How To Keep Indoor Plants Alive While On Vacation

Sometimes it can be hard to go on long vacations if you must leave your plants behind. It’s one major struggle if you’re a single plant parent, right?

You’re miles away from home supposedly enjoying a nice view and food, but when you think of your beloved plant babies, you end up getting worried.

But here’s the thing. There are ways how to keep plants alive while on vacation. So, keep reading this article to gain new insights so you could plan ahead.

And the next time you travel, you’ll be worry-free.

You Gotta Stick to Low Maintenance Plants


Sticking to low-maintenance plants is the most feasible solution if you’re a frequent traveler. If you’re always on the go, barely having enough time to stay around and cultivate your plants, it’s gonna be a big relief to have babies that require very low maintenance and care.

This means that they can tolerate some degree of neglect.

Low-maintenance plants include those that are drought-tolerant. This means that you won’t need to water plants regularly as they could withstand a few weeks without watering. Examples are succulents like the ZZ plant, snake plant, aloe vera, ponytail palm, and jade plant.

Cacti species like bunny ear cactus, golden barrel cactus, and feather cactus require less frequent watering.

You could also choose plants that thrive in low light just in case your place doesn’t have a bright spot where they can receive direct sunlight. This includes the lucky bamboo, pothos, ferns, peace lily, and Chinese evergreen.

Keeping Your Little Friends Alive While Traveling

Water Vigorously

watering indoor plants @flickr watering indoor plants @flickr

What we mean by water vigorously is to water thoroughly and deeply. Make sure that the soil is drenched and that all excess water leaves the drain holes. However, make some caution as every plant will have a personal preference on how much water they want to have.

Some plants want less water while others want more. So, you have to know your plants well.

Invest In a Self Watering System

watering stake

Now if you’re on a trip most of the time, you should realize by now how life-saving it is to have a self-watering system. Nowadays, you can easily buy and set up automatic watering systems for your houseplants. But you can also do a DIY drip system if you have the time to do so.

String in a Pot

One simple way to augment short-term watering solutions is to put a string in the pot. Here, you’ll use a wick to draw water from the large container and into the pots. Instead of cotton rope or cotton twine, it’s better to use nylon composite fiber strings as they’re sturdier.

It should also be thick enough to be able to transfer enough water to the pots. Depending on how big the water container is, this watering system could supply a week of your plant’s water needs.

Watering Globe

Another self-watering device you can use that looks fancy is a watering globe. It’s a round-shaped water container that slowly dispenses water. It has a glass probe that you can insert a few inches deep into the soil and it will release water at a constant rate.

It could last about a week which is fine for short-term use.


If you don’t want to spend on watering globes, you could repurpose any bottle such as a beer bottle or a wine bottle. Fill it with water and insert it upside down in the potting soil. It serves the same purpose.

A plastic bottle will also do. Just make sure to choose a bottle that has a long and narrow neck to control the release of water.

Don’t use a water bottle that has holes in them. This will cause water to slowly leak out of the container and defeat the purpose of self-watering. It may even lead to overwatering if the plant gets more water than necessary.

Maintain Moisture By Adding Mulch, Coco Chunks, Chips, or Wood

bark and wood in a pot

For plants that require more water, it’ll be best to put a few inches of mulch in the form of coco chunks, chips, or wood. Mulching is an effective method to conserve moisture in the plant’s soil. After you put on mulch, conduct a thorough watering to lock in moisture. Drain excess water from the container’s drainage holes.

After that, let the plant sit in its designated place.

A potted plant that has mulch will tend to survive a long period of no watering than one that has no mulch at all.

Don’t Fertilize

Fertilizing your houseplants will cause them to have boosted growth which we do not want when we’re away for travel. With more growth happening, your potted plant will need more resources such as water and light. Of course, it’ll be impossible to provide such when you’re away for a long period.

Hence, it’s best to postpone the application of fertilizer until you’re back from your trip.

Move High Humidity Plants to Your Bathroom

plants in bathroom

A bathroom is naturally a highly humid place and it could be a perfect spot to leave some indoor plants when you’re away. If it had some indirect light coming through a small window, that would be much better.

The humidity in your bathroom will keep your plants healthy as it helps maintain a high moisture level around the place preventing wilting and drying. Before you leave your house, give your plants a shower then settle them in the bathtub or sink of your bathroom.

Alternatively, you could put a plant or two in the kitchen sink to achieve the same goals. The kitchen is also a highly humid place and your plants won’t mind being left in such places for a week or more.

Prepare a Tray with Pebbles and Water for the Plants to Sit

The pebble tray method is an effective way to create a high moisture level around your plants. This simple method can keep your plants alive as it improves humidity, preventing them from drying out. This works well for potted plants that require high humidity all the time.

But for those that prefer the dry side, a pebble tray isn’t recommended.

It’s also important to keep the roots out of the water once you let the plant sit on top of the pebbles. Doing so will prevent problems like root rot. Grouping plants together is also a way to increase humidity.

So, in one big pebble tray, you can group more potted plants to reap the same benefits.

Prune Fast-Growing Plants

pruning tools

Fast-growing plants utilize more resources like food, water, and nutrients because they spend more energy growing. It would be best to prune them to conserve the energy that the grown-out parts (stems, leaves, and flower heads) will utilize.

Before you head on that long travel, grab a sterilized shear and cut the excess growth in your plants. Depending on how much growth your plants have had, you can prune as much as 1/3 of their overall growth. Don’t prune more than that as it could potentially cause your ornamentals to deteriorate.

When in doubt, call a friend to take care of them

Okay, if you still find it hard to trust these self-watering methods or your trip got extended for a reason, it wouldn’t hurt to call a friend and have him or her be a temporary plant sitter. Make specific instructions on how you want your plants to be watered.

They don’t have to go every day, as long as you have them checked within a week, it’s fine.

Final Thought

We hope these tips will help your plants stay healthy and give you some relief while you book your next trip out of town.

Whether you want to buy, sell, or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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