Published: December 2, 2014

    Keeping Plants Alive While Away

    Your Dream Vacation Awaits – But What About Your Beautiful Houseplants?

    Your sister loves pets and has agreed to take care of your beloved family Poodle while you are away, but she lacks a green thumb. This is a dream vacation planned for years, and it would be a shame to come home to wilted plants. No need to worry – there is a simple and inexpensive solution.

    Glass plant watering/aqua globes are pretty, but they can be costly, especially if you have a lot of plants. An alternative is to use regular glass bottles that you have around the house. The size of the bottle depends on the size of the plant. Anything from a glass soda bottle to a large wine bottle will work, if the right steps are followed.

    Keep in mind that globes, whether store bought or homemade, can be a good way to keep plants steadily watered, but there is no substitute for tender loving care. Of course, if there is nobody to take care of your plants when you are on vacation, using this method is a better solution than not watering them at all.

    Use Filtered Water for Your Houseplants

    Impurity-free water, without potentially damaging minerals and chemicals, is the best choice for plants. Chlorine, which is a common water additive, can be bad for plants if the soil used is already high in chlorine because it impedes the ability to absorb water. And unless you are fortunate enough to be one of the 15 percent of households in the U.S. with naturally soft water, using tap water will expose plants to minerals that have damaging consequences. Calcium and magnesium are not good for the health of plants. The best bet is to use water that is filtered and softened through a salt-free process, since sodium is also detrimental to plants and will cause the leaves to turn brown.

    How to Make Your Own Houseplant Watering Globes

    Make your own recycled watering globes by following these easy steps:

    1. Take an empty, clean glass bottle, fill it with filtered water, and push it, with the open end facing down, carefully into moist soil. Choose a bottle that is appropriate for the plant’s size. If bubbles rapidly form, or the water level changes even slightly, the bottle mouth may not have sealed against the soil, so pull the bottle out, refill it, and try it again.
    2. To prevent soil clogs in the narrow top of the bottle, make a hole in the soil with a pencil or knife before inserting the bottle.
    3. Full water bottles, depending on their size, can be heavy and topple over if not placed deep enough in the soil.
    4. If the soil is hard, or there are rocks or pebbles in the soil, the bottle could break, so consider wearing heavy work gloves.

    In general, the water in watering bottles/globes can last up to two weeks, but less if the bottle is small or the plant is large. Although some plants can be watered once a week or so, others seem to suffer if they dry out even for a day. If your plants are wilting too easily, water globes can help, but these are not a good solution if you are going on an extended vacation. And also keep in mind that under normal watering conditions, wilting can be a sign that a plant needs to be repotted.