How To Take Care Of Houseplants While On Vacation

Give your plants a nice shower before you leave on vacation. To prevent fungus, I bring all of my plants to the sink or shower during the day and never at night. I soak them until the water runs out of the drainage holes, and then I repeat the process for good measure (especially if the soil was super dry to begin with). I let the pots drain after completely soaking the soil, clean the leaves, and then put the plants back onto their saucers or drip trays. They receive all the water they require from the shower for a week or two, so when I return from the beach, they are still bouncy and content.

I simply water huge plants that are difficult to move regularly until the water drains out the bottom. In order to keep moisture off the foliage, look for a watering can with a long, narrow spout and a large body (so you make less trips to the sink).

How can houseplants be kept alive while you’re away?

We’re giving our best advice for keeping your houseplants happy and healthy while you’re away, whether it’s a long weekend at the beach or a month abroad.

Preparing your plants just takes a short amount of time, freeing you up to concentrate on other important things like a nice book and an effective sunscreen.

Tips to Keep Plants Alive While You’re Away

1. Modify the lighting and climate

Your plant will eventually become more thirsty the more sunlight it receives. This is due to a number of factors, but the main one is that plants use the most water when they transpire, a process whose rate depends on and rises with the quantity of sunshine the plant receives.

Therefore, your plant will require more water the more natural light it receives. You can move your plants a little bit further away from their source of natural light to prevent them from wilting while you’re away due to a lack of water. Place them in the center of the room to prevent them from drying out as quickly as normal from the heat and light from the windows. You can relocate your plants back to their original location when you get home. Draw a sheer drape over the window as an alternative if you don’t want to move the plants.

You can choose to leave your plants in their current location if they weren’t getting enough light to begin with because of blocked windows or the time of year. Asking yourself how frequently you need to water a plant can help you decide whether to move it if you’ll be gone for an extended amount of time. If you need to water it once a week, for example. However, if it happens every other week, there might be no need to move them.

Additionally, never leave a heating or cooling system on or close to a houseplant, whether you’re at home or away. A/Cs and heaters, while a luxury for people, tend to deprive your interior environment of the humidity that most tropical plants require.

2. Preserve moisture

Watering your plants properly before leaving is sufficient if you’re only going to be gone for a week or less. Make sure you only water plants in potting soil that is dry or nearly dry. In order to keep the potting soil moist without letting your plants sit in a saucer of water, which could attract bugs or cause root rot, let any excess water drain from your potted plant before you leave the house.

Keep in mind that only plants that require weekly or more of watering require this. Succulents and cacti are examples of indoor plants that may survive without water for a week or two. Additionally, since plant development slows and some plants fall dormant in the winter, you can completely forgo watering them.

There are a few strategies to prepare your plants if you expect to be gone for longer than a week. Depending on the length of your trip, the type of plant, and the season, try one or more of the suggestions listed below.

Keep in mind: How frequently do I typically water this plant at this time of year? You don’t want to overwater your plants before you leave because you won’t be home to watch over them!

1. To assist hold moisture before or after giving dry soil a good soak, sprinkle lava rocks, mulch, or wood chips on top of the soil surrounding your plant. Newspaper that is damp will also work. Longer soil moisture retention will result from this.

2. To create a temporary greenhouse, thoroughly water your plant, and then cover with a clear plastic bag that hangs just below the lip of the planter. To ensure that there is enough airflow because plants also require oxygen, make sure to cut a few gaps in the plastic. Hold the bag up and away from the vegetation using sticks (or old chopsticks). Make sure that the bag is not in contact with any vegetation.

3. Place small rocks down the bottom of a shallow tray and add water to the tray, just below the top of the rocks. Placing your planter atop the rocks The planter’s base should be directly above the idle water rather than touching or resting directly in it. The levels of humidity and moisture will rise as a result, but neither overwatering nor root rot should result.

4. Move your humidity-loving plants, such as ferns and air plants, to your bathroom or another small room and arrange them in a group there (assuming you have a window that gets some natural light). Your plants will have an easier time maintaining humidity and moisture in a smaller space.

5. Construct a self-watering system yourself using empty bottles or capillary wicks:

Choose the size of the water container based on how long you’ll be away before placing one end of the capillary wick in a basin of water and the other end in the potting soil of your plant. While you’re away, your plant will get the water it requires through the wick. (Our staff prefers this approach for prolonged absences from our plants.)

By adding water and puncturing the bottle top, you can recycle used plastic or glass bottles. Ensure that the hole is small enough to permit a gradual release of water over time. Turn the filled bottle upside down and insert the perforated bottle top all the way into the potting soil of your plant.

6. Speak with a friend. If a friend is willing to water your houseplants for you while you’re away for a long time (more than a month), please accept their offer! Give your friend written directions that are simple to follow, or guide them through your daily care routine a week or two in advance. If you want them to send you photo updates while you’re away, we won’t pass judgment. Just be sure to bring them something as a memento (or send them a new plant as a thank you when you return.)

