How to keep your plants watered while you’re on holiday – from wine bottles to the bath

Houseplants: RHS advises on watering techniques

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Houseplants all have their own unique care requirements, but one thing all plants have in common is the need for water. Watering schedules can vary between species, but often need to be ramped up when the hot weather arrives. If you’re planning a holiday, though, this could be a problem.

Leaving a key with a trusted neighbour or family member is certainly one way to get the job done, but for people without this option, keeping your plants alive might seem like a task.

One way to make sure your green friends get the hydration they need is by setting up a DIY watering system.

Here are three ways you can keep your plants watered while you’re on holiday.

Use an old wine bottle

According to gardening expert David Domoney, your old wine bottles could be unexpectedly handy when it comes to watering your houseplants.

The wine bottle method will slowly drip water into the soil while you are away.

However, be sure you are using the right size bottle for your plant and its specific watering needs.

Houseplants of a smaller size or those which need less water may need a smaller container such as a beer bottle.

David Domoney explains: “To begin, wash out an old wine bottle and fill with water up to the neck.

“Place your thumb over the top of the bottle and flip it over, and then bury the neck of the bottle into the soil of the pot, removing your thumb.”

Make sure the neck of the bottle is wedged a few inches into the soil and is secure.

Use a permanent marker and draw a line on the bottle at the water level, then check back in a few hours to make sure the water is draining out properly.

If the water is at the same level, soil could be blocking the bottle, so you may need to reinsert it.

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Make a watering wick

Watering wicks are not a new method and have been used in gardening for years.

You can make your own on a budget using cotton twine, plastic tubing or string, or even a few strips of cotton fabric.

Fill a jar with water and place it next to your houseplant. This should be elevated so that the mouth of the container is higher than the base of the plant.

The length of time you are away should determine how full your jar is.

Next, cut your length of fabric, tubing or string to about one inch wide.

Place one end of your wick into the water container, making sure it touches the bottom.

Then, push the other end of the wick into the soil at the base of your plant.

This should be around three inches deep.

Try to keep the wick out of direct sunlight as this can lead to evaporation.

If you are worried about evaporation, you can duct tape the top of your water container.

This will then slowly transfer water from the jar to your plant.

Pop them in the bath

If your plant likes consistently moist soil, popping it in the bath can do the trick while you are away.

Fill your bath with an inch or two of water and then lay a towel on the base of the bath to protect the surface.

Make sure your plants are in pots which have drainage holes in the bottom so they can access the water.

This will help to keep plants hydrated from below, however, you should avoid this for too long as it can lead soil to become over-saturated.

If your plant needs sunlight, make sure it can access this. The method will also work in a kitchen sink.

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