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7 Expert Methods for Watering Plants When Away on Vacation

Who doesn’t love a good vacation? Have you been thinking of taking a road trip or flying half way around the world, but are a bit hesitant because you are worried about your plant babies at home? Don’t let your plants get in the way of your vacation! Read on to learn about expert ways to water your plants while you’re away.

While the best option while you’re on vacation is to have a friend water your plants, this might not always be an option. In that case, you can use the glass or plastic bottle method; your sink or bathtub; create a water wick; plastic bag covering; or an irrigation system for outdoor plants.

This article will cover some great methods for watering your plants while you take a vacation. We will give you a few options depending on how long you are gone and discuss how long certain plants can survive without water, so let’s get started.

Photo of a plant with exposed roots soaking in a fishbowl half full of water
Photo by Kids Nord

Watering Methods By Vacation Length

When trying to figure out how to water your plants when you are away, one of the most important factors will be how long you are gone. Your method of plant care will differ if you’re gone for a week as compared to four weeks. Let’s take a look at some different ways you can care for your plants.

Any Time Frame

Ask a Friend or Family Member

No matter how long your vacation, asking a friend(s) or family member(s) is always an option. It is always a good idea to have someone checking on the house when you are gone anyway, and watering plants is a pretty easy request. Depending on how long you’re away, your friend or relative will likely only need to do this a couple of times.

One Week

Generally, many plants will be okay for a week without water, but that will depend on what kind of plants you own. Succulents, for instance, will be fine, but there are a few different plant species that require higher maintenance. If that is the case, there are a few easy ways that you can water your plants while you are away.

Glass Bottle Method

Many people use the glass bottle method when they are away for about five days. This method will also work fine for an entire week.

You will need a hammer, some nails, a bottle with an aluminum cap (screw-on), and some pliers.

  1. Take your bottle, and remove the cap.
  2. Take the pliers and remove the plastic film inside the aluminum cap.
  3. Hammer the nail through the cap. This action should create a tiny hole. Do this about five times to create five different holes.
  4. When you hammer the nails into the cap, make sure to do so on the inside of the cap. Doing this will prevent the cap from bending.
  5. Now you can fill the bottle with fresh water and put the lid back on.
  6. Dig a little hole in your plant’s soil and place the bottle, cap side down, into the hole.

Your plants should be fine for a week with this method.

Plastic Water Bottle Method

The plastic water bottle method will work well for those plants that don’t need lots of water.

For this option, you will need a plastic water bottle, some nails, and a hammer. To do this:

  1. Start by carefully making about six holes on each side of the water bottle.
  2. You will also need to make three holes on the bottom of the bottle.
  3. Before you do the next step, water your plant like normal.
  4. Now you can dig a hole in the soil and place the plastic bottle in the hole.
  5. Fill the bottle up, then put the cap on.

This method will water your plant for about five days, maybe up to a week.

Two Weeks

If you’re going to be away on vacation for two weeks, it is a good idea to have a system in place to water your plants. While some plants will be fine for a week without water, you should not risk leaving your plants for two weeks without water. Let’s take a look at what options you have.

Houseplant Bath Method

The houseplant bath method will keep your plants hydrated for a week to two weeks, depending on how much you fill the bathtub or sink.

Something to note about this method is that it is only for plants that need a lot of water and little to no sun. If you have any tropical plants, this will work well. Try to avoid using this method with plants that only need light to moderate watering since this could damage the plant.

You will need a towel and a sink or bathtub for this method. Make sure that your plant has a pot that drains well. Then, follow the steps below:

  1. Fill up your sink or bathtub with a few inches of water. If you are using a tub and putting multiple plants in it, fill the tub with a few more inches of water.
  2. Now take your towel, and lay it over the water. The purpose of the towel is to prevent the plant pots from scratching the tub or sink.
  3. Now you can place the plant (or plants) on the towel and into the water.

