Use this easy vacation watering tip to keep your potted plants happy while you're away for up to a week - no need to ask anyone to water.
If there's one issue most gardeners deal with, it's vacation watering - how to keep pots of flowers and plants watered during a vacation.
During the summer flowering pots and planted containers can dry out in a single hot day, depending on their size - how do you take care of them during weekend getaways or week long vacation?
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 your plants every time you go away can become burdensome (for both of you!).
And hiring for a few days isn't always an option. (Besides, when was the last time a kid knew how to water plants long enough to soak them?)
This was my dilemma a few years ago as we were heading out for a week of camping.
So I thought about how I water my seedlings from the bottom and realized the same concept should work with pots, too, just on a larger scale.
Buy a kiddie pool to hold the pots and then fill the pool with water!
And it worked perfectly!
I've used this method now for many years and I've been 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 on smaller trips.
When we've been gone for a week in hot summer I will ask someone to come and water the bigger pots that don't fit and refill the pool at the 3-4 day mark.
The water does evaporate on 80 and 90 degree days and will need to be refilled. But if the weather will be cooler, you may not need anyone to stop by.
How to Use a Kiddie Pool for Vacation Watering
Add The Planted Containers
- 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.
Add The Water
Then it's just a matter of filling the pool to the top with water.
That's a lot easier than trying to find someone to water, isn't it?
How long does this tip 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.
If that happens, I trim them up if needed and they perk back up in about a week. In my book that's still better than losing the plant to not enough water.
A 3 day weekend trip is just about the perfect amount of time - 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.