Travelling? Learn How To Water Greenhouse Plants When Away

How fascinating is it to eat your own tomatoes, cucumbers and broccoli or pick bright flowers all year round? If you are a handy gardener, you should probably know that you will achieve it with a greenhouse. What most DIY gardeners don’t know is how to water greenhouse plants when away from home for days.

A young man in a beautiful small greenhouse, tending his plants

In addition to the best time of starting planting seeds in the greenhouse, gardeners also consider the plant watering when planning their holidays. Whether you have outdoor or indoor plants, greenhouse or potted plants, you try to figure out how to water them during your vacation. And there’s a way. As a matter of fact, lots of them. Ready to find out how to water your greenhouse plants? Let’s dive in!

How to water greenhouse plants when away

Like houseplants, garden plants need regular watering. When you have to deal with indoor or outdoor plants in pots, things are more straightforward. Depending on the plants’ watering needs, you can make mini-greenhouses using clear plastic bags and cover them or give your plants a good soaking. How? Just fill up your bathtub or sink with a couple of centimetres of water and lay a towel over the water. Lay your plants in the tub, ensuring the pots have good drainage, so the water soaks through the plant’s roots. This method is the best for tropical plants and those that don’t need sun. Plus, it will keep them watered for up to a week. 

But how can you water plants you keep in a greenhouse? Here are 6 DIY self-watering systems to keep your beloved and precious plants well-watered so you can enjoy your vacation carefreely. 

1. Plastic bottle

If you have built a small greenhouse where you keep a few plants, a great way to water them when you are away for a short period of time (up to 4 days) is to use plastic bottles. Here’s what you need and how to do it:

Needed materials:

  • Plastic water bottles
  • Nails
  • Hammer

Steps to follow:

  1. Get the bottle and poke six holes around the bottle and three holes on the bottom of the bottle.
  2. Next, water the soil of the plant. This will prevent the plant from consuming all the water from the bottle.
  3. Make a hole in the soil and place in the bottle.
  4. Then, fill the bottle with water and cap it to avoid evaporation and promote water drainage into the plant.

2. Wine bottle

Have you been keeping empty wine bottles? Now it’s time to reuse them. Empty glass bottles are great for watering your plants daily when you’re away. Just be sure you use a bottle with a cap and not a cork. Let’s see what you have to do:

Attaching glass watering globe inside a potted flower

Needed materials:

  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Glass bottles with aluminium cap
  • Pliers

Steps to follow:

  1. Using pliers, remove the plastic film inside the caps.
  2. Next, get the hammer and nails and create five holes in the caps.
  3. Take the bottle of the cap, fill it with water and place the cap back.
  4. Make a hole in the plant’s soil and put the bottle in with the cap side first.

NOTE: Alternatively, you can use store-bought glass watering globes.

3. Water wicking

Another useful method to water greenhouse plants is the water wicking system. What is that? It’s a way to water your plants using a cotton rope. What’s so great about it?  This method will slowly draw off water through the twine to your plants, keeping the soil moist. You can water multiple plants at once, and depending on the size of the water container, it can last longer

Needed materials:

  • Cotton string or twine
  • A vase or a bucket

Steps to follow:

  1. Get a piece of cotton rope. The string needs to be long enough as one end will soak into the bucket with the water, and the other one will reach several centimetres under the soil. Cut as many pieces as required for all of your plants.
  2. Push one end several centimetres under the soil close to the base of the plant and cover it with soil.
  3. Then, place the other end into the bucket filled with water, ensuring that is enough string under the water.
  4. Finally, water the plants. 

EXTRA TIP: Keep the bucket out of direct sunlight to reduce the amount of water that evaporates and add a layer of mulch to the soil’s surface to retain moisture.

4. Capillary mats

Similar to the above method is capillary mats. These are mats you place under your pots and planters. Then, the drainage holes of the containers take the water up to the plant roots. This watering system is a great method to water your greenhouse plants every day and not only during your days away. Why? Because it almost eliminates evaporations and prevents overwatering, maintaining your plants healthy without fungal diseases. The excess water is collected back to the mat by plastic liners and reused to water the plants. 

5. Drip irrigation system

If DIY projects aren’t your cup of tea, then a store-bought watering system is the key to your problem. Installing a drip system will prevent any plant health problems caused by over or under-watering. As a plus, you can direct the amount of water each plant needs. Just remember to connect it to the timer and program it according to your plant’s watering needs.

Dip irrigation system

If you feel that a drip system is too much for you, use soaker hoses. They’re similar to garden hoses. Yet, they have a plethora of tiny holes designed to allow the water to drip slowly from the soil surface to the roots. Again, remember to connect them to the timer.

6. Ask a friend, family member or neighbour

As a last resort, hire a plant sitter. If you don’t like the idea of a stranger getting into your property, ask a friend, family member, or neighbour to water plants. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll have to return the favour in the future somehow.

Low maintenance plants

If creating a self-watering planter and system isn’t your thing, we have a list of plants you can keep in your greenhouse and will stay alive when left for holidays. However, even though these plants are durable, you better keep them in a shady area to stay on the safe side.

  • Air Plants
  • Anthuriums
  • Bamboo
  • Bromeliads
  • Kalanchoes
  • Money Tree
  • Orchids
  • Peace Lily
  • Pothos Plants
  • Cacti
  • Succulents

A small greenhouse in the garden next to a wooden fence

You can now stop thinking about how to water your greenhouse plants and start planning your holidays. With the above self-watering systems, you can relax and enjoy your vacation without worrying about your plants. Depending on the plants you keep, choose the best method for their watering needs. Before you leave for holidays, test it first to be 100% sure that it will work! 


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