Watering Houseplants While Away on Vacation: Tips and Tricks

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Leaving your home for a vacation can be stressful, especially if you have a collection of beautiful houseplants that require regular care.

While it’s not always feasible to have someone come and water your plants, there are several strategies you can employ to ensure your plants survive and thrive while you’re away.

In this article, we will explore various methods for watering houseplants while on vacation, so you can enjoy your time away without worrying about your plants.

Leave a Little Water in the Saucer

One simple technique to keep your houseplants hydrated while you’re on vacation is to leave a little water in the saucer. Before leaving, thoroughly water your plants and then add about an inch of water in the saucer.

This method works particularly well for plants in terra cotta pots that tend to dry out quickly. The water in the saucer will be slowly absorbed by the plant’s roots, keeping them hydrated.

However, it’s important not to leave water in the saucer for an extended period, as it could lead to overwatering and root rot.

Experiment with this method to find the right amount of water for your plants and the duration of your absence. Upon your return, make sure to empty any remaining water in the saucer.

Pro Tip: If you’re using terra cotta saucers, be cautious as the water can seep through and damage wooden furniture. Consider using plastic saucers or glazed terra cotta saucers to prevent water leakage.

Place Your Plant in a Shadier Location

If your houseplants are usually kept in a sunny location, moving them to a shadier spot before you leave can help reduce their water needs. Plants exposed to direct sunlight tend to transpire more, leading to faster drying of the soil.

By placing your plants in a shadier location, they will naturally use less water and dry out more slowly. This method is effective for short vacations of a week or two.

However, for longer absences, it’s best to combine this technique with other watering methods.

Make a Temporary “Greenhouse”

For smaller plants, creating a temporary “greenhouse” can help maintain humidity and prevent excessive drying. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert a few bamboo stakes into the pot.
  2. Place a clear plastic bag over the plant, ensuring it doesn’t touch the leaves.
  3. Secure the plastic bag by wrapping a rubber band or garden twine around the pot.
  4. Keep the contraption out of direct sunlight to avoid overheating the plant.

By creating a mini-greenhouse, you create a closed system where the plant retains its moisture while you’re away. This method is particularly useful for plants that require high humidity levels.

Cover the Soil Surface for Larger Plants

If you have larger plants that cannot be enclosed in a temporary greenhouse, you can try covering the soil surface to prevent excessive evaporation.

Before leaving, water your plants thoroughly and then place a few layers of moistened newspapers or paper towels on the soil.

This will help retain moisture and prevent rapid drying. However, ensure that the newspapers or paper towels don’t come into contact with the stems or trunk of your plant to avoid rot or mold growth.

Use a Water Globe

Water globes are an aesthetically pleasing solution to keep your houseplants watered while you’re away. These glass bulbs are filled with water and slowly release it into the soil of your plants.

To use a water globe, simply fill it with water and insert it into the pot. The water will gradually be released, providing a steady supply of moisture to your plant.

Water globes are especially suitable for plants that prefer consistent moisture, such as tropical plants. However, they may not be suitable for plants that require a drier environment, such as succulents and cacti.

Pro Tip: If you have succulents or cacti, they are generally more resilient and can tolerate periods without watering. Consider placing them in a shaded area while you’re away to minimize water loss.

Other Considerations

In addition to the techniques mentioned above, here are a few more tips to ensure your plants remain healthy during your vacation:

  1. Group your plants together: By grouping your plants together, they create a microclimate that promotes humidity and reduces moisture loss. The plants will also benefit from each other’s transpiration, helping to maintain a more stable environment.
  2. Mulch the soil: Adding a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or coconut coir, on top of the soil can help retain moisture and regulate temperature. Mulching also prevents weed growth and adds nutrients to the soil.
  3. Trim and prune: Before leaving, remove any dead leaves or flowers and prune your plants if necessary. This will reduce the plant’s water requirements and promote healthy growth.
  4. Use self-watering systems: Consider investing in self-watering systems, such as watering stakes or drip irrigation systems. These devices provide a regulated supply of water to your plants, ensuring they receive the right amount of moisture even when you’re not around.
  5. Ask a friend or neighbor for help: If possible, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to check on your plants and water them if needed. Provide clear instructions on how much and when to water each plant to avoid over or under-watering.


With the tips and techniques mentioned above, you can confidently go on vacation knowing that your houseplants will be well taken care of. Whether it’s leaving a little water in the saucer, creating a makeshift greenhouse, or using water globes, there are various methods to keep your plants hydrated and thriving while you’re away.

Remember to consider the specific needs of your plants and adjust watering methods accordingly. So go ahead and plan that vacation, knowing that your leafy friends will be waiting for you, healthy and happy, upon your return.

Additional Information: It’s important to note that not all plants have the same water requirements or tolerance for extended periods without watering. Before implementing any watering techniques, research the specific needs of your plants and ensure you’re providing them with the right care and conditions for their optimal growth.

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