How to Keep Your Plants Alive While Traveling

Jetting off on a fabulous vacation soon? So exciting! You’ve booked your hotel, found the best restaurants, and packed your cutest outfits. There’s just one thing you might be forgetting–your plants! There’s nothing worse than coming home refreshed from a vacation to find your plants brown and drooping. Avoid that sad mess by following these tips on how to keep your plants alive while traveling!

7 Tips to Keep Your Plants Alive While Travelling

Tips on How to Keep Your Plants Alive While Traveling

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1. If You’re Gone Less Than a Week, Just Give Your Plants a Good Water Before You Leave

Most houseplants only need to be watered once a week — and many can go even longer. If you’re going to be gone during their normal watering day, then just water them before you leave. 

Succulents, ZZ plants, and snake plants don’t need as much water even when you’re there, so you won’t have to worry about them.

See More: 11 Best Plants for Frequent Travelers

water plants to Keep Your Plants Alive While Traveling

If you have tropical plants like ferns, lilies, or elephant ears that love a lot of water, make sure to give them a heavy water before you go! To retain even more moisture, wet some newspaper and put it down around your plant after you water. 

2. Set up a Self-Watering System

If you’re going to be away for longer than a week or you have a lot of tropical plants, you can set up a self-watering system. That way your plants can keep hydrated without you! There are a few different options for self-watering systems:

Usually glass and featured in some iconic 2000s infomercials, you fill self-watering globes with water before you leave and then stick the long stem deep into your pot. Water will release as the soil dries.

Self-Watering Planters
If you travel a lot, it could be worth it to invest in some self-watering planters. They have a reservoir at the bottom that you can fill up before you leave. The roots will be able to access that collected water as it needs.

You can recycle your plastic bottles and save money by using clean bottles as self-watering globes! Just drill or poke a few holes near the top, fill with water, then turn it upside down quickly and push it into the soil a few inches. If you have a larger pot, you can also use old wine bottles!

Tubs of Water + Cotton Wick
You can mimic self-watering planters temporarily while you travel with large containers of water and a cotton wick. Using your bathtub, kitchen sink, or a shallow plastic storage bin, as a water source, place one end of the rope in the container of water, making sure it reaches the bottom. Then push the other end a few inches into the soil close to the plant without disturbing the roots. The roots will pull water from the wick as they need–magic!

Plastic Bag Greenhouse
If you have smaller, tropical plants that love humidity, you can use a plastic bag and some stakes to make a personal greenhouse for them. This makes a really moist environment and all of the evaporating water will drip back down onto your plant. Simply stick some stakes into the soil so they’re taller than your plant. Then place a plastic bag over the plant and secure it to the pot with tape or by tying it tightly. Poke a few holes in the top for air and then you’re good to go! Just keep out of direct sunlight!

3. Move Outdoor Plants Inside in the Winter or Summer

The hot summer sun can dry out plants in a second, while arctic temps in the winter can freeze your plant babies. Bring them inside for a more moderate setting. They might drop a few leaves because of less sunlight indoors, but they’ll be fine!

Tips on keeping plants alive while traveling on Vacation

If you have larger outdoor plants that you don’t want to bring inside, just group them together outside for easier watering and less evaporation that dries out the soil.

4. Move Plants Into Indirect Sunlight Near a Window

You want to make sure your plants are getting enough sunlight while you’re gone. Move them near a window, so they can soak up the rays just like you’re hopefully doing! However, don’t place them right in front of your sunniest windows. They’ll be in direct sunlight for too long, which can kill them or dry them up too much. If you only have super direct sunlight in your windows, shutting your shades or sheer curtains can make it more tolerable.

Light issue - Keep Your Plants Alive While Traveling

Research your plants beforehand to know how much sunlight they need in general. Place them in groups by the window according to how much they need. 

If you can’t find a spot in your house with ample indirect sunlight, consider using a grow light. It’ll give the perfect amount of light throughout the day. You can even find ones with automatic shut-offs set to timers, so it’s totally self-sufficient! 

5. Keep Your Indoor Temperature Moderate

The temperature of your house also matters for your plants’ health. It may be tempting to totally turn off your heat or AC while you’re gone to save some money. In the winter and summer, though, it’s best for your plants to be a bit more moderate. 

Most houseplants do best in temperatures between 65 and 75˚F. Make sure to keep plants away from any vents, so they get a more moderate, consistent temp. Feel free to adjust your AC or heat to save some money, but don’t turn it off completely!

6. If All Else Fails, Ask a Friend or Hire a Plant Sitter

If you’re going to be gone for a while or have really sensitive plants, it’s probably a good idea to call in some backup! Ask a friend who lives nearby or hire a local plant/house sitter to check in on your plants however frequently you need them to. If you have a dog sitter watching your pup, you can also just ask them to water your plants according to your schedule.

Plant sitter - Keep Your Plants Alive While Traveling

If you do have someone coming to water your plants, make it easy on them by:

    • Grouping all of your plants together, so they don’t accidentally miss one
    • Keeping your watering can, spray bottles, and any plant food you use right next to your plants
    • Writing out a schedule with what days the plants should be watered, which ones need to be sprayed or fed, or anything else they should keep in mind
    • Organizing them by how frequently they should be watered with labels, so it’s easy to follow the schedule 

7. Don’t Fret If You Come Back to Droopy Looking Plants

Indoor house plants might just be the most dramatic living things in the world. The slightest change in routine or dryness in their soil can send some into a downward spiral quickly. Luckily, though, they’re very quick to revive once you water them.

Keep Your Houseplants Alive While Traveling

So if you come back to the saddest plants ever, just give them some water and some light. They should perk up in no time!

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