How to Keep Flowers Alive While on Vacation


Working hard in your garden gives you a beautiful home and great satisfaction. Beautiful blooming pots, trailing vines, healthy shrubs and trees offer a testament to your loving care. Every once in awhile, even the most avid gardener needs a vacation. Preparing for a trip requires a plan for your outdoor flowers. Whether you choose to have a plant sitter visit your gardens every day or set up a timer to water your plants, you must resolve this issue. A little extra effort will help you return to healthy plants after your trip. You can keep your flowers alive while on vacation.

Step 1

Pinch back dead or dying flowers on annuals, perennials and container plantings. Pinching back involves removing longer stems to encourage bushier growth and increased flowering. The concept of "pinching back" comes from the use of your very own two fingers to prune the plant. Pinch the stem between your pointer and thumb. Press your thumbnail into the plant stem to work it free.

Step 2

Remove old blooms from all flowering containers and garden plants. Deadheading requires pulling off the spent flower head, hence the name. Use pruning clippers or simply pinch off dead blooms to redirect energy away from seed production. You want your plant focusing on creating new foliage while you're on vacation.

Step 3

Add mulch to your gardens to encourage water retention and even ground temperatures. If you've delayed mulching, make sure to mulch before leaving. During the warmest months of the summer, mulch performs an invaluable service holding moisture around plant roots.

Step 4

Ask a neighbor or house-sitter to check on your flowers. Schedule this time for when the soaker hose runs so this person can check the status and water supply.

Step 5

Move container plants and pots into the shade right before leaving. A week in the shade won't harm a full-sun plant. This move will conserve water and protect the plant from lack of attention if your chosen garden helper doesn't perform his or her duty.

Step 6

Place a children's wading pool with an inch of water in it in the shade and preferably under cover to prevent the pool from filling up with unexpected rain. Use gravel or upended pie pans under each plant to prevent drowning of the plant roots while encouraging water absorption through the bottom of the pot. Check the bottom of each pot for drainage holes and place flowerpots into the pool.

Step 7

Move all your plants into the garage to slow growth and evaporation of water.

Step 8

Connect a water timer to a soaker hose on the outdoor spigot. Wind the hose throughout your flowerbeds. Set the timer to the preferred watering time and turn on the faucet. This presents a slight risk because the outdoor water supply remains on continually. If you're lucky enough to have a sprinkler system, position flower pots near the sprinklers for regular watering during your absence.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning clippers
  • Mulch
  • Children's wading pool
  • Soaker hose
  • Timer
  • Willing helper


  • University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
  • University of Illinois Extension
Keywords: keeping flowers alive, watering plants on vacation, vacation plant care

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with over three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.