Your plants can’t take a vacation with you. How to water plants while on vacation is one of the toughest questions home gardeners face. For larger gardens, some gardeners may rely on sprinklers or drip irrigation with a hose. But hundreds of yards of drip irrigation hose and multiple timers can be expensive. For the budget gardener, there are a few economical ideas that will water your plants just as well.
Wicking Container Plants
Move all containerized plants into a shady location, such as beneath a tree or on the north side of a home, and group them together so that their rims touch one another. This will help to minimize the amount of moisture lost from the soil of the containers.
Fill a bucket with water. Place the bucket on a stool above the potted plants. Place the end of a piece of cotton wick, such as the kind you use for candle making, into the bucket.
Poke a hole into the root ball and soil of the plant using a knitting needle. Insert the other end of the wick into the soil. The water from the bucket will absorb into the wick and travel into the soil.
Moisture Tent For Container Plants
Move all container plants to a shady location. Group them together to minimize moisture loss due to evaporation.
Water each container plant thoroughly so the soil feels as damp as a wrung-out sponge.
Cover each container with a plastic freezer bag or dry cleaning bag to create a tent. The bag will help to hold in moisture and conserve water by creating a humid environment.
Remove the plastic tent from around the plants as soon as you return home. The moisture tent is intended for short-term use.
Wash out a large plastic container, such as a milk carton or 2 liter soda bottle. For small container plants you can use a water bottle. For large garden plants, use larger bottles.
Poke small holes into the bottom of the container with a pin or a thumb tack.
Place the bottle next to the plant near its roots. Slightly bury the bottom of the bottle in the soil. Take care not to damage the roots.
Fill the container with water. As the water drips from the bottle, it will absorb into the soil and water the plants.