8 Things To Do With Indoor Plants When on Vacation

Going on vacation is supposed to be a relaxing experience. However, when you’re a plant parent, it can be stressful to imagine your plants dying due to lack of care while you’re away. Luckily, there are many things you can do with your indoor plants while on vacation.

When on vacation, the best thing to do with indoor plants is to have someone look after them. However, if you can’t find someone to do this, you can use a self-watering planter, “bathe” them before you leave or create a DIY watering system.

The rest of this article will go over the various things you can do with your indoor plants while on vacation. I’ll also discuss several indoor plants that will survive a little neglect while you’re away. Read on!

1. Ask Someone to Look After Your Plants While You’re Away

The best and most obvious thing you can do with your plants while on vacation is ask a family member or friend to look after them. The amount of effort your plant caretaker will need to use on the plants will determine who you should ask to care for them, as some plants need more care than others.

Therefore, if you have a plant that needs more care than just the occasional watering, you might want to hire a plant sitter.

Ask a Family Member or Friend

Having someone come to your house to water your plants and look things over while on vacation is a great idea, especially if you’re vacationing for a week or longer. In this case, it’s ideal to ask a friend or family member, as you know them and can trust them with your home.

Another option is asking a neighbor you know well to pop in and care for your plants a few times a week. However, unless the person you ask to care for your plants knows a lot about plant care, the type of plants you have will determine whom to ask.

Most indoor plants are considered low-maintenance, but some are more difficult to care for. However, asking a friend or neighbor to care for your more easygoing plants is an excellent option.

Some of these plants may include:

  • Snake plant
  • Philodendron plant
  • Cactus or succulent plants
  • Monstera plant

However, some plants are a bit more challenging to keep alive and are better suited for those who know more about plant care to look after. I’ll get into this more in the following section.

Hire a Plant Sitter

Hiring a professional plant sitter might be your best bet if you have more high-maintenance plants.

Some plants that are more difficult to take care of and require specific care may include:

  • Gardenia plant
  • Boston fern
  • Zebra plant
  • Orchid

If you have any of these plants, having a professional look after them is a good idea, especially if you’ll be on vacation for a long time. 

Finding a professional pet sitter may be easy or challenging, depending on where you live. For example, Seattle, Washington, has a small business called The Plant Sitters, which offers plant care services to those who need them. Simply searching for plant sitters in your area is bound to have results, so don’t be afraid to give it a try!

2. Move Your Indoor Plants Outdoors

Unfortunately, finding someone to watch over and care for your indoor plants while you’re on vacation isn’t always going to be feasible. In that case, you have to think of other options, one being moving your indoor plants outdoors.

If you’re like most people, you most likely go on vacation during the summer. In this case, you can always move your indoor plants outside, as long as your plant is the type that will thrive in that environment.

Most indoor plants will flourish if you move them outside during the summer, as the fresh air, direct sunlight, and rainwater will refresh them. So, if you’re going away for some time, moving them outdoors is a good idea—as long as it’s not too hot or there’s rain in the forecast.

Still, if you plan to do this, ensure to find a suitable location for your plants, depending on their sunlight needs. The last thing you want is to come home from vacation to a plant with scorched leaves!

3. Use a Self-Watering Planter

Self-watering planters are great for those who:

  • Forget to water their plants 
  • Have to be away from home for long periods or
  • Take vacations often 

There are several different types of self-watering planters you can choose from, including the GARDIFE Self-Watering Planters from Amazon.com. These planters come in various sizes and include drainage holes, which are essential to the overall health of your plant. They’re made from recycled plastic and sport a nice, simple design – an excellent addition to any home decor.

Nevertheless, before you put all your indoor plants in self-watering planters, it’s essential to understand that not all indoor plants will benefit from them. Indoor plants that need to be almost completely dry before being watered again shouldn’t be in self-watering planters, such as cacti or succulents.

