Self-Water Container Plants While On Vacation

by Alli

This post, How to Self-Water Container Plants While on Vacation, contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commision, with no additional cost to you. 

Summer vacation season is finally here. Now that I’ve got flowers blooming on my front porch in containers, we’re headed to the beach for a week. Great! How will I keep those plants alive? I could ask someone to stop by my house and water my plants, but I hate to bother my friends. So, instead, I’m going to self-water container plants while on vacation.

It is easy to self-water container plants while vacationing

I always spend months dreaming of summer vacations. We usually vacation with the kids and grandkids at our favorite home state beach. We’ve been enjoying family vacations in North Myrtle Beach for over 20 years. Every July, my husband and I spend two weeks on a Caribbean island. It’s our own little getaway for just the two of us. That never happened until the kids grew up and flew the nest. Now, it’s an annual thing.

Beach vacations are always a blast and a half. I’m such a beach bum! However, I don’t want to return home to dead flowers and plants after spending so much time planting and watering them.  With that in mind, I’ll show you how I self-water container plants while on vacation. It works every time.

Self-Water Container Plants While On Vacation

Use Plastic Bottles 

You can use two-liter plastic soda bottles to water your plants while you’re away on vacation.

Self-Water Container Plants While On Vacation

  • Use a small nail and a hammer to tap the nail into the center of the cap of a two-liter bottle. I went ahead and made two little holes. Oops. I should have gone with one.

Self-Water Container Plants While Vacationing

  • Fill the bottle with water and screw on the cap with the nail hole in the center.
  • Water the soil thoroughly.
  • Insert the bottle upside down into the soil, making sure it won’t tip over.

Ways to Self-Water Container Plants While Vacationing

  • Repeat the process with other container plants (one bottler per container).

Buy Plant Watering Globes

If you don’t want to take the time to make your own self-watering system, grab some plant watering globes. They are inexpensive and prettier than plastic two-liter bottles.

Self-Water Container Garden - Globes for Self Watering


What About Self-Watering Spikes?

Terracotta Wine Bottle Stake Set works with wine bottles. You can use them indoors or outdoors. “Soak the terracotta plant waterer in water first. It will prevent them from pulling moisture quickly from the bottle. Fill long neck glass bottles with water and set the terracotta plant waterer on the top of the bottles. Simply flip them over and place the self -irrigation watering system into your indoor/outdoor planter.”

Self Water Container Plants

DIY String Drip System

You will need:

  • A gallon jug – Place a gallon size jug next to your container plant. Again, saturate the soil well before leaving for vacation.
  • Cotton or Nylon Twine

Place one end of the string in the jug. It needs to touch the bottom. Place the other end of the string into the soil at the base of the plant. Fill the jug with water. Make sure the mouth of the jug is above the base of the plant. Sit it on something to elevate it so that the mouth of the jug is higher than the plant base. The water must be able to drip down the string.

Helpful Hint: Be sure and use the correct type string. It must be able to hold water for this to work.

How do you water container plants while on vacation? Do you get a neighbor or friend to water your plants or do you self-water container plants?


candy June 21, 2018 - 7:07 am

Now this is a really neat idea for when we are gone for couple weeks at a time. Easy enough for me to do and my plants won’t be dead when I return.

Brit Strawbridge June 21, 2018 - 7:56 am

I saw this on a show the other day! Such a genius idea!! I would never have thought of that!! I always wonder what people do for their plants when they go away!

Tasheena June 21, 2018 - 9:23 am

This would be perfect for when I go on vacation this summer. Such a clever idea. This would be a perfect DIY project to work on this weekend.

Melissa Chapman June 21, 2018 - 9:44 am

I usually just hope that my plants will get watered from the rain when I am away. This system is such a great idea and leaves nothing to chance.

Pam June 21, 2018 - 9:53 am

I really like those plant watering globes. Not only are they useful, they look really good too.

Tammy June 21, 2018 - 10:33 am

Wonderful ideas and tips for watering while you are gone. I have so many potted plants and its a struggle sometimes. I use the plastic bottle method and it works great.

Amber Myers June 21, 2018 - 10:49 am

I need these. I always forget to water plants, which is why many of them end up dying. Maybe if I had these, they’d last a while longer 😉

Sara Welch June 21, 2018 - 6:43 pm

These things are a real life saver. SO many of us travel and need a way to keep the plants alive!

Roch June 21, 2018 - 8:17 pm

This is a nice way to garden and grow plants especially for busy individuals who are not home most of the time. I love the idea of having the spikes to prevent drought.

Trina June 21, 2018 - 11:19 pm

Great ideas! I am so horrible at gardening and keeping plants alive but my daughter wants to start one now that we have a patio and yard. We also travel a lot so this trick might keep my flowers alive a bit longer!

Terri Steffes June 22, 2018 - 12:19 am

All of our neighbors are using the terra cotta spikes. I want to give those a go.

Carol Cassara June 22, 2018 - 6:19 am

Awesome ideas for people who often travel. My husband and I are hesitant to grow plants simply because we love to travel throughout the year. I think this is great solution for that.

Janet C June 22, 2018 - 7:01 am

This is such a wonderful idea. I love my plants but we also travel a lot so this would be perfect.

Anosa Malanga June 22, 2018 - 8:09 am

Wow, this is so nice. I never thought of this before and indeed such a great way to make sure our plants at home till receives ample amount of water when we are away.

Vyjay Rao June 22, 2018 - 8:20 am

Whenever we go on vacation we always have this issue of tending to our plants. We asked someone to look after them a couple of times. But then we also tried self-watering bottles, though I must admit they were crude, but worked. But what you have written about sound more efficient, will give them a try.

Leah June 22, 2018 - 6:27 pm

This is a genius idea! We are gone so many weekends for tournaments. I will be giving this a try for sure!

Alison Rost June 22, 2018 - 8:40 pm

So many solutions in case you don’t have someone who can look after your plants. I love the ideas and they’re definitely going to give you peace of mind while on vacation.

Mandy Yanga July 4, 2018 - 3:41 am

This is brilliant! I’ve always asked my neighbor to water them at least once a month when I’m not at home. This is perfect! I won’t have to ask them to water my plants when I’m away. Ugh why haven’t I seen this before. Thank you so much for sharing this to us, Alli. Cheers!

Lucy Clark July 9, 2018 - 5:31 am

Quite an innovative way to water plants, I also need some ideas to save water.

bibit buah mamey sapote October 10, 2018 - 6:45 am

Great post.

Rashel Ahmed January 30, 2019 - 4:20 am

Amazing article . I really enjoy your post. Thanks fro share your article.

priyadarshini April 17, 2019 - 2:23 am

Nice my childhood days we make hole in a bottle cap and play.

Nadine June 20, 2021 - 11:23 am

I tried this with 1 hole and they didn’t empty. Possibly plugged with dirt? Going to try with 2

Alli June 21, 2021 - 6:54 am

Hope the two holes work for you! Make sure you water the plant well before inserting the bottle.


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