Three Weeks

If you are away for three weeks, you will need to figure out some other ways to keep your plants hydrated the entire time you are gone. All of the methods previously listed will not provide enough water for the plant to survive the entire time. One method we will talk about is the water wick method. It is worth mentioning that you can also use the plastic bag greenhouse method as described below in the four week section.

Water Wick Method

One of the easier methods to keep your plant hydrated for three weeks is with the water wick method. This option will work best for indoor plants.

You will need a jar and some sort of wick. You can use plastic tubing, cotton twine, or a string for the wick.

  1. Fill the jar up with water.
  2. Then, take your wick and put one end of it in the jar, making sure it reaches the bottom of the jar.
  3. Now take the other end of the wick and bury it about 3 inches (about 7 cms) deep into the soil near your plant’s base.

This setup will last two weeks. Make sure to keep the water jar out of the sun to avoid evaporation. You can also put duct tape over the jar to prevent the water from evaporating.

Four Weeks or More

Many plants will die without water for four weeks. For this reason, it is very important to set up a few watering methods while you are away. Even though it may seem like you will need to spend more time and money on watering methods for this length of time, that is not always the case. While some options may require a bit of money, some will only make a small dent in your wallet.

Plastic Bag Greenhouse Method

The plastic bag greenhouse method will last well over four weeks. In fact, this method will last up to eight months if you need it to.

It is important to remember not to use this method if your plant is in direct sunlight, as doing so will cause the plant to overheat. You will also need to be careful to avoid damaging the plant’s foliage.

For this method, you will need four wooden stakes and a clear plastic bag that is big enough to cover your entire plant. Then, follow these steps below:

  1. The first step is to take the wooden stakes and place them in the soil around the plant. The purpose of the stakes is to avoid wrapping the bag directly onto the leaves.
  2. After you insert the stakes, water your plant like normal. It is essential not to overwater the plant.
  3. Once you have watered it, take the plastic bag and pull it over the entire plant. Make sure that the leaves are not brushing up against the plastic bag. Don’t worry if a few leaves are slightly touching the bag; it won’t hurt your plant unless it is completely covered.

Now you can leave for your vacation! This option works because when the water evaporates, the plastic bag will catch the water and prevent it from evaporating further. The water will then form into droplets and fall back into the soil, like a continuous loop.

Irrigation System

If you are gone for over four weeks, or if you have plenty of outdoor plants, you might want to consider installing an irrigation system. While this may be a bit of an investment, you will be able to use the system for years.

There are three basic types of irrigation you can use.

  • Sprinkler irrigation: If you have a large garden, a sprinkler irrigation setup will work well.This type of irrigation uses sprinklers to water the plants from above instead of sending water straight to the plant’s roots.
  • Trickle/Drip irrigation: Drip irrigation setups are very water-efficient and send water right to the plant roots. They are efficient because they gradually provide droplets of water directly on the plant roots, which takes up very little water.
  • Subsurface irrigation: This kind of irrigation uses tubes to transport water to the plant roots. As the name suggests, these tubes lay right beneath the surface.
Photo of grandfather and granddaughter pruning peppers inside a greenhouse
Photo by Rosshelen

Are There Services to Have Your Plants Watered When on Vacation?

There are lots of outdoor watering companies in many areas that will provide scheduled watering services. Most of these businesses will water lawns, gardens, planters, and flower beds.

While it is rarer, you can also find some small businesses that will send people to your home to water your plants while you are away. You will have to do some heavy research, though, since most indoor plant watering companies only service large indoor areas such as malls or offices.

As mentioned above, you can always hire someone or ask someone you know to water your plants for you. It is better to hire someone you trust since you will be giving them access to your house.

Are There Products Available to Water Your Plants Remotely When Away on Vacation?

There are a few products that you can buy to remotely water your plants while you are away. 

WiFi Watering Devices

There are many WiFi watering devices you can set up for your plants. If you have a few indoor plants, these products will be great, such as the GOOWJUER WiFi Plant Watering Devices.