4. Give Your Plants a Bath

Giving your indoor plants a “bath” before you leave for your vacation is another good idea, depending on how long you plan to be gone. Giving your plant a bath is also called bottom watering, a process in which you place your potted plants in a tub of water—thereby, watering them from the bottom.

When you do this, your plant soaks the water into its roots. And, if you use your bathtub to bottom water your indoor plants, you can water all of them at once. Just make sure not to leave your potted plants soaking for too long as the soil may become soggy and cause root rot.

Let your plants absorb water for ten minutes. Afterward, check each pot individually because the duration can vary depending on various factors, such as pot size, soil type, and plant type.

Check the pots every few minutes after the ten-minute mark using the finger test. If the soil is moist up to your first knuckle or if the surface is moist, you can remove the pot and allow the excess moisture to drain out of the bottom holes.

5. Move Your Plants to a Shady Area

If you have plants that need to be moved in and out of sunlight throughout the day, it would be advisable to move them to a shady area while you’re away—especially if you don’t have anyone coming over to check on them.

Plants that typically need a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day will still survive being in the shade while you’re away, as long as you’re not gone for weeks on end. In fact, keeping these plants in the shade while you’re gone will help conserve the water in the soil- which is great if you won’t have a way of watering them while on vacation.

6. Create a DIY Watering System

When you have indoor plants with specific watering needs and missing a week (or even a day) of watering can severely damage them, it’s essential to have some sort of system in place. Luckily, there are a couple of DIY watering systems you can create to ensure your plants receive water while you’re not around.

These include a drip system and a wicking system.

Drip Irrigation

The best way to create a drip irrigation system for your indoor plants is to use a plastic water bottle. Not only because it’s easy and most people have one on hand but also because it works best in this scenario.

To create a drip watering system, follow these simple steps:

  1. Get a water bottle and poke some holes in the lid. Make sure the holes aren’t too big—about 1/8 inch (3 mm) in diameter is ideal.
  2. Fill the bottle with water. Ensure you screw the lid back on the bottle tightly.
  3. Create a small hole in the soil. The hole only needs to be big enough for the bottle’s lid.
  4. Turn the bottle upside down and place the lid in the hole. This will allow the water from inside the bottle to drip out into the plant, keeping it hydrated for a more extended time.

Similar to giving your plants a bath, this watering system only works well with indoor plants that don’t need their soil to thoroughly dry before watering again. Therefore, you must know your plants’ specific watering needs beforehand.


  • It’s simple and easy to set up.
  • It lasts around 5-7 days, which is excellent for a week’s vacation.
  • It’s a great choice for watering plants that need extra attention.


  • It only lasts for a week at most, so it’s not an ideal watering method if you’re leaving for longer than that.
  • Drip watering can lead to overwatered plants if installed incorrectly.

Wick Watering

Wick watering is an interesting and unique way to water your plants when on vacation. This watering system is similar to drip watering but it requires a little more space.

The method requires a big bowl of water and a cotton string (or multiple if you want to water multiple plants).

To create a wick watering system, follow these steps:

  1. Get a bowl, and fill it with water. The size of the bowl mainly depends on the size of your plant and its watering needs.
  2. Find cotton strings. If you prefer to use something you can find around your house, consider using cotton shoelaces.
  3. Place the water bowl above the plant (or plants) you wish to water. Ensuring the bowl is elevated is essential.
  4. Place one end of the cotton string in the water and the other end in the soil. This will transfer the water to the soil.

The wick watering system is a genius way to water your plants—though it’s not that well-known among plant parents. So, if you plan on taking a vacation any time soon and you’re worried about your plants, using the water-wicking method is an excellent idea.

However, it’s still essential to consider the pros and cons of wick watering your plants.


  • Wick watering can water your plants for several weeks at a time.
  • It’s an excellent watering method for plants that require water around three times a week.
  • It’s easy to set up.
  • It’s cheap.


