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How To Water Plants While On Vacation

Looking for how to water plants while away? The holiday seasons are a dream for most people. You get to take some time away from work and relax with your family. Go on vacations around the world and experience new people and places.

But what might be a dream for you, can be a nightmare for your plants. This is because most plants need water to survive, some more than others. This is why before going on vacation, a plant watering system needs to be designed. But, how do you keep your plant watered while on vacation? 

How Long Would You Be Away For? 

Before you leave the plants and get on your vacation. There are a few questions you would need to answer. The first would be how long you intend to stay. Not all plants can survive long periods without water. Most plants can tolerate a week and some can’t. 

If your stay would be longer than a week. Then you need to have a good plan to keep your plants watered while on vacation. This can vary depending on the plant type (indoor or outdoor). It can also depend on its level of maintenance. 

Low Maintenance plants are often drought-tolerant. They can survive long spells without watering. Average-maintenance plants would need an outdoor or indoor plant watering system. And high-maintenance plants would require someone to water them often. 

With all that has been said, you can try out any of the following plant watering methods. Your chosen method should depend on how long you would be away. And what kind of watering needs your plant has. 

DIY Vacation Plant Watering Methods To Try

1. The String Drip

The String drip method is a great way for watering plants when away. The method should be used for vacations that last between 1 to 3 weeks. It can be used for watering more than one plant at the same time.  And it is better suited for indoor houseplants.

This DIY plant waterer would need some tools or materials. A string or shoelace would be needed. Ensure you cut it into  2 or 3-foot strips. You also need a stainless steel bowl or pot and your plants. 


  • Start by doing a thorough watering of your plants. Once the plants are watered leave them for a while.
  • The stainless steel pot or bowl should then be filled with water. Ensure the water is room temperature and free from chlorine. Once done, dip the strings or shoelace and soak for some minutes.  
  • Take out the rope and place one end at the steel pot or bowl. The other end should be stuck into the plant soil. Ensure it goes 2 or 4 inches deep into the soil.
  • Once done, place the steel pot on a slope a little higher than the plant’s pot. Water should travel down the string through capillary action. It should work for 2 to 3 other plants. 

2. DIY Ollas

The ollas are a great irrigation tool better suited for watering outdoor plants. This DIY version of the ollas should keep your plants watered for up to 2 weeks away.  You would need a good watering can or hose. A terra cotta pot that is unglazed is also needed. And you would also need some putty or caulk.


  • Select an area of the garden where your plant watering tool should be installed. The selected area should be fitting for your pot. Once selected, water that area and leave it. 
  • Use a sealant like putty or caulk to fill up your pot’s hole.  Once done, dig a hole in the selected area that should fit your pot well. 
  • Place your pot in that dug hole and then keep it firm by covering it with dirt.  Then fill the pot with the watering can or hose. Ensure it is filled to the brim.  Cover the pot and your watering system is set. 

Terra cotta pots are known for being porous. They should be able to provide water to the surrounding plants’ roots. And the larger the pot, the more plants your vacation watering system can cater to. 

3. Perforated Plastic Bottle

Plastic bottles can be used to keep your plants watered while away. The process is pretty simple and it can be used on Garden beds and borders for a week of being away, 


  • Select a plastic bottle that is perforated on the bottom (2 holes). And on the sides (5 holes).  
  • Once that is done, bury the bottle in a hole right next to your plant. It should be buried up to its neck deep. And its holes should be facing your plant.
  • Fill the bottle with water and ensure it is firm in the ground.  Over time water should drain from the bottle and feed the plants. 
  • You can slow down the water reduction rate by replacing the cap on the bottle. And lose the cap to increase the water reduction rate. 

4. Shower Or Bathtub

The bathtub or shower can be used for watering potted plants while on vacation. Keep indoor plants hydrated for a period of 1 to 2 weeks with this method.  You need a shower tray or bathtub for this and some old but clean towels. 


  • Start by leaving your houseplant in a tub or shower tray for a period of 10 minutes.  The shower or tub should be filled with shallow water. There it can soak up the excess moisture.
  • Once done, you can place your plant back in its pots. The water it soaks up should last them for a week or two at most.

Frequently Asked Questions

What system is good for long term plant watering?

The string drip method should provide water for long periods. Up to 3 weeks.

What is the best system for watering flowers while on vacation?

Using the string drip method works great for flowering plants.

Is it better to soak or water plants?

Yes, you can put plants in the bathtub while on vacation for 10 minutes at most. Ensure the water is shallow and chlorine free.

How long should you water outdoor plants?

Using a sprinkler or hose, aim for a period of 15 to 20 minutes.

What is the best time to water indoor plants?

Mornings are the best time to water indoor plants. The warm climate allows for proper absorption of the water by the roots.