How to Self-Water Plants When on Vacation

So….you’re headed out of town, & don’t exactly trust your neighbors to water your plants while you’re gone??!  HA!  There’s such a simple thing you can do, whether you need to water indoor or outdoor plants ~ & it will take you just a few minutes to set up before you leave.  While most of my outdoor plants are on irrigation, there are a few new ones that aren’t, & I use this technique for them…whether I’m gone for a few days, or as much as 10.  Let’s find out “How to Self-Water Plants When on Vacation!”

Terra Cotta Spike, How to Self-Water Plants When on Vacation, Girl Who Gardens

The answer to your vacation plant woes is gone: terra cotta self-watering spikes!

How to Self-Water Plants When on Vacation

  • BUY SELF-WATERING TERRA COTTA DRIP SPIKES: You fill the spike with water, & then the water slowly releases out the bottom, as needed.  I get mine from Amazon & have them in nearly all my potted plants, as a “back-up.”  They’ve worked very well for me, for both indoor & outdoor plants.  For outdoor plants in direct sun, you may need to use more than one spike ~ to make sure they’ll get enough water while you’re gone. 

**One of the best things about these terra cotta spikes is, they’ll ensure that your plant isn’t overwatered. Sometimes, when friends or neighbors help out with watering plants ~ they actually water them TOO much, which can be a bad thing. And leaving them in standing water can cause root rot, which may even kill vulnerable plants. The spikes are a great solution: allowing a slow drip, which is a similar concept to drip irrigation.

How to Self-Water Plants When on Vacation, Why are My Planted Hydrangeas Wilting? Girl Who Gardens

Hydrangeas LOVE moist soil: so I put MULTIPLE drip spikes in mine ~ especially when I’m out of town. This ensures that they’ll be alive when you get back!

  • IF IT’S A POTTED PLANT, MOVE TO SHADE OR INSIDE: If you’ve got a plant (not on irrigation) in a pot outside, & will be gone for 10 days to 2 weeks: it might be easier to just move it to a shady spot…or even inside to your bathtub!  That way you can give it a good, deep water before you leave, put in a terra cotta spike& the plant will use less water, as it’s protected from the sun.
  • CONSIDER USING A SELF-WATERING WINDOW BOX:  You’ll need to set this up before you leave, & it works best if you’ve got several annuals to keep watered while you’re gone, or thirsty plants…like hydrangeas. It’s also a great option if you’re gone for longer than a week ~ in addition to the self-watering window box, you can also put in terra cotta spikes to keep your plants even more watered while you’re gone.

How to Self-Water Plants When on Vacation, How to Prevent Planted Hydrangeas from Wilting, Girl Who Gardens

These blue hydrangeas are in a self-watering window box, & mainly in the shade ~ which means they can go several days without watering. Adding spikes gives them additional moisture.

Extra Tip: For a really thirsty plant, or if you’ll be gone for two weeks ~ fill a wine bottle (or large Perrier bottle) with water, then dump it upside down INTO the terra cotta spike. Now, even more water will slowly trickle out to your plant while you’re gone….

Terracotta Watering Spikes

Self-Watering Window Box

Glass Watering Spikes

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