3. Omit using fertilizer

If you fertilize your indoor plants sometimes, wait to fertilize them after your trip until you get back. In the weeks leading up to your trip, avoid fertilizing your plants. While you’re away, you want your plants to grow as slowly as possible to help them preserve water and energy.

4. Execute some little trimming

You can also cut off any buds or flowers since they typically need more frequent waterings to keep healthy in addition to any dead, decaying, or unappealing foliage.

Pro tip: Tropical plants are the main beneficiaries of the aforementioned tips, especially the techniques for “watering” while away. Drought-tolerant plants, such as some succulent kinds, ZZ plants, or snake plants, can survive for almost a month without water, especially if they are placed out of direct sunlight. Succulent plants are the perfect houseplant for frequent travelers.

Give yourself a big pat on the back when you come home to happy and healthy houseplants, no matter what precautions you take. They also missed you.

How should I care for my houseplants while I’m away?

Perhaps you have hired a cabin for some R&R time away from the same four walls or you’re going to see family. Happy travels! But when you leave town, don’t forget about your plant babies! You must prepare in advance whether you have a single houseplant or an abundance of flowers, veggies, and herbs on your balcony or patio.

If you can’t get a friend to watch them for you, water them well before you go (water should drain out of the pot’s drain holes), then use our advice to make sure everyone is still alive and well when you get back.

How should I care for my indoor plants for two weeks?

It would be excellent if you have a plant-savvy friend who could visit you once or twice a week while you are away in exchange for you doing the same for them. If you do a little advance planning, even a cautious, non-plant-savvy person will function in an emergency. Keep track of the amount and frequency of watering each plant for a few weeks prior to departure, and then give detailed instructions: Every weekend, give this plant half a cup of water.

Assist your friend by placing plants that require similar amounts of water together on a water-resistant surface away from the sun. In the summer, keep in mind that your home may warm up while you are gone, so modify the care instructions to take faster water use into consideration.


Put your indoor plants in a small bath or sink and allow them to absorb the liquid for 10 minutes.

Then, re-pot them so that your valued plants don’t spend a lot of time sitting in still water.

How can I preserve plants for two months?

With a piece of string or yarn in the water and the other end wrapped around the soil of the plant, place gallon jugs or jars of water (size depends on how long you anticipate being away) alongside your plant. While you are away, the water will wick from the jug to the plant, keeping the soil moist.

Before you go, make sure that it is operational. Sometimes the twine or material you use will only wick partially; in this case, you may need to switch to a different kind of material (make sure it has natural fibers), or you may need to move the jar so that it is higher than the plant and has a shorter wick.

How long do indoor plants need to be watered?

Are you arranging a trip but will have to leave your plants at home? Do you frequently neglect to water your plants for a few days? If so, do you need to know how long they can go without water?

Plants can typically go up to seven days without water. How long your plants can survive without water, however, may depend on the type and maturity of your plants. Succulents and cacti can last up to three months without water, while fully developed tropical houseplants can go two to three weeks without it.

Can you take houseplants on the road?

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States, you can transport plants on airplanes. The TSA permits both carry-on and checked luggage to contain plants. However, you should be aware that the on-duty TSA personnel have the authority to refuse anything and will decide what you can bring through security.

When traveling abroad or to Hawaii, it is more difficult to bring plants on a plane. Make sure to do your study well in advance to determine whether any licenses are necessary and to learn whether any plants need to be quarantined or banned. If you want further details, get in touch with the nation’s agriculture department.

How do snowbirds care for their indoor plants?

If you’re intending to spend the winter somewhere other than Iowa, such as the south or the west, I wrote about how to take care of your indoor plants last year.

This strategy will maintain your plants alive and healthy even if you are just gone for two or three weeks, so you won’t need a plant sitter.

It would be lovely if I could claim ownership of this concept, but I can’t. This strategy was developed by Dan Fellows and his wife Marie. It worked for me too when I tried it.

Dan’s approach is this. A few days before they depart, he gathers all of the house’s plants, gives them plenty of water, and wraps them in plastic.

This is the perfect place to put all those shopping plastic bags that, despite your best efforts to use cloth bags, always seem to follow you home.

Water every plant deeply, allowing it to drain well. Then take out the clear, dark, and white bags that are big enough to completely enclose the plant.

Dan adds that the bag must be well closed in order for no air or moisture to escape. No sunny window is necessary, but keep them away from the closet.

So that’s it. All the plants will be vibrant and lovely when they return in the spring. When I tried it last year over a brief absence of a few weeks, it was successful for me as well.

The bags resemble a little greenhouse or terrarium. The water vapor that the plants release from the soil is subsequently recycled.

The African violet that I planted in the glass terrarium last year is still alive and is currently in its blooming stage. It hasn’t received any water since I planted it, so it must be the ideal indoor plant. Recognize it! I occasionally remove the top and stick my fingers in the ground; they always come out wet.

Even when we make an effort to remember the cloth bags when we shop, we all end up with those plastic bags. Put them to use once more by wrapping your plants in cloth, tying them securely, and setting them aside until you return—even if that isn’t until spring.

NOTE: Check your evergreens and brush off as much snow as you can to prevent the boughs from breaking if we receive a heavy, wet snowfall.