Potted green plants grow under sunlight in a greenhouse filled with lush vegetation and tall, intertwining vines against the backdrop of a glass structure.

Vacation Plant Care

Two different varieties of house plants soak in the sun from a bright windowsill

Keeping Plants Alive While on Vacation

Taking a vacation away from home gives you a much-needed break, whether for a few days or several weeks. However, plant owners who want to ensure the health and vitality of their houseplants while they are away may have concerns about leaving for long stretches. Fortunately, with some planning and clever tips, you can enjoy your vacation knowing that your leafy friends will thrive in your absence. Here are various strategies for keeping indoor plants alive and healthy while away.

Hire a Plant Sitter

If you want to ensure the highest level of care for your plants, consider asking a friend to stop by or hiring a plant sitter to keep indoor plants alive. They can water the plants while you're away, adjust lighting and temperature, and provide any additional care instructions you may have. This level of care gives you peace of mind, knowing that your plants are in capable hands and will be well cared for during your vacation. You also won't have to move anything or install watering systems, saving you the work.

Tips for Keeping Houseplants Alive

Before you leave for your vacation, consider these smart tips to create a favorable environment for your plants.

  1. Move your indoor plants away from bright light sources. The idea is to slow growth in your absence, which is spurred by the amount of light they receive. If plants typically sit in a sunny spot, move them away from the window and into the center of a space. You can likely leave them in their usual place if they don't receive abundant light. An alternative is to use fabric or curtains to provide shade.
  2. Avoid fertilizing your plants prior to your trip, up to weeks before departure. Doing so will help prevent growth during your absence and reduce the risk of nutrient burn or imbalances. If you don't already use fertilizer, this is a step you can skip before your vacation.
  3. Before leaving, inspect your plants for dead or dying leaves and prune them to keep them healthy. You can also trim any blooming flowers or buds to reduce sunlight and water needs, as active blooms take in more nourishment than other parts of the plant.

Keeping Peace Lilies, Snake Plants, and Pothos Plants Alive While on Vacation

Different plants have varying needs and requirements, so it's essential to consider specific care tips when keeping indoor plants alive.

  1. Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum) are known for their beautiful white flowers and lush green foliage. They prefer consistently moist soil, so water them thoroughly before your departure and ensure they stay hydrated. Store them in a bathroom in filtered sunlight with other humidity-loving plants while you're away.
  2. Snake Plants (Sansevieria) are popular for their air-purifying properties. They also are drought-tolerant and can withstand long periods without water. Before leaving, allow the soil to dry out partially, and then water them until the soil is moistened. Leave them in the middle of the room where they can receive some natural light while you are on vacation.
  3. Pothos Plants (Epipremnum aureum) are renowned for their resilience and trailing vines. Water them thoroughly before you go, allowing excess water to drain away. Find a location where they can receive ample filtered sunlight. Before your departure, trim any excessively long vines to prevent them from tangling or touching the floor.
Two different varieties of house plants soak in the sun from a bright windowsill

How to Water Plants While Away

Finding a reliable method to provide water to your plants while away is essential in keeping houseplants alive. There are several options depending on your leafy friends' specific needs.

  1. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, on the soil surface of your potted plants. Mulch acts as a natural moisture retainer, preventing the soil from drying out quickly. You can also use wood chips, moistened newspaper, or lava rocks instead of mulch.
  2. Place your houseplants on trays filled with small rocks. Add water to the tray, ensuring the fluid level does not rise to the bottom of the pot. The stones will trap humidity as the water evaporates, providing moisture and keeping indoor plants alive but preventing root rot.
  3. If you have a bathroom with a reasonable level of natural light, consider grouping your more water-demanding plants in this area. Bathrooms tend to have higher humidity levels, which can help plants maintain moisture. Smaller spaces may be ideal as they will hold in moisture more easily.
  4. Set up a self-watering system using specialized devices or simple DIY techniques such as capillary wicks - wicks that sit in water on one end and reach soil on the other. Or you can install an upside-down side bottle with small holes in the cap that gives plants a slow but steady trickle of fluid. These systems can provide a continuous water supply to your plants, ensuring they receive the necessary hydration throughout your absence.

Bring some green into your home now!

Going on vacation doesn't have to mean sacrificing the well-being of your beloved houseplants. By implementing the savvy tips mentioned above and considering options such as self-watering systems or hiring a plant sitter, you can ensure that your plants remain healthy and vibrant in your absence.