Watering flowers automatically on vacation: instructions and tips

If no neighbors or acquaintances have time to take over the watering, the well-kept indoor, balcony and garden plants are threatened with death by drying up. That doesn’t have to be the case: With little effort and the right tips, you can get your plants through the hot holiday season unscathed.

overview
  • Build irrigation system for plants yourself
  • Shady but not too dark
  • Clay cones as an irrigation aid
  • Bottle trick keeps the plants fit
  • Pouring in reserve is only possible to a limited extent
  • Protect plants from wind and rain
  • Irrigation system for garden plants
  • Provide indoor plants with water

Most plants need water every day in summer. Of course, it’s easiest when you have a nice neighbor to do the watering. But not everyone can fall back on such a convenient solution and therefore has to make a difference.

In our video above or here find out how you can easily and cheaply build an irrigation system for your indoor plants yourself.

Build irrigation system for plants yourself

For the self-made, automatic irrigation system, you will need:

  • 1 large container of water
  • 1 roll of kitchen paper
  • Houseplants

Since the irrigation system needs some space, it makes sense to place the houseplants on a large table or on the countertop in the kitchen.

  1. Position the houseplants around the water tank.
  2. Tear up a long piece of kitchen roll away. It should reach at least from the inside of the container to the middle of the plant pot.
  3. Shape the paper towel into a long string by twisting it.
  4. Now dip the paper towel string into the water. It should soak up well with it.
  5. Now put one end of the kitchen paper in the pot around the plant.
  6. The other end remains in the water tank.

As a result, the entire kitchen roll paper is continuously soaked up with the water and keeps the soil of the houseplant nicely moist.

In our video you can see step by step how you can build your own irrigation system for plants.

Shady but not too dark

To reduce the plants’ water requirements, it is advisable not to place them in the blazing sun. If you cannot regulate the light supply with time-controlled roller shutters, it is better to give your plants a shady place. The north side of the house is well suited for this – plants there, for example, do not get direct sunlight.

Alternatively, you can also draw the curtains. However, this must not darken the room too much – without sufficient daylight, the plants slowly die.

Despite the shade, you need automatic irrigation when you are away on vacation.

Clay cones as an irrigation aid

Care: There are clay cones on the market that are suitable for drip irrigation of indoor plants. (Source: imago images / Redeleit)Care: There are clay cones on the market that are suitable for drip irrigation of indoor plants. (Source: Redeleit / imago images)

An alternative, professional solution to the self-made irrigation system for houseplants is commercially available clay cones. Insert the cone-shaped tubes filled with water into the earth. A thin hose connects the cones to a larger water container. When the soil in the flower box gets too dry, water flows in through the hoses.

In this way you can ensure the water supply over a longer period of time. Regular watering is good for some plants: it should even have happened that some flowers did better after the holiday than before.

Bottle trick keeps the plants fit

Irrigation: The upturned water bottles prevent the plants from drying out even when you are away. (Source: Getty Images / Rafmaster)Irrigation: The upturned water bottles prevent the plants from drying out even when you are away. (Source: Rafmaster / Getty Images)

If special irrigation solutions are too expensive for you, you can also use the bottle. Just fill a bottle with water. Drill small holes in the lid and close the bottle again. A plastic bottle is best for this.

With the opening facing downwards in the flower pot or flower box, the bottle gradually releases the water into the soil and provides the plants with moisture over a longer period of time. In order for the bottle to get stuck in the ground, it needs a holder. To do this, drill a hole in the middle of the lid through which you stick a long nail. Particularly practical: the water supply for thirsty or less thirsty plants can be dosed per bottle by drilling more or fewer holes in the lid.

So that the pot balls do not dry out so quickly after watering, cover the surface of the earth with a layer of bark mulch – this protects against evaporation. Just before leaving, immerse the pots completely in water until there are no more air bubbles.

The system is also ideal for balcony plants.

Pouring in reserve is only possible to a limited extent

During a short vacation, it can be enough to water properly before leaving so that the flowers are supplied for a few days. However, a longer absence cannot be bridged in this way.

In addition, caution is advised when watering in reserve: too much water is just as harmful to the plant as too little. If well-intentioned watering turns the potting soil into a swampy mass, the roots are at risk of rot. To prevent this from happening, the water in the planter must not be more than one centimeter high.

Protect plants from wind and rain

Bulb plants are best placed in a shady and sheltered location for the holiday season. In this way the plant uses less water and the soil does not dry out as quickly. A stretched net or fleece can provide additional shade on balconies in a sunny south-facing position.

The plants must also be protected from wind and rain: Large bulbous plants such as dahlias, gladioli or lilies, which grow rapidly in summer, should be carefully tied up again. So they stay stable and do not bend in the wind.

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Irrigation system for garden plants

Tropfbewässerungssystem (Quelle: Thinkstock by Getty-Images/Maxvis)You should also take care of watering your plants when you are on vacation. (Source: Maxvis / Thinkstock by Getty-Images)

But not only your indoor and balcony plants need water during your vacation. The garden plants also want to be well cared for. A drip hose is ideal for this. This hose is a great way to gently water bushes, hedges, and flower beds.

A drip hose is a PE hose with small holes about 30 centimeters apart from which water flows. It is laid either between bushes and plants or in the ground and connected to the water connection instead of the garden hose. When laying underground, you must bear in mind that it can break as long as there is water in it and the ground is frozen. It is therefore more advisable to place the hose on the areas to be watered and to stow it in the house in winter.

The advantage of the drip hose, in addition to the regular and effortless watering of the garden plants and the lawn, is that the water gets to the roots more quickly and does not disappear as a spray in the air or remain on the leaves during watering. In addition, the soil remains evenly moist, which is an advantage, especially in summer.

Do not water with a sprinkler. Here the water patters too hard on delicate vegetable and bedding plants and can damage the flowers and the harvest as a result.

Is it worth laying the hoses underground?

It is not always worth laying hoses underground. It is better to lay drip hoses or drip pipes above ground. You should also cover them with mulch to protect them from sunlight and also to reduce evaporation.

You can lay the distribution line or hoses underground – i.e. 20 centimeters deep. In this way you avoid tripping hazards.

Provide indoor plants with water

If you don’t want to equip your houseplants with the bottle trick or an irrigation system, you can also put them in your bathtub or kitchen sink.

  1. To do this, fill the basin with water as wide as your thumb.
  2. Now put a towel in it and place the flower pots on it.
  3. The planters should be removed beforehand.

The towel prevents the roots from being damaged by waterlogging, but at the same time supports the constant water supply.