  • Wick watering only works well on plants that don’t require a lot of water.
  • The system takes up more room than other watering methods.

7. Prune Your Plant Before You Leave

No matter how long you plan to be on vacation, if your plant looks in need of pruning, it’s better to lightly prune it before you leave.

Of course, whether or not to prune your plant ultimately depends on the type of indoor plant you have. For example, many kinds of orchids should not be pruned, as the stems won’t grow back if you cut them off.

That said, most plants will do well with a bit of pruning before your vacation – especially if they have some unhealthy leaves or weak stems. Cutting these problem areas off before you leave will make your plant look better and encourage it to direct its energy to other areas, resulting in a healthier plant overall. 

By the time you return from your vacation, your plant could be looking healthier than ever!

8. Bring Your Indoor Plant Along With You

Lastly, another (not-so-popular) option is to bring your indoor plants along with you.

This option depends on many factors, including:

  • The amount of time you plan to be away on vacation. Taking your plants with you might be a good idea if you’re leaving for several months.
  • The size of your indoor plants. Carrying your plants will be easy if you have small succulents. Big monstera plants, however, will be a bit more complicated.
  • Your travel method. If you’re driving to your destination, taking your plants will be easy. Unfortunately, if going by plane, you will not be allowed to bring your beloved plants along.

As houseplants continue to rise in popularity, hotels and Airbnbs alike are taking notice. Therefore, some hotels are starting to allow their guests to bring their houseplants—like the Elwood Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky. This hotel is well-known as the first plant-friendly hotel!

If you bring your indoor plants along with you on vacation, you need to ensure there’s a space for them wherever you stay. And this doesn’t only mean a hotel or Airbnb that will let you keep your plant, but also an area with adequate lighting and temperature.

For example, if your plant can’t tolerate sweltering temperatures, but you’re going to a beach, it might be better to just leave it at home. The same goes for plants that prefer warm temperatures. If you’re vacationing in Alaska, it might be best to leave them in the warmer climate.

Indoor Plants That Will Survive While You’re on Vacation

If you don’t have any indoor plants yet, but you know you take many vacations and want to be prepared, it’s a good idea to choose one (or many) that will survive while you’re away. These plants will need to be able to survive neglect, and luckily, many indoor plants can do just that.

The following sections will cover various indoor plants that will survive being left unattended while you’re on vacation.

Snake Plants

Snake plants are one of the most resilient plants, as they’re nearly impossible to kill. Since they can withstand a lot of neglect, they make the perfect plants to leave behind while you go on vacation.

These plants are so hard to kill because they don’t require a lot of sunlight or water. They can even survive without any water for up to two weeks. So, if your vacation is planned for two weeks, your snake plants should survive without any issues.

Monstera deliciosa Plant

The Monstera deliciosa plant is another example of a plant that will tolerate neglect. This means if you forget to water it, it won’t die immediately. It also doesn’t have very strict lighting needs, so it can survive alone in your home while you’re away on vacation.

Nevertheless, this is an excellent example of a plant you should prune before leaving for vacation, as discussed earlier in the article. So, if you notice any browning leaves, it might be a good idea to prune them before you go.

ZZ Plant

ZZ plants are drought-tolerant plants. So, just like the monstera and snake plants, they can withstand prolonged periods without any water—perfect for vacationers!

While ZZ plants thrive in receiving adequate light and water every two weeks, they can survive in low or bright light and less frequent watering.

Philodendron Plant

Philodendrons do best in bright, indirect light with water once a week. However, due to their hardy and drought-tolerant nature, they can survive a little neglect. 

This plant will do well with one of the watering methods mentioned above, especially if you plan to be gone for longer than a week.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the founder of TheGrowingLeaf.com and its lead content writer. He created the website in 2022 as a resource for horticulture lovers and beginners alike, compiling all the gardening tips he discovered over the years. Alex has a passion for caring for plants, turning backyards into feel-good places, and sharing his knowledge with the rest of the world.

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