How To Water Your Plants While You’re Away

So, you’re taking a vacation. Good for you! And you’ve thought of everything, right? You cleaned out the fridge of stuff that’s about to go bad, your friend is taking your dog, and you have an automated feeder for your fish. But what about your plants? How will you water them while you’re away? Before you freak out and cancel your flight, calm down and check out these easy DIY suggestions, which will work for outdoor garden beds and houseplants.

Another Person

You know that friend dog sitting for you, the nearby family member or the neighbor with whom you’ve swapped house keys just in case either of you gets locked out? Why not ask one of them if they can drop by for 10 minutes while you’re away and water the plants?

You don’t have anyone you can ask? No problem!

Got Any Bottles?

Grab an empty wine bottle (with an aluminum cap) or an empty plastic water bottle. For the wine bottle, you’ll need to puncture a few holes in the cap, fill the bottle with water and then turn it upside down with the cap end stuck a couple of inches into the soil (make sure it’s deep enough not to fall over).

For the water bottle, puncture the holes on the sides and the bottom of the bottle, and dig into the pot of soil so that the cap end is sticking up about an inch or so.

For either method, you’ll want to water the plants right before doing it so that they don’t drink up all the bottled water right away. Your plant’s mileage may vary, but you can generally expect to get about 4-5 days out of them.

The Wick Method

Here’s a brain teaser for you: you have a potted plant, and right beside it, you have a jar/bowl of water. How do you get that water to the plant without moving either container? A piece of cotton string, of course.

Ensure the water container is elevated slightly higher than the plant pot. Place one end of the cotton string in the water and the other buried in the soil about three inches deep at the base of the plant. Water the plant to get things going and let the string do the rest.

This is an ideal method for plants that need watering about three times a week.

Depending on how much water you leave in the container, this could last up to three weeks.

The Bathtub

While the other methods involved bringing the water to your plants, this one brings your plants to the water.

Fill up your bathtub with a couple of inches of water, then lay down some towels to protect the base of the tub from getting scratched up. Place your plant pots on the towels. Make sure the plants are in pots with ample drainage so that the roots can soak up all that delicious, life-giving water, and they should be good for about a week.

This is a method worth considering for plants that need lots of water. They have to be in pots, though. Be sure to consider how much sunlight, or lack thereof, your bathroom gets and what plants would be okay with that.


Hugelkultur is worth considering when designing future garden beds and containers. This method involves placing decomposing logs and branches at the bottom of the bed or pot and layering them with rotted leaves and other organic material.

You won’t be sorry; an established hugelkultur bed requires almost no watering, even in dry spells!

Now, enjoy your time away. You deserve it!

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Jesse grew up obsessed with movies and so it only makes sense that he graduated from McGill University with a degree in Political Science. He then put that degree to good use with a job at a video store. After that he spent months backpacking around Europe - a continent that he has been back to visit many times since. Jesse is super curious and loves to learn and explore new subjects. For the last 15+ years he has been writing online for a number of different sites and publications covering everything from film and television to website reviews, dating and culture, history, news and sports. He’s worn many hats - which is ironic because he actually loves wearing hats and he has many different ones.