Use this easy vacation watering tip to keep your potted plants happy while you're away for up to a week!
Here's a problem I know everyone has: how to deal with vacation watering for pots that dry out in a few days in the summer. Do you hire a house sitter for just a few days? Ask a neighbor? Give up and let the plants die?
If you grow flowers, vegetables or herbs in pots, you know that even a weekend without water in the summer heat can stunt growth and even kill plants. But asking someone to water plants every time you go away can become burdensome (for both of you!). And hiring for a few days isn't always cost effective. (Besides, when was the last time a teenager knew how to water plants long enough to soak them?)
A few years ago I thought about how I water my seedlings from the bottom and thought the same concept should work with pots, too- just on a larger scale. My solution?
Buy a kiddie pool to hold the pots and then fill the pool with water!
It worked perfectly! I've used this method now for about four years and I'm really happy with the results. The plants stay alive (some even thrive because they were needing a good summertime soak), and I don't have to bug someone to water them.
I've even gone for a week with the plants in their pool, but I did ask someone to come and water the bigger pots and refill the pool at the 3-day mark. She did say the pool needed to be refilled - but that was because the temperature was in the high 80s and 90s. On cooler weeks, you may not need anyone to stop by.
How to Use a Kiddie Pool for Vacation Watering
- Place any hanging pots and all the smallest pots in the pool. When placing the hanging pots, let the trailing plants hang over the edge and arrange them on the other pots, as needed. Basically, don't let the trailers sit in the water.
- Fill in any extra openings with medium-sized pots. It's okay if they are tilted a bit to fit - just as long as the bottom of the pots will get water, it's good.
- Larger pots can last a couple days between watering, so if you don't want to invest in a lot of kiddie pools, just water them well move them to shadier spots. OR buy plastic saucers to fit under them and fill those with water.
- Use a hose to fill the pool with water - all the way to the top.
That's a lot easier than trying to find someone to water, right?
How long does this work?
I've found that about five days is best, though you can stretch it to seven, because some of the plants don't like being waterlogged and may look a little yellow when you return. I trim them up if needed and they perk back up in about a week, though, so it's still better than loosing the plant to not enough water.
A 2-3 day weekend trip is just about the perfect amount of time and you will come back to plants that look as healthy as when you left. In fact, if I haven't been consistent in watering (what- this surprises you?) leading up to the time away, the plants may even look better.
All the more reason to schedule a fun trip, I say.
What are some of the things you do to keep the garden looking good when you're away?
Here's an image you can pin to remember this tip for your next vacation: