How to keep your houseplants alive when you go on holiday

We all need a break sometimes. Find out how to keep your houseplants happy and healthy whilst you're away

Green plant
(Image credit: Patch Plants)

For those green-fingered fanatics out there, a summer holiday can be a difficult decision. Is it worth the risk? Is there a possibility you could come home to a droopy, unhappy plant? Houseplants’ popularity has jumped in recent years, with their full health benefits being recognised more and more. 

The good news is there’s plenty that can be done to keep your plants content when you’re not there. Whether you’re jetting off for two days or two weeks, we’re here to provide you with the best advice to not let your plants suffer, so you can enjoy a week in the sun. 

1. Move your plants out of the sun

Whilst some plants thrive well in direct sunlight, it causes their soil to dry out faster and means they will need to drink more water. Moving them into slightly lower light conditions for a short time will be much better than your plant becoming dehydrated.

Pro tip: bright (indirect) light is usually found in west-facing and east-facing locations. Ideal spots include window sills, shelves or under an awning.

2. Create a plant huddle 

Huddling your plants together creates their own climate. The transpiration from one plant provides humidity for another plant, allowing them to retain more moisture. Choose a spot in your home that gets natural light (not direct sunlight) and arrange them around one another. This also means they can keep each other company whilst their plant parent is away what more could you want? 

Pro tip: group plants together that have similar needs. For example, keep succulents and cacti away from tropical plants as they all have different requirements in order to survive. 

3. Give them a drink before you go 

If you’re away for less than a week, giving your plants a good water before you jump into the taxi should be enough. However, leave your plants to drain for about 20 minutes before placing them back on their saucers to avoid root rot. Did you know potato water was also a great option for your plants? Crazy!

Pro tip: move the plants to the bath or shower when you do this to avoid making a mess. 

4. The mini-greenhouse method

This isn’t as complicated as it sounds! Place a large clear bag over your plant, big enough to cover its leaves and pot entirely. Your plant will still need to breathe so poke a couple of holes in the bag and move it away from direct sunlight. The plant inside will release water from its leaves, dripping down into the soil below ready to be soaked up again! 

Pro tip: make sure the leaves don’t touch the plastic directly, or they will rot when condensation forms inside the bag. 

5. Phone a friend!

If you’re leaving home for a few weeks, why not ask a trusted friend to call in on your plants when needed? Not only will your friend be able to water them, but they can also keep an eye on their condition and step in with any other measures if required. 

Pro tip: write a small guide on how to care for your plant babies so your friend doesn’t have to do any guessing! 

Now that you’ve got your holiday plant care sorted, you can put your mind at ease and concentrate on worrying about your suntan. Enjoy your travels!

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.