Oct 20, 2010

Caring For Houseplants While On Vacation

When You’re Away, Houseplants Will Play!
Keep your plants healthy and happy while you are away using these helpful tips:

If you often vacation in the summertime (when temperatures are warm), put temporarily orphaned plants outside. They appreciate the warm temperature and fresh air just like we do!

Water all your plants (both indoors and out) thoroughly before you leave the house. Some plants will be fine with just the one watering. Others will need constant moisture to some degree (to provide this, use the tub method, below; or try the wicking system, also described below).

If you have potted plants outside that concern you because you aren’t able to bring them in, sink the pot and all directly into the ground (especially if the pot is clay or terracotta) – The pot will soak up the surrounding moisture in the soil and utilize it for your plants.

To do this, simply dig a hole slightly larger than the diameter of the pot, and the same depth. Sink the pot into the hole; firm soil around it. If it rains, your plant will love the drink! When you return, dig up the pot and rinse it clean.

**Warning**  Just in case you are in a wet climate or swampy type area, I recommend you do not leave cacti or succulents outdoors while away – even if they are potted. Do not use the sinking pot technique with cacti! The wet area will prove too moist for a succulent (such as Aloe Vera or Jade Plant). If you insist on putting these plant types outside, place them in a shaded area on a table or surface away from the ground; you wouldn’t want them going mushy!

Outdoor plants don’t do well in direct sun. Choose good places such as under a tree, or at the side of the house in the shade. They will use much less water than normal when shaded.

Your outdoor plants will also be watered by the sprinkler (assuming you have one!)

Also, it's a good idea to place those moisture loving plants in a kiddy pool filled with a bit of water to give them plenty to drink!

Try to be gone no longer than 2 weeks. If your trip lasts longer, have someone come to house sit.

You can place plants (that are in clay pots) in the tub to water them while absent. Use unglazed bricks to set them on in the tub with just a few inches of water. Make sure water is touching the bricks. Your plants will absorb the water through the bricks (they are porous, just like terracotta) and then on up through the pots to your plant.

If your plants are in the bathroom for the duration of your trip, be sure to leave the lights on in the room. They will benefit from the fluorescent lights (even if the bulbs are standard types, the plants will still appreciate the light) which will effectively replace natural sunlight.

Setting Up a Simple Wicking System

A. Place plants in a circle around a large container of water

B. Use cotton twine and place one end deep into the water, with the opposite end set into each pot; bury this end a little bit in the soil

C. Make sure the water container itself is higher up than the actual pot. Gravity will drag the water down to your plants via the string

D. Be sure the leaves do not touch the string! Otherwise, they will get too wet and rot! Your plants should stay nice and evenly moist for those shorter trips! Tip: For water loving plants like a Peace Lily, set 2 water containers nearby, and wick 2 strings into the pot instead of one. That should easily satisfy Peace Lily's never ending greed for more ((and still more)) water!

With these easy tips for plant vacation care, you'll never have to worry about coming home to a bunch of dead houseplants ever again! Vacation with confidence!


  1. Hey there, You've done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.

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  2. You have some very interesting tips here! The bricks in the bathtub, especially, I've not heard of before. Great idea.

  3. How to take plant care during holidays? Choose the pots; make sure there are holes in the bottom of your container to allow water to flow out freely, etc.