4 Tips for Plant Survival While You’re on Vacation

Y’all know we’ve been gone from home a lot since the beginning of May.  I thought I’d share how I organize things to keep my outdoor potted plants alive while we’re gone for a week or more.

There are no guarantees, but with a little reorganization, my outdoor pots at least survive  while we’re away.  When I get home, I give them extra TLC to help bring them back to full beauty.

1.  Plan your plantings around vacations. 

Try to organize your trips lumped together at the beginning or end of summer.  With early summer vacations, plant the majority of your pots after you return.  For late-summer vacations, plant to your heart’s content and enjoy them all spring and summer.  Save what you can (your favorites) using the following tips.

2.  Group pots under cover.

Drag pots out of the sun to shady areas.  A roof edge blocks most of the blazing sun rays.  North-facing sides of the house are best for shade. Arrange where rainfall can water pots if possible.  (More watering tips for those in #4.)

3.  Bring plants with heavy watering needs to an inside tub.

The tub in our master bath is a large garden tub, so I fill it with pots and a couple inches of water in the basin.  Water seeps into pots from the bottom side.  The large window over the tub allows some sunlight for part of the day.

Was my tub a mess when we arrived home from our ten-day trip this summer?  You bet!  Don’t let it scare you…everything cleans up nicely when pots are back where they belong.  Promise!

4.  For pots remaining outside, a self-watering system can work very well.

This is actually my newest tip.  While on the girls’ trip in Louisiana, I found these watering Plant Nanny™ clays at a shop downtown.  Our ten-day trip starting later that week was a good test for their success.

No, this bottle isn’t beautiful, but who cares about beauty while you’re away?  It’s all about survival!

Plant Nanny

Each clay spike comes with a plastic tip.

Clay Spike and Insert

The plastic tip screws onto your bottle and slowly feeds water into the clay.

Plastic Feeder Cap

I collected the largest bottles in the house, but a 2-liter soft drink bottle would provide a larger water supply.  I don’t normally buy those, but I will soon.

Selecting Bottles

I was a little skeptical, but the Plant Nanny™ worked like a charm.

Setting Up Plant Nanny

I used these for the patio plants that I pulled under the roof edge.  When we got home, everything looked completely normal and healthy.  Yay!

Here’s the Amazon link* if you’d like to try them (and yes, I’ll get a tiny commission if you order).  I paid $24 including tax in the store, so this is a much better deal.

How about you?  Do have any tips to share?  I’d love to hear them.


125 px Signature

*Affiliate link – see Disclosure.

I’m sharing at Metamorphosis Monday.


  1. Sue says

    I used a child’s plastic pool outdoors much like you use the bathtub. This worked great when I went on a two or three week vacation.

  2. Lyn says

    I wish I would have known this before I left for two weeks…..don’t know what I am going home to. Yikes!

    • says

      Yes, yikes! We’re now having a rainy spell, which is very rare for this time of year. Maybe it’s that way at your house, too.

  3. says

    Great ideas, Kim. I’ve never heard of the Plant Nanny (clever name), but I’m going to look into that. We’ll be gone for a week in Aug. I’ll be trying some of your tips. Thanks for sharing them.
    Laurie recently posted…PATRIOTIC VIGNETTESMy Profile

    • says

      I’d never seen the Plant Nanny before, either, Laurie. Good luck keeping your plants alive and thriving while you’re away on your trip. 🙂