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Best Ways To Keep Your Houseplants Watered When You Are Gone For Days

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When you plan a trip away from home, one of your concerns might be the well-being of your houseplants.

Plants, like pets, require continuous care, and figuring out how to keep them hydrated in your absence can be a challenge.

However, with some preparation and the right techniques, you can ensure your green friends remain thriving and healthy while you enjoy your time away.

This article explores both DIY solutions and automatic systems to maintain optimal watering for your plants when you’re not around to do it yourself.

Assess Your Houseplants’ Watering Needs

Before you consider any watering system, it’s crucial to understand the specific needs of your plants. Different species require different amounts of water, frequency, and environmental conditions.

For instance, succulents and cacti need minimal water and can usually thrive for weeks without additional watering, whereas tropical plants like peace lilies or philodendrons might require a more consistent moisture level.

Start by grouping your plants based on their watering needs. This strategy will make it easier to design a system that can cater to grouped plants effectively.

Also, consider the climate in your area and the season—plants generally require less water in cooler months and more in the summer.

Manual Watering Methods Before Departure

The simplest way to ensure your plants are well-watered is to give them a thorough watering just before you leave.

However, this method alone might not be enough if you’re going to be away for more than a few days. Here are a couple of strategies to extend the effectiveness of this initial watering:


Apply a layer of mulch around the base of your plants. Organic materials like bark or straw can help retain soil moisture and reduce the frequency of needed waterings.

Adjust the Environment

Reduce water evaporation by drawing the blinds or curtains in your home to block out intense sunlight.

Additionally, grouping your plants together can create a microenvironment with higher humidity, which can also help keep them hydrated.

DIY Watering Solutions

If you prefer a more hands-on approach or want to avoid the expense of high-tech gadgets, there are several effective DIY solutions you can set up with household items:

Self-Watering Wicks

This system uses capillary action to draw water from a container to the soil. To set it up, place one end of a cotton rope or a strip of cloth in a container of water and the other end in your plant’s soil. The wick will slowly transfer water to the soil, keeping the plant hydrated.

Bottle Drip System

An empty wine bottle or a water bottle can be turned into a DIY drip system. Fill the bottle with water, drill a small hole in the cap, or leave it slightly open, and invert it into the soil near the plant’s roots. Water will slowly drip, providing a steady supply of moisture.

Watering Globes and Spikes

Commercial watering globes can be quite effective but also expensive. For a homemade alternative, fill a small bottle with water, make a tiny hole in the cap, and insert it upside down into the soil. The water will seep out slowly, hydrating the plant over time.

Automatic Watering Systems

For those who prefer a set-it-and-forget-it approach, automatic watering systems are ideal. These systems range from simple drip irrigation kits to sophisticated, programmable systems that can water multiple plants at scheduled intervals. Here are a few options:

Drip Irrigation Kits

These kits are readily available at gardening stores and online. They typically include a timer, tubing, and emitters, which you can customize to fit the layout of your plant collection.

Self-Contained Automatic Watering Systems

These systems have built-in reservoirs and can be programmed to water your plants based on moisture levels in the soil.

They are particularly useful for indoor plants and can vary in capacity, making them suitable for both small apartments and larger homes.

Harnessing Technology

Incorporating technology into plant care has become increasingly popular, thanks to advancements in smart home devices.

These gadgets offer convenience and precision, making them an excellent choice for tech-savvy plant owners.

Devices like smart drip irrigation systems can be programmed to water your plants based on a schedule or in response to soil moisture sensors.

These sensors monitor the moisture level of the soil and signal the system to water when necessary, ensuring your plants always have just the right amount of water.

Additionally, these systems can be integrated with general home automation systems, allowing you to control them via smartphone apps, no matter where you are in the world.

Preparing for Longer Absences

If you plan to be away from home for more than a week, it’s essential to take extra precautions to ensure your plants survive your absence in good health.

For extended periods, consider enhancing your watering system to cover the additional days. You might also arrange for a neighbor or a professional plant sitter to check on your plants, especially for sensitive species that require more attention.

Leave detailed instructions on the care of each plant, and consider doing a trial run with your watering system a few weeks before your departure to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When setting up a home watering system, there are several common pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. First, ensure not to overwater your plants.

Automated systems, if not correctly set up, can deliver more water than your plants need, leading to root rot and other health issues. Also, avoid overly complicated setups that could fail while you’re away.

Simplicity is key in ensuring reliability. Double-check all connections and settings in your chosen system, and always have a backup plan in place in case of a system failure.

Planning the care of your houseplants while you’re away doesn’t have to be a source of stress. By choosing the right watering method and preparing appropriately, you can ensure that your plants will remain thriving and healthy during your absence.

Whether you opt for a simple manual method or a high-tech solution, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your plants are well cared for is invaluable.

Experiment with different systems to find what works best for your home and lifestyle, and remember that the ultimate goal is the health and longevity of your plants.

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