From Gardener's Supply (

Vacation Watering Tips

Use a timer to trigger your outdoor watering devices, such as sprinklers, soaker hoses and drippers. Even when you're not on vacation, a timer helps minimize watering chores.
Indoor Solutions

If you'll only be gone for a few days, simply move your houseplants out of direct sunlight. This will slow growth and reduce moisture loss. Make sure you water thoroughly right before you depart.

If you will be turning the air conditioning down or even off while you're away, move houseplants to a part of the house where the air temperature will be relatively cool and constant.

Many houseplants will thrive in a temporary bathtub greenhouse—especially low-light, tropical foliage plants. Leave the light on in the bathroom, and you should return to a tub full of healthy plants. Here's how to do it:

  • Start by lining the tub with a large plastic sheet.
  • Place several layers of newspapers on top of the plastic, lining the bottom of the tub.
  • Place plants on the newspapers and turn the shower on long enough to wet the newspaper.
  • Pull the shower curtain closed to help retain moisture.

Some houseplants can spend all or part of the summer outdoors. Although many houseplants will be fine in a sunny spot, most are better off in a shady nook, where they are protected from sun and wind. Clustering pots together increases humidity and helps reduce moisture loss. Sinking the pot into the soil helps conserve moisture.

If you will be gone for more than two weeks, it's probably best to ask someone to check on the plants once or twice a week.

Outdoor Solutions

Drip irrigation systems are available for the garden. Soaker hose is another option for garden beds or landscape plantings. If you put these systems on a timer, your plants will get watered regularly. It's best to set up such a system a few weeks in advance so you have time to fine-tune the watering schedule. Self-Watering Planters have built-in reservoirs that will provide water for a week or more, depending on the size of the plant and the weather/climate.

Mulching the soil surface of container-grown plants will minimize evaporation and keep soil as moist as possible.

If you have someone watering in your absence, try positioning Aqua Cones near garden plants or in container gardens. Ask the person to fill each Aqua Cone and you'll make sure water gets down to the root zone rather than just on the soil surface.

If you travel frequently, consider using Terra-Sorb crystals. They can be mixed into the soil in your planters or even in a garden bed. The "crystals" start out the size of coarse sand, then swell to the size of a blueberry when moistened. As the soil around them dries, the crystals shrink, releasing their water to the soil.

Last updated: 7/9/19