How to Water Plants When Away on Vacation: 5 Effective Ways

Going on vacation doesn’t have to mean neglecting your garden. With a bit of preparation, you can ensure your plants stay hydrated and healthy in your absence. Here are five creative and effective ways to water your garden while you’re away, ensuring you return to a thriving, vibrant garden.

self watering plants system

1. Self-Watering Systems

Materials Needed:

  • Water bottles or a reservoir
  • Capillary matting or cotton rope
  • Tools for making holes (for water bottles)

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Bottle Drip System: Punch small holes in the cap of a water bottle, fill it with water, and invert it into the soil near the plant’s roots. The water will slowly drip, providing consistent moisture.
  2. Wicking System: Place a large container of water higher than your plants. Use capillary matting or cotton rope, with one end in the container and the other buried in the soil. Water travels down the rope, keeping the soil moist.

2. Mulching

Materials Needed:

  • Organic mulch (straw, bark chips, or leaves)


  1. Pre-Water Your Garden: Before leaving, water your garden thoroughly to saturate the soil.
  2. Apply Mulch: Cover the soil around your plants with a 2-3 inch layer of mulch. This helps retain moisture, reduce evaporation, and keep soil temperature consistent.

3. Use of Ollas


Materials Needed:

  • Ollas (unglazed terracotta pots)


  1. Bury Ollas: Bury the ollas near your plants, leaving the neck exposed.
  2. Fill With Water: Fill each olla with water. The porous terracotta will allow water to seep out slowly, directly hydrating the roots.

4. DIY Drip Irrigation System

diy drip irrigation system in the garden

Materials Needed:

  • A large container or barrel
  • Irrigation hose or soaker hose
  • Timer (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Set Up Your Reservoir: Place a large water container above the level of your plants.
  2. Lay Out the Hose: Arrange the irrigation hose throughout your garden, ensuring it runs by each plant.
  3. Regulate Flow: Use a timer to control the flow, or manually adjust the container’s lid to release water slowly through the hose.

5. Ask for Help

While not a DIY method, enlisting a friend, neighbor, or professional plant sitter is a reliable way to ensure your garden is cared for. Provide clear instructions on watering needs and garden care.

Leaving your garden behind doesn’t have to be stressful. With these innovative watering solutions, you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about your plants’ health. From simple bottle drip systems to more sophisticated DIY drip irrigation, there’s a method to suit every gardener’s needs. Prepare your garden before you leave, and come back to a lush, flourishing space.

Inspired by this? Share the article with your friends!