While you're away from home for extended periods, your plants still need proper care. If you don't have a sitter, there are numerous creative ways you can keep your plants watered until you return home Regardless of the method you choose, always water the plants thoroughly before you leave. Most methods can keep your plants hydrated for two to three weeks if executed properly.
Using a bucket and string, you can keep your plants watered for several days while you're away. This method works both indoors and outdoors, but indoors is best as the water won't evaporate as quickly. Fill a large tub or bucket with water and arrange your plants around it. Cut a length of cotton string for each plant. Make sure each piece is long enough to reach from the bottom of the bucket to several inches into the soil of the plant. Bury one end of the string in the soil, and place the other end into the bucket of water. The plants will absorb enough water through the string to hydrate them until you return.
Use old newspaper to keep your plants from drying out for up to two weeks. This method only works for potted plants, but can be used indoors or outdoors. Place the plants in a large tub or sink out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source. Ball up old newspaper and soak it with water, then arrange the balls around the planters. The wet newspaper will keep the air humid and provide the soil with moisture.
Plastic Bag Method
If you'll be gone longer than a week, the plastic bag method will work for small potted plants. Water your plants thoroughly before beginning. Place the entire plant, pot and all, inside a plastic grocery or dry cleaning bag. Puncture the bag with a few small holes, then use a twist tie to close the bag at the top. Place all the bagged plants out of direct sunlight, which would cause excess heat to parboil the plants. Instead, put them in an area of indirect bright light until you return. This method will retain the moisture inside the bag, keeping the plant hydrated for two to three weeks.
Water your plants thoroughly before you leave, and allow them to drain completely. Once drained, place each plant in a water-filled saucer. The planter must have holes in the bottom or be made of unglazed clay for this method to be effective. As the soil dries, water will be absorbed from the saucer, keeping the plant supplied with water while you're away.