How to Water Plants on Holiday


Whenever you decide to go out-of-town on holiday or vacation, you are naturally concerned about the care of your houseplants; i.e., they will need to be watered. If you are only going to be away for a day or two, giving them a good watering before you leave is usually sufficient. However, if you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, your houseplants could languish or even die without being watered. There are several methods by which your plants can receive water automatically, with the wick method being the method most commonly used and the most efficient.

Step 1

Use the pencil to poke a hole in the soil of your houseplant. Try to make the hole as deep as possible, preferably all the way to the bottom of the pot.

Step 2

Stick the wick all the way to the bottom of the hole. The wick can be one like those used for oil lamps or a quarter-inch piece of polyester rope. You can even use old cotton shoelaces or tights that have been wound up into the shape of a wick. Do make sure that the wick is at least twice as long as your pot is deep.

Step 3

Fill the container with water, position it next to your houseplant, and place the other end of the wick into the container. Your wick should be long enough to reach almost to the bottom of the container. The capillary action of the plant will gradually draw the water into the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use this method for plants that are in pots with no drainage holes. This wick system can also be used as a permanent means of watering; however, sometimes plants may receive too much water. If using this method over a long period of time, be sure to check the soil of the houseplant regularly to determine if it is being overwatered. If it is, remove the wick immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Wick
  • 4- to 5-gallon container


  • "The Complete Gardener;" John Brookes; 1994
  • "The Practical Guide to Container Gardening;" Susan Berry and Steve Bradley; 1995
Keywords: how to water plants on holiday, how to automatically water plants while on vacation, automatically watering houseplants, wick system of watering, how to water houseplants using the wick system

About this Author

Dena Bolton has written for local newspapers and magazines since 1980. She currently writes online for various sites, focusing on gardening. She has a BA in Political Science and German and graduate credits in Latin American Studies from East Tennessee State University. In addition, she is a TN Master Gardener.