There’s nothing better than a summer holiday away, exploring a new place with your friends and family and getting some well needed rest.
In the run up to your holiday, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the packing and planning. You can forget about what you’ll be leaving behind. Remember that any plants you grow depend on you to survive. Just as a pet would. They need their regular watering even though you might be away.
This is especially true during the summer months when water evaporates rapidly from the soil and plants can quickly dry out.
Luckily, there are lots of clever ways to keep plants hydrated whilst we aren’t there to care for them.
Make it easier
No matter how long your holiday will be, there are methods to use to keep your plants healthy until your return home. Many can even be done using recycled materials from around the house – so there’s no need to break the bank.
Water before you go
The first thing to do, no matter which method you use, is to give all your plants a thorough watering before you begin. Soak pots, containers and hanging baskets at the plant base until the water rises above the soil. Allow this to soak in and then repeat.
Use a hose to water plants in your beds and borders. Leave the hose at the base of thirsty plants for several minutes, pressing your finger into the soil afterwards. You want to check the water has soaked at least the first several inches of the soil before moving on to the next plant.
Take care not to simply sprinkle water on the foliage as this will evaporate away quickly and can also encourage disease.
The power of shade
Moving potted plants into a shady spot whilst you are away will help them to maintain hydration. And it will slow the rate at which they dry out. Be careful not to use shade cast by the eaves of your house. As this will prevent any natural rainwater from being able to reach them.
Do the same thing with houseplants. Move them away from sunny windowsills and into shadier spots to help them stay hydrated while you are away.
Once you have given your plants a nice long drink, you can set up your plants for the holiday using one of the below methods.
Wine Bottle Method
This method is perfect for keeping potted plants watered if you are away for up to a week.
You can buy ‘watering globes’ that work in the same way.
Plastic bottles can be used in a similar way to wine bottles but can also be used in your beds and borders.
Another clever method of keeping plants hydrated whilst you are away is using a water wick, which is especially good for indoor plants.
You can even place the pot over the container and poke the wick up through the drainage hole – this reduces evaporation and helps to keep the soil at the base of the plant moist.
Bathtub or Shower
Indoor potted plants can be kept hydrated through this method, using the bathtub or shower tray and some old towels.
If you have the budget for it, there are many different types of irrigation systems on the market. These will allow for a controlled amount of water to reach your plants at set times while you are away.
This is a costlier method. But it can help to put your mind at ease if you are worried about your plants running out of water. Or if you plan to be away for a longer period of time.
Asking a Friend or Neighbour
A simple yet effective way to ensure your plants are looked after while you are away is to enlist the help of a friend or neighbour.
Make sure you offer to return the favour when they are going away! To make things easier for them you could set up one of the methods listed above. Meaning your plant sitter only has to pop in once or twice to top up the homemade watering systems, rather than every day you are away.
Leave detailed instructions for how much water your plants require – especially if they aren’t used to caring for plants.
What may seem obvious to you may not be for the novice gardener.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
I have found this to be very insightful. I can’t wait to try these. Thank you
Thank you David. Really great tips and will be trying a couple out before we visit our family in the UK.. We’re in southwest France so it’s already hot with little rain!
Brilliant Tips was really helpful thank you