Many WiFi devices will have a central unit where the water comes from. Each device will come with several plastic tubes that you can insert into your plant’s soil. You can then control the watering schedule with your phone and even put it on a timer. Most WiFi watering systems can water up to 20 indoor plants.

Digital Watering Hose with Timers

Digital watering hoses will be a good option if you have a sprinkler irrigation system set up. They are very simple to use and are easy to set up. You simply attach the timer to your hose outlet, and then you can control when the water feeds the sprinklers.

Each timer will come with a digital screen and buttons/dials to control it. You can put it on a timer and have it water your plants at whatever time intervals work best for the type of plants you have on hand.

Check out the Orbit 62061Z Single-Outlet Hose Watering Timer if you want to go with this option.

How Long Can Plants Live Without Water?

Now that we have covered a few popular methods for taking care of your plants while away, let’s see exactly how long plants can live without water.

All plants need water to survive. Water helps the plant receive essential nutrients from the soil. Plants also need water to assist with photosynthesis. Without water, plants will wither and eventually die.

You may have a plant that will be fine the entire time you’re gone. However, some plants need water every day. Knowing how long your plants can live without water will help you decide what watering method you choose.

Common House Plants

Many common houseplants have similar characteristics, so it’s safe to say, as a general guideline, the majority of houseplants can survive without water for about two to three weeks.

There are some specific factors, though, that will affect how long some plants can live without water. Things like plant type, size, age, growing conditions, and if it’s indoor or outdoor can help determine how much water the plant needs. You will also have to consider the growing phase, conditions, climate, pot size, season, and current weather.

Succulents and Cacti

Succulents and cacti can last a while without water because they can store water, which is why some are so thick.

Succulents can absorb water much faster than other plants can. Their roots spread wide and shallow versus narrow and deep. Because of this, succulents can absorb water even if they do not sink down deep into the soil.

As a general rule, succulents with small and thin leaves will be able to last around one to two months without water. However, succulents that have thicker and wider leaves can last around three months without water.

When it comes to cacti, many cacti will be fine for six months without water. However, some species can go as long as two years without water.

Vegetables and Fruits

Generally, vegetables and fruits can go 10 to 14 days without water. However, it may depend on the specific plant you have. A good rule of thumb is to check the plant’s soil every few days, and if the soil feels damp, then the plant does not need more water. When the soil is hard and has some cracks in it, it is time to water.

Closing Thoughts

The best option for when you’re traveling is to ask someone to stop by to water your plants. However, this might not always be an option. If you are only gone for one week, consider using the glass bottle or plastic water bottle method, which are both easy to set up.

Try the houseplant bath method if you’ll be gone for two weeks. This option is good for tropical plants that need a higher volume of water.

If you’re gone for three or four weeks, try the water wick or plastic bag greenhouse method. Both of these options are very easy to set up and don’t require a lot of materials.

Here are Some of my Favorite Gardening Products and Tools

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful for growing some new plants in your home or garden. Here are some products I like that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, and I am compensated for referring traffic. But in all honesty, these are the exact product that I use or recommend to everyone.

Soil: For high-quality soil, I really like Fox Farm Ocean Forest. I do all my growing in containers and this soil has worked great for me. I like how they use nutrient-rich contents like earthworm castings, bat guano, and composted crab and fish.

Fertilizer: Currently I am using a seaweed-based organic fertilizer call Neptunes Harvest. This is a great milder fertilizer option if you want to use something organic. If you want a more powerful fertilizer, I recommend Fox Farm Liquid Nutrient Trio, lots of people have had great growing success with this product.

Pruning Shears: Pruning shears are one of the most useful gardening tools to have because it’s important to prune your plants to keep them healthy. The pruning shears I recommend are the Gonicc 8’’ pruning shears. I like them because they are built sturdy and work both on bigger and smaller plants, so you don’t need to have multiple pruning shears. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to also participates in affiliate programs with other sites. is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.