If you own an indoor plant, you know that it requires a schedule of watering, feeding, and proper sunlight. If you have a few plants, you probably know that each plant needs specific conditions. If you own a lot of houseplants, you know that taking care of them can equate to a full time job.

So – How do you keep plants alive while on vacation, holidays, or any other extended period of time? You have to plan!

  1. Let Your Plants Dry Out Before You Go On Vacation
  2. Water The Day Before You Go Away
  3. Make Sure Your Plants Have the Right Conditions Before You Leave
  4. Consider A Plant Sitter
  5. Hope For The Best

Let Your Plants Dry Out Before You Go On Vacation

This sounds weird, because aren’t we supposed to keep our plants at the right level of moisture in the soil? Usually, yes!

But in the case of leaving them for extended periods of time, it is important to let your plants dry out completely until the day before you leave to ensure they have as much water as possible while you are gone. 

Begin planning at least two weeks in advance of your trip to help properly water your plants while on vacation.

Water The Day Before You Go Away

Deep water all your plants the day before you leave. Doing this allows your plants to replenish their reserves and have ample water in the soil until you can give it a nice deep drink when you get home.

If you’re only going for a trip for a week, many of your plants should be just fine!

How Can You Keep Plants Moist When You’re Gone?

If you’re going away for an extended amount of time or you have a plant that requires the soil to stay moist, the string watering method can provide the continual moisture your plants needs.

This method involves putting a string in the soil of your plant and placing the opposite end in a cup of water. The string wicks water from the cup and allows the plant to “drink” as much as it needs. 

Make Sure Your Houseplants Have The Right Conditions Before You Leave

It’s important to prepare your plants in order to keep them alive while you’re away. There’s no set way to do this, and there’s no guarantee that taking steps will save your plants if you leave them on their own. Despite this, we have to do what we can to keep our plant babies safe. 


Many of our plants have specific lighting needs that vary from day to day. Make sure that plants will get adequate lighting, and move any that may not be able to stay in their usual place while you’re gone.

A way to ensure that your plants are getting consistent levels of light is to use sheer curtains and move plants closer or further away from windows based on their needs.

The sheer curtains will aid you in providing dappled light to plants such as pothos, chinese evergreens, or monsteras. Some plants such as string of pearls or other sun loving succulents would benefit from being moved close to bright windows. 


If you have any plants that require a high level of humidity, but you can’t run a humidifier the whole time you’re gone, what can you do?

  • Group plants on a pebble tray filled with water
  • Use a timer on your humidifier or smart plug
  • Cover humidity loving plants with a plastic bag after watering

Provide Some TLC

Focus on giving your plants some much needed care. This includes chopping off dead or dying leaves to allow the plant to focus on new growth, cleaning leaves to utilize alllll of those sun rays, and performing a preventative pest spray such as neem oil on the soil and leaves for plants that are prone to them. All of these things will enhance your plant’s chance for success.

Consider A Plant Sitter

The best plan to water your plants while on vacation is to get a plant sitter.

That’s right, like a pet sitter but for your plants. This is a big job if you have a lot of plants, so keep that in mind when asking someone to take on this task. Maybe think about giving your sitter a nice plant in return!

Once you’ve found a plant sitter, how do you teach them your watering schedule? One way is to use sticky notes!

Place a sticky note on each plant with its care instructions for while you’re on vacation. Some examples may include:

  • “Water when the moisture meter says dry ”
  • “Close the curtains if it’s going to be above 100”
  • “Water the plant until it comes out of the drainage holes”
  • “If the leaves are curling up, water!”

Hope For The Best

So you’ve prepped your plants, gone on vacation, and now you are home. What now? Well the most important thing is to set realistic expectations.

While you hope to keep all your plants alive while you’re away, there may be some plants that don’t survive, or that lose some leaves when you’re not home. It’s a risk we have to take in order to live our lives as plant parents.

Once you’re home, you should inspect your plants. This includes looking for pests, giving water to those plants that need it, and cutting back dead or dying leaves.

At the end of the day the answer to the question “How to take care of my plants on vacation” is that it’s important we don’t allow our plants to keep us from living our lives. There are many ways to have a thriving plant collection while still being able to go on trips and vacations.