I go on holliday the plants are going to die?
June 25, 2008 7:43 AM   Subscribe

I am going on holiday for 14 days, leaving behind several plants on the window seals in a small flat. There is no neighbor / friend to look after them in our absence. How can I make sure that the plants will not die? I have 2 tomato plants in pots, climbing tomatoes in a hanging basket and few pots with chillies.

I bought some silicone crystals that release water gradually and should be added to the soil, but that not going to be enough for 2 weeks. Is there a way of adding water gradually and automatically that is not expensive and does not require leaving an open tap? In the gardening center they suggested leaving the pots in a dish full of water, but some of my pots don't have a hole in the bottom, and then what about the tomatoes in the hanging basket?
Thank you for your help.
posted by slimeline to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Water Bulbs!
posted by Grither at 7:46 AM on June 25, 2008

I suppose this is a better link that has some explanation of how they work...
posted by Grither at 7:49 AM on June 25, 2008

Grither nailed it. Aqua Globes is one brand.
posted by netbros at 7:52 AM on June 25, 2008

Lee Valley has a swack of these kind of devices. This one looks like the best for your purpose if you replace the jar with a large bucket of water.
posted by Mitheral at 7:54 AM on June 25, 2008

A cheaper solution is to fill a bottle, like a 2-liter soda bottle, with water, soak a cotton string (a shoestring will work), run string from water bottle to soil. Water will slowly flow from bottle to plant as long as the bottle end of the string remains immersed in water.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:57 AM on June 25, 2008

MY wife bought a bunch of Aqua Globes and just before we went to Mexico for a week back in February. They worked well but were completely empty when we returned so I'm not sure if they'll do the trick for a 2 week trip.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:40 AM on June 25, 2008

Like plastic_animals said, but use cotton clothesline as a wick.
posted by caddis at 9:00 AM on June 25, 2008

You can cover the soil with clear plastic (Saran wrap, plastic bags, whatever) and that will help keep moisture in. I've done that for as long as 10 days and the plans survived.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:00 AM on June 25, 2008

Not nearly as neat as any of the other solutions offered, but it's free and relatively painless... In the past I've gotten away with leaving untended plants over long holidays by moving all my houseplants into the bath, with an inch of so or water in the bottom and the cold tap left dripping slightly. A bit of careful arrangement seemed to let me ensure that plants that needed less water were at the shallower end. I think they survived the experience.
posted by kxr at 10:23 AM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've used kxr's trick with the bathtub when away for 3 weeks (but without the faucet dripping) and the plants were healthier after I returned than when I left.
posted by teg at 11:05 AM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I´ve had success with gathering all my houseplants in one area, setting some bowls of water amongst them, and covering the entire setup with some semi-clear plastic trash bags. Keep the bags loose over the plants, possibly with the help of a tall vase or something in the middle, and tuck the edges under.
posted by yohko at 2:01 PM on June 25, 2008

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