Experts say this is the one thing you should never do with your houseplants when going on holiday

The holiday watering tips to try and the ones to avoid according to the pros

Hanging houseplants on a white wall
(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

The holidaying season is upon us. And we bet you can’t wait to escape this rainy UK weather and head to warmer and sunnier lands. But what to do about watering your houseplant when on holiday so that they don’t die on you? Unless you have houseplants that are easy to care for, they will need a bit of TLC at some point. 

Giving your neighbour or a friend the key to look after your greenery is an option (for some). But if you want to make do on your own, plant experts say these are the things you should (and shouldn’t!) do.

How to water plants when on holiday?

Houseplants are best to boost wellbeing in a space. And for that, they deserve our care, even when we’re sunbathing on a beach in another country. So how can you water plants on holiday? Giving them a good soak before you leave is essential.

A shelf with houseplants and a mirror above

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

‘If you have a bathroom with natural light, it’s an idea to place the plants together in a bathtub or shower tray with the plug out and give them a good watering right before you leave the house,’ advises Suzie Woolley, plant expert at Serenata Flowers. ‘Allow the water to soak deeply into the soil  for 10-15 seconds and leave them there to drain until you get back.’

Bathroom shelf with houseplants against a pink wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Alternatively, you can fill the tub (or a large sink) with a little bit of water. ‘You can pop your plants into a large sink or bathtub, and fill it with a few inches of water,’ says Jo Lambell, founder of Beards & Daisies. ‘This allows your plants to take as much water as they need.’

The other thing you can invest in or craft yourself is a self-watering device. ‘We’d recommend using a self-watering device,’ Jo continues. ‘There are many available online, but you can also get creative and DIY your own! We’ve seen self-watering devices fashioned from empