in have adequate drainage holes. Your plants will now begin to gradually draw the moisture they need. Plants housed within the porcelain walls of a gleaming white bathtub will also reap the benefit from any sunlight that happens to shimmer into your bathroom. 

 

Let it sink in 
Utilise your kitchen sink by filling it with water and draping a towel into the basin and up over the draining board. Place in the plug and plonk your plants on top of the towel section that covers the draining board. By the magic of capillary action, your plants will draw up valuable moisture to help them survive. 

 

Wine bottle waterer 
It’s also possible to drip feed your plants with an empty wine bottle (something we happen to have in abundance). Wash out your chosen bottle, fill it with water and plunge the neck into the soil next to your plant, holding a finger over the opening to stop the water flooding out. Burying the bottle up to its shoulders and your improvised watering system will slowly irrigate your plant over the course of a few days. Just make sure that the bottle is stable and not likely to topple over and flatten its beneficiary. 

 

Outdoor plants 

Whilst generally more hardy than their indoor dwelling siblings, outdoor plants will still need regular watering to keep them in peak condition. 

 

Soak before leaving 
Before stumbling down the garden path with overstuffed suitcases, give your plants one last soaking before heading off. Water each plant thoroughly, then water them again for good measure. 

 

Shady business 
If possible, move any precious potted plants into places of shade. Ensure your plants can still catch rainfall should the heavens open, so don’t place the pots under shed awnings or the eaves of your house.  

 

Bury a bottle  
Utilizing a similar method as the wine bottle trick (see above), this irrigation method can be a useful way of watering your most prized garden-dwelling plants. Grab a two litre plastic drinks bottle (the tougher the better) and pierce it with holes using a bradawl or similar sharp tool. Dig a hole next to your plant – as close as you dare – then bury the bottle in the soil, leaving the neck poking out. Fill the bottle with water, replace the lid and leave it to do it’s watery work. 

 

Ask the neighbours 
It might be your first port of call (or your very last resort), but tossing your neighbours a spare set of keys and asking them to pop round with a watering can is probably the best solution for both indoor and outdoor plants. Make sure your neighbours know what they need to do – plant care is not always obvious, especially to a non-gardener – so either leave detailed instructions or take them on a tour of duty before you depart for sunny climes.  

 

A tip before you leave 

An uninhabited house will soon start to smell stale, so for a sweeter greeting for your nostrils on your return, take a fistful of freshly picked mint leaves, submerge them in a bowl full of water and place on a kitchen surface or table. The mint leaves will marinate in your absence, keeping your house smelling fresh and clean.  

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