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Keeping Plants Watered While You’re Away

Woman watering a houseplant. Image credit: Vlada Karpovitch

April 2023


One of the nice things about living at Elmwood Manor is its park-like setting and the many beautiful trees to be enjoyed. If you love being around all that nature, houseplants are a great way to bring it into your apartment or townhome. But if you’re someone who travels, you may find it difficult to keep your plants sufficiently watered while you’re away. In some cases, you can just wait until you get back. Plants like succulents can easily handle a dry spell. But if your trip is long or your plants require moist soil, you’ve got problems. Here are eight simple ways to make sure your plants stay hydrated, healthy, and happy.

Give a Thorough Watering When You Leave

Just before you go, give your plants a thorough soaking. Typically, more than what you’d normal do, so you can get a day or two extra beyond your normal watering cycle.

Invest in Self-Watering Containers

One of the easiest ways to keep your plants hydrated while you’re away is to invest in self-watering containers. These containers have a built-in reservoir that holds water, which is slowly released into the soil as the plant needs it.

Group Your Plants Together

Plants release moisture into the air through a process called transpiration. By grouping your plants together, you can create a mini-humid environment that will help keep them hydrated. This is particularly helpful for plants that require high humidity, like ferns and orchids.

Use a Watering Globe

A watering globe is a glass sphere that is filled with water and placed in the soil of a potted plant. As the soil dries out, the water is slowly released from the globe, keeping the plant hydrated.

Create a DIY Watering System

If you’re feeling crafty, you can create your own DIY watering system using items you already have around your apartment. One method is to fill a large plastic container with water and place it above your plants. Then, poke holes in the bottom of the container and allow the water to slowly drip into the soil. Another method is to place a cotton wick in a glass of water and place the other end in the soil of your plant. The water will slowly travel up the wick and into the soil, keeping your plant hydrated.

Use Water-Retaining Granules

Water retaining granules do just what you’d think. When you mix them with your soil and then water your plants, they hold water and slowly release it over time.

Move Plants Out of Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight heats the soil and causes water to evaporate. While most plants need direct sun, spending some time with less sun will be far less harmful to them than spending time without water.

Be Neighborly

You can just keep your plants watered the old fashioned way by enlisting the help of a friend or neighbor. Make things easier for them by leaving clear instructions and making sure any watering or fertilizing equipment is left out for them. You should also offer to return the favor when they go away or pick up a small gift for them during your travels.