Mother Earth Living

How to Have Your Houseplants Water Themselves When You’re Away

I was recently asked what I do with my 20+ indoor plants when I go on annual leave. Since most of them are from the tropical type and require constant moisture, long periods without water can be an issue.  When I come back from holidays, how heart-breaking it is to see several casualties in my plant gang! Brown leaves, sometimes dead plants, the fragile specimens being impacted first. Since then, I’ve put together a list of tricks and tips to ensure that all plants will be alive when I come back home. Follow the guide!

Smart Plant Selection

Pick robust plants, which can survive longer without water. Plants with thin leaves are more fragile and their tolerance to long periods of drought is low. Choose cacti, succulents, pothos (Epipremnum aureum), rubber plant, Monstera deliciosa, anddumb cane, among other species, for their resilience towards dry soil or dry periods.

How to Water Your Plants

Photo courtesy InvincibleHousePlants.com

1. Gather all your indoor plants in the same room. Plants, like humans, are stronger when they are together, because they can “share” resources, which in our case is humidity. Plants release excess humidity from their leaves which then can be captured by neighboring plants. Humidity recycling!

2. To do this, place a bucket or large bowl filled with water in the center of the room.

3. Group your plants around it, the tropical type first. Place them as close as possible but the leaves should not touch.


Photo courtesy InvincibleHousePlants.com

4. Fill a tray or the plant’s saucer with pebbles and top with water. Then place your plants on top. Direct contact between soil and water is to be avoided because this will create root rot and drown the plant.


Photo courtesy InvincibleHousePlants.com

5. Useful trick: you can make use of garden twine to connect a water-reservoir to the plants’ soil. The water will be absorbed by the soil over time by an effect called the capillary effect.

6. Water before you go, but don’t water more than usual or you risk drowning the plants.

If you read my blog you are already aware that I’m a big fan of self-watering pots, and for a reason, they are SO helpful! I recommend using them for specimens which require a weekly watering and prefer moist soil, such as golden pothos, satin pothos, Calathea or Maranta.

  • Published on Nov 15, 2018
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