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How to Water Your Plants on Vacation

Whether you’re revenge traveling all summer long, or just escaping the urban jungle for a week, figuring out what to do with your plants can be stressful.

So what’s the wanderlusting plant parent to do?

As someone who has visited 50 countries and been on over a thousand flights, I’m here to help you navigate your options!

Whether it’s an aloe vera, snake plant, fiddle leaf fig or monstera, we’ve listed a few plant watering options while you’re away.


Option 1: Call A Neighbor

If you’re friendly with your neighbors, this will seem like a great option. After all, they live nearby and it’s an easy favor. Just know that they will definitely discover your sizable Beanie Baby collection, and you will definitely feel obligated to return the favor which will linger over you forever, but what are neighbors for if not to borrow sugar and water plants?

The worst case scenario is they end up killing your plant babies and you can never make direct eye contact again, so one of you will obviously have to move.


Option 2: The Water Wick

This could work if you have wicking rope just randomly lying around the house and plenty of time to trial and error before your trip, because if you place water at the wrong height in relation to your plant, this entire system turns into a syphon and flows right through the wick, drowning your plant. Because, well, physics.

Otherwise you could weave a wick through the bottom of your plant and place it on top of another water reservoir. Admittedly we have done this in a pinch but it takes some serious Macguyvering for something quite temporary, and is somewhat unrealistic if you have more than 3 plants or any plants over 8” in your house.


Option 3: The Self-Watering Pot

This is a decent option if you’re traveling for less than a week. Any longer and you could be returning home to a sad plant. 

If your plant isn’t already in this kind of pot though, you will have to go buy a self-watering pot and repot your plant which will put it into temporary shock and a 65% of death. Not great plant parenting if you decide to do this the night before you go on vacation, so definitely budget at least a week before your departure!

You will also have to find self watering pots which fit your plant. Most options on the market are for smaller plants, and the larger options aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing or kind on the wallet.

Personally I find it unnerving to just leave my plants sitting in water that I can’t see or gauge when to refill, but maybe you have better spidey senses than me.


Option 4: Cowbell self-watering plant care kit 

Enter Cowbell! The Cowbell was invented for the plant parent with an active passport!

Not only will one 750mL Cowbell last over 2 weeks in a 5"-8” planter (in a well-watered plant), it will work in virtually any plant you already own in a soil-based potting mix. No repotting or advanced DIY skills necessary. The Cowbell also works with both indoor and outdoor plants. 

You can set it up in minutes. Just twist the watering spike onto the reservoir and anchor it into your plant close to the main trunk or root system. Fill it with water and wait 15 minutes with the lid off for the spike to saturate and connect with the surrounding soil and root system. Then top up with any depleted water and seal with the air-tight, pressure-sensitive lid.

It’s important to make sure the lid is secure because this is what creates a vacuum in the reservoir and allows your plant to draw water from the spike on demand. If the lid is loose, the vacuum pressure disappears and the spike will drip water out at a constant rate, ultimately depleting quickly and overwatering your plant. This is the reason why so many watering globes don’t last very long or don’t work, because the water reservoir is not vacuum-sealed.

It is recommended that you set up Cowbell at least 48 hours before your trip since the first time using Cowbell may cause it to drain faster if your plant has been chronically underwatered. But your Cowbell will last much longer on subsequent refills. In fact, two or more 750mL Cowbells can last a month in up to an 11” pot in a well hydrated plant that has been trained on Cowbell.

If you think about it, your plant is a living breathing thing. When you water it sporadically, it’s trained to conserve energy and resources. Having constant access to water allows your plant to put energy into producing new leaves or flowers. Cowbell plant parents are often surprised when their houseplants suddenly develop flowers or new growth for the first time in months.

Happy trails, plant friends!


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