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How to Water Plants While Away on Holiday

Are you about to jet off on a vacation and worried about your garden plants getting thirsty? Don't sweat it! We've got a handy guide for you on how to ensure both your indoor and outdoor plants stay happy and hydrated, no matter how long you're gone.

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Planning to be away and not sure how to care for your plant pals? Whether it's a fancy weekend trip or a two-week vacation, keeping your plants hydrated is a must. Here's some advice based on a few variables.

Seasonal Shifts:

In the spring and summer, plants generally need more attention, especially if they're seedlings or if you're maintaining an allotment. If you're taking a week off in the summer, your plants will likely need care while you're away. But, if you're vacationing in autumn or winter, a good watering before your departure might be sufficient.

Indoor vs Outdoor:

The care required depends on the type of plants you have. Indoor plants are usually easier to leave behind as they're not exposed to as much sun or wind. Outdoor potted plants, on the other hand, need more frequent watering than those planted in the ground.

How to Water Plants While Away on Holiday
How to Water Plants While Away on Holiday

How to Water Plants While Away on Holiday
How to Water Plants While Away on Holiday

Pre-Holiday Prep

Before setting off, prepare your plants to stay hydrated and happy.

Soak 'em up

Water everything thoroughly before leaving. Make sure you've watered the soil of garden beds and borders deep enough, about 5cm below the surface. Potted plants need a good soak too. In summer, leaving water in the saucers is okay, but in winter, raise pots on your feet for easier drainage and to prevent freezing.

Inside, gather your houseplants in the sink or bathtub filled with about 10cm of water. Let them soak for about 15 minutes, then drain and return them to their usual spots.

Rearrange a Bit

Move outdoor pots from sunny to shadier spots to slow down the drying process. Likewise, move indoor plants away from bright windowsills to cooler areas.

Short Trips (3-4 days)

If you're away for a long weekend, a good watering before you leave should be enough. For more demanding houseplants, try a pebble tray with some water to keep humidity high. In spring and summer, place both indoor and outdoor plants in a saucer of water.

Week-long Trips

For week-long trips, good initial watering should suffice. If you're still worried, here are a couple of DIY hacks:

Bottle Trick

Take a plastic bottle and poke small holes around the bottom half and base. Insert this bottle near the plant roots, leaving the top part exposed. Fill the bottle with water and let it slowly drip out. This keeps watering even after you're back.

Water Wick Trick

This is a simple watering system using a cotton string that can keep your plants hydrated for 1 to 3 weeks. Attach one end of the string to the plant pot, ensuring it hangs into the water, and the other end into a water-filled glass or jar. Leave it to work while you're away.

How to Water Plants While Away on Holiday
How to Water Plants While Away on Holiday

Longer Trips (2 weeks+)

For longer vacations, you could set up a simple irrigation system or enlist the help of a neighbour. Automatic watering kits are available that can self-water multiple plants. These kits use water-efficient drippers and can be set on a timer.

You can also use tap-mounted sensor controllers that can be programmed to water at sunrise and sunset.

Or you can go old-school and ask a friend, family member, or neighbour to check on your plants. If you're worried about their plant-care skills, set up one of the systems mentioned above and ask them to refill the water reservoirs.

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