This year I've spent a lot more time outdoors in the garden. One of my favorite ways to garden is in flower pots. But its always disappointing when you go away on vacation and arrive home a week later to flower pots full of dead plants. I've come up with a few steps that you can take to ensure that, if you garden in flower pots, they stay healthy and grow while you are away.
One of the quickest ways to keep you flower pots watered while on vacation is to move them under your sprinkler system so that your system waters them each time it goes on. If you have a sprinkler system installed already this is an easy solution. Take note of where you could place pots and keep them off of you lawn if possible to avoid killing your grass. I've placed them up in flower beds in the past which worked well.
The next technique to try is a hose system that has little holes down the hose. When the water is turned on, the holes in the hose send out a heavy mist and keep everything in your gardens healthy. You can put these hoses on a timer as well and wind them over top of a cluster of pots to keep them watered.
My most favorite way of keeping my pots watered while I'm away however, is The Plant Nanny! They are hollow ceramic stakes that have an attachment on the top. To use them, you screw on a 1 or 2 liter soda bottle full of water to the top of the Plant Nanny. Push the stake side deep into the soil of the potted plant and the water is slowly released through the ceramic. The Plant Nanny keeps the soil in the flower pot moist and your plants alive and well. If you'd like something a little more fancy, purchase Plant Nannies that are made for attaching wine bottle to. See below in Resources for websites for both styles.
The next step is great for a weekend away. If you are going to be gone only a short time, consider filling an empty soda bottle with water and screwing it's cap back on. Pierce a small hole somewhere at the top of the bottle. With cap side down, push the top of the bottle into the potting soil, just like you would have with a Plant Nanny. This will allow water to slowly drip into the soil and also keep the potted plant watered. I've watered my potted plants just before I've left the house, put one of these bottles in and it worked perfectly for a long weekend getaway!
There is nothing worse then spending time and money on beautifully potted flowers, going off to enjoy a vacation, and returning to potted plants browned and dead. A little planning can prevent money and time burning up in the sun!