General gardening topics

How to keep plants watered while on holiday

Last updated on April 6th, 2022

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Everyone goes on holiday now and again but the problem is, how do you keep your plants watered while you are away?

If you are away for a fortnight for your summer holidays and you don’t want to return to garden beds and hanging baskets that look like straw, there are a few things you can do to help keep your plants watered.

We always recommend asking a neighbour or family friend to water your plants while you are away but below we go over a few options to make it easier for them and provide some tips if this is not possible.

Before you set off on your holidays

Remove weeds and deadhead flowers to conserve energy

If you have incredibly large weeds and you simply can't pull them out of the ground you can always cut off as much as you can. Deadheading will at least give you a few weeks of weed-free garden time but you will need to go back and keep pruning time and time again.

The first thing you should do for any plant is to deadhead. Remove any weeds, remove any spent flowers, and cut back your perennials once they have completed their flowering cycle. If you have any annuals planted in your borders or containers, deadhead them and remove any emerging flowers to help your plant conserve energy until you get back from your holiday. You might find that upon your return you have a fresh array of flowers. Make sure to water your containers and your flowers well prior to your departure.

Place containers and baskets together in a shady area of your garden

For your containers and baskets make sure to water them and give them some food before you leave. If you have pots on your patio you should group them all together in a shaded, sheltered area before you go once you have watered them. Clustering them together will help reduce evaporation and keep them moist for longer.

Tangentially you can place saucers or trays underneath your pots if they don’t already have them and fill those to the brim with water before you depart. You can do the same with hanging baskets by sitting them in buckets or plant pots to avoid damaging the trailing plants.

Mow your lawn but leave grass clippings on the lawn

If you have a lawn make sure that you mow it before you leave but then place all of the clippings on top of the lawn. This will be much like a water-conserving blanket in that it will help your lawn conserve moisture in your absence. We recommend doing this now and again even if you’re not going on holiday because it helps put nutrients back into the lawn.

Other options

Automatic watering systems

Automatic water system installation

There are more advanced options you can employ before you go on holiday such as setting up an automatic watering system. These systems can be timed to go on or off as you see fit. Some of the newest designs allow you to even control the operation from your smartphone while you are on holiday, meaning you can turn things on or off depending on the weather back home. 

You can get different kinds of watering stems from soaker hoses that slowly release water over garden beds to drip systems that can be placed in containers and even baskets.

No products found.

HOZELOCK - Universal Irrigation Kit : Ideal for Watering Borders, Flowerbeds and Vegetable Gardens, Easydrip Universal Drippers/sprinklers, Supplied with 15m of Ø 13mm Hose [7023 0000]
  • Complete watering kit providing a great solution to watering borders, hedges and vegetable gardens for an area up to 10m²
  • Easy to Install in just 15 minutes, due to ‘Push Fit’ design
  • Combine with any water controller for Automatic Watering
  • Modular in design so kits can be easily connected together to make a larger system
  • Delivers more controlled watering directly to the roots reducing water wastage through evaporation or inaccurate watering

Using capillary matting under containers

Of course, you don’t need an advanced watering system to still have some form of long-term watering while on holiday. You can make your own by putting a bucket of water on a series of bricks and placing all of your pots around it at a slightly lower level than the bucket. Using capillary matting from a garden centre you can place one end into the bucket and then another trained directly to your plants and this will wick the moisture from the bucket directly down into your containers.

Nutley's 0.6m Aquamat Capillary Matting Multi Layered Reversible Green and White Indoor/Outdoor (5m x 0.6m)
  • HIGH GRADE: Aquamat is a high-grade, multi-layered capillary matting used by commercial growers which has been specially designed to minimise dry spots and increase water rise.
  • WATER ABSORBENCY: Aquamat has a water absorbency of 3.2 litres per square metre, and a capillary rise of up to 7cm. With even water spread and minimal dry spots, each plant will have a constant and even supply of water.
  • HOW TO USE: To use, simply place the matting at the base of a garden tray. Then position the plant pot or seed tray on top and water the matting until it is fully soaked. The plants will then absorb the water through the drainage holes at the base of your containers as they need it.
  • TECHNICAL INFO: Made from finely spaced layers, each acting as a reservoir and giving a constant and even spread of water. Works even on gently sloping or uneven benching. Roots will not have to penetrate the fabric to find water, so will not be damaged when the plant pot is lifted.
  • LONG TERM USAGE: Easily cleaned and reversible, giving service for more than one season. Can be sterilised by steam cleaning and will not react to most preparatory brands of algicides.

While on Holiday

While you are on holiday ask a friendly neighbour, friend, or family member that lives nearby to check your garden while you are gone. This level of maintenance doesn’t have to be anything too severe so most people wouldn’t say no to a short list of tasks. When they come by, they should water the plants, continue the deadheading process if they have time, and harvest any ripening fruits or vegetables, letting them take some for themselves. Let that be payment too, they can keep whatever fruits or vegetables they harvest in your absence.

If you have hanging baskets and you’re leaving in the summer your neighbours or friends will have to water them at least twice a day. However, if you don’t have this option you can always remove the basket from its hanging position and sink it into a depression you have dug in your soil, thoroughly soaking the soil beforehand so that your plant is able to remain wet and shaded while you are gone.

Related articles

Top tips for when to water plants for the best success

When to water plants in winter

The best water butts for collecting water

The best water timers for making automatic watering easier

Last update on 2024-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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