How to Water Plants When on Vacation

Water Plants When on Vacation to keep your garden looking good

Because I love my garden, I get a bit worried when we go on vacation. Will the new tomato seedlings survive? Will my chrysanthemums still be there when I return? It’s annoying because I really just want to enjoy our family time away. But if you’re into gardening you know what it’s like, especially if you’re going away during the summer months when it’s hot. With a little bit of simple planning, you can water plants when on vacation. It’s easy to do. Try these simple methods to vacation-proof your garden.

Garden Watering Ideas When on Vacation

There are lots of solutions for garden watering. Some of them are quick and easy and others involve more time and effort. I’ll cover them all in this article.

When I first started implementing self watering systems in my yard I started small. You don’t need to complete it all at once. By taking on one or two projects each weekend you’ll achieve the end result. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time before the deadline when you know you’re going to be away.

There are two different approaches to this:

  • Prevention of water-loss in the garden (retaining moisture)
  • Self watering methods

Let’s start with the exciting stuff, the self watering systems…

Self Watering Container Garden Ideas – Terracotta Plant Spikes

✅  Click Here to see the price on these watering spikes

These terra cotta plant watering spikes are perfect for keeping container plants watered. But they can also be used in hanging pots, in raised garden beds, in greenhouses and just about anywhere you want to add a simple self watering system.

In my experience, depending on the size of the area to be watered and the plants there, these spikes can continue watering for between 3 days to 2 weeks. Because there is such a big difference in the times you’ll need to give yourself time to test it on your plants before you go on vacation.

Here are some tips on using these garden watering spikes:

  • Before you place the spikes in your garden, water the plants well.
  • Soak the terracotta spikes in water before using them.
  • Dig a hole where you want to place the spikes (the terracotta can break if you push the spike into the ground too hard).
  • Test if the hole is the right size for the spike.
  • Take the spike back out again and place it over the top of a wine bottle filled with water (wine bottles with shoulders work best with these spikes).
  • Invert the bottle and spike and place into the hole near your plants.
  • Monitor how many days it takes for all the water to be used by your plants.

Once you start using these spikes you’ll find more and more uses for them. They are so easy to use and can be moved to other plants when you want to change your garden design.

This product includes 4 terracotta spikes and 6 bonus plastic spikes. If you’re growing organic vegetables and you want to avoid plastics in your garden, you can use the terracotta ones for your veggies and herbs and try using the plastic ones on flower beds (non-edible flowers).

Bonus tip: These terracotta garden watering spikes make a great gift for anyone with plants. You can give the spikes along with a bottle of wine as the gift. Your friend gets to drink the wine and then re-use the bottle to water the garden with the spikes. It’s perfect.

Garden Watering Timer

To consider the best way to water plants when on vacation, seriously think about a timer. They are brilliant at saving your plants.

✅   Click Here for the price on this watering timer

When I bought my first garden watering timer, I fell in love with it. These things are so useful for so many different reasons.

When I go on vacation I use a timer to do the watering. But that’s not the only time I’ve used it. I injured my knee and it was impossible for me to water the vegetable garden for about 2 weeks. What did I do? Used the timer!

If I’m going to be out all day for several days in a row, I use the watering timer then too, especially if I have new seedlings in the garden and I don’t want to risk losing them. And if I’m getting home after dark it’s a relief to know the plants were watered that day automatically.

If you have other reasons for using a garden watering timer, let me know in the comment section below. I truly love this device. I know you’ll find lots of reasons to use one.

Two different types of timer

Just be aware that there are two types of timer. There’s the one that simply lets the water run for a certain amount of time and then it cuts the water off.  It won’t turn the water on again automatically. This timer is quite limited in functionality but it is good if you’re trying to be efficient about your water usage.

The other type of timer is one that you can set and forget. It will water your garden every day at the same time or several times per day and for a set number of minutes. This is the type of watering timer that I use. It is the most versatile and it lets you keep your garden growing without you even going near it (like when you’re on vacation).

If you want to water plants when on vacation, this is the timer you need. The set and forget type. Take a look at some of the best timers here (click the link).

Just remember you can put one timer on each faucet. I usually use two timers on two separate faucets and I use a sprinkler on the other end of each hose. I use an adjustable side-to-side oscillating water sprinkler like this one. This covers a large enough area while I’m on vacation.

Click the Image to see the price

Watering System

Click Image for the price

To water plants when on vacation, you’ve probably considered the benefits of a complete system. If you’re keen to install a full watering system in your yard they are easy to buy and set up.

A drip watering system can be placed along garden beds of vegetables, flowers or shrubs.

You can buy the system all in one kit with tubing and nozzles and top connectors.

If you are setting up a drip watering system it’s best to also buy a water timer to use when you’re on vacation. This is the perfect combination.

You can set the timer to turn on as many times as you’d like and then the drip system distributes the water along your garden beds. It really is the ultimate way to water when you’re away from home.

Even though it costs a bit more to buy a watering system, you’ll be able to rely on it for years to come. But don’t forget to order a timer at the same time. It’s easier to set it all up at once.

Although, if you want to budget your gardening costs, buy the watering timer and a sprinkler first and then get the full watering system at a later date and combine them.

Plant Watering Globes

These work in a similar way to the terracotta spikes but you don’t need to attach a bottle of water to them. They’re a self-contained system.

✅  Click Here to see the price on these watering globes

These watering globes are attractive to place in your garden or plant containers. Just a word of warning…be careful that you buy the large size. Many of these watering globes are smaller and don’t hold as much water. If you’re going away on vacation you’ll want the larger globes.

The amount of time you get from these globes depends on your plants, your soil and what type of container you’re putting them in. Similar to the terracotta spikes you’ll need to test and monitor these ahead of when you’re going away.

Also, be careful when you’re putting them into the soil. They are made from beautiful hand blown glass so you don’t want to put too much pressure on them when you’re placing them in the soil.

If you need to water plants when on vacation and you have both indoor and outdoor plants these watering globes are perfect. You can use these for indoor houseplants or outside on decks or in the yard. They look good anywhere.

Prevention of Water Loss

Preventing water loss can be just as important as ensuring your plants get enough water. If they dry out between watering, this is a problem. There are several methods to retain the moisture for your plants when you go on vacation.

And remember, you can use mulch on indoor houseplants as well as outdoors. Just be sure to choose one that has a pleasant smell.

Mulching Your Garden

To retain the moisture in your plants’ soil, you’ll need to use mulch. There are lots of ways to do this.

One of my favorites is to use cedar shavings or chips as a mulch. You can buy it easily. And it helps to repel pests.

Cedar will help to keep away certain insects like moths that attack your plants as well as scorpions, termites, cockroaches, ants, carpet beetles, fleas and ticks.

Cedar also gives you a lovely aroma when you use it in containers on your deck or on garden beds in your yard.

This type of mulch helps to retain the moisture in the soil because it acts as a barrier on top.

You can also use straw as mulch. This is very easy to spread around small plants like seedlings that are more vulnerable. Because the straw is soft and easy to mold, you’ll find it easy to use in containers too.

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, rubber mulch is a long lasting way to mulch.

The shredded rubber mulch won’t disintegrate like natural wood chips or straw.

Rubber mulch tends to stay put and won’t blow away and it’s good at holding moisture in the ground. It also doesn’t compact like other mulches.

You can even use it on pathways because it is so durable. It is often used around kids playgrounds as a safe ground cover.

Just a word of warning, you probably wouldn’t want to use this for indoor houseplants. This product has a bad odor to it for about 2 weeks when you put it around your plants. You don’t want that in your home.

Also, I would never use this type of mulch for a vegetable garden or other edible plants. I prefer to go with more natural products, preferably organic and untreated so they’re safe for edible plants and fruit trees.

If you’re looking at different types of mulch for your garden take a look at this selection to order online, Click Here for mulch ideas.

Larger Plant Containers

In addition to mulch, you can retain more moisture in your container plants by using larger containers.

Have you noticed that your smaller containers dry out faster? I’ve lost several plants this way, just because they were the smaller pots.

If you have time to re-pot your plants in containers, choose larger ones and you’ll have a better chance of keeping your plants happy. Sometimes this coincides with the plants needing to be re-planted because they’ve grown too big for their pot anyway. If this is the case, you’re achieving two jobs at once.

If it’s too difficult to use larger containers (because of their location etc) then add lots of mulch on top instead.

Plant Container Saucers

If you need to water plants when on vacation and you have plants in containers consider using much larger saucers under them when you go on vacation. Click Here for a selection of saucers.

Personally, I don’t like leaving saucers full of water under my plants because this encourages mosquitoes to breed in the still water. But if you’re only going away for a few days it’s worth considering.

By using a saucer that is much larger than the normal one you would use for your container, you can keep more moisture available for your plant. The deeper the saucer, the better for holding water.

If you’re just using them while you’re away you don’t need to buy fancy ones that match your containers. There are cheap plastic ones you can buy in packs and use on several plants. Just make sure you buy them larger than what would normally match your plant container.

These are 12-inch saucers in a pack of 10, great value (click the image for details):

✅  Click Here to see the price on these plastic plant container saucers

These days there really are so many options when it comes to watering your garden. If you know you’re going on vacation it’s easy to plan ahead and get your garden organized in an optimal way. You will save your plants and give yourself peace of mind. There’s nothing worse than coming back from a relaxing break to find that your beautiful garden has been suffering (or worse) due to a lack of water.

We all put a lot of effort into our garden beds (especially my vegetable garden!) and we enjoy doing it but you don’t want to risk losing all your hard work. So, to water plants when on vacation utilize as many of these watering tips as you need to in your yard and with your container plants and you’ll be glad you did.

⇒   Want to grow plentiful tomatoes at home with your kids? Here’s the best way.

⇒   Need ideas on using edible landscaping in your yard? See more here.

⇒   Learn how to create a quick and fun garden for kids? See ideas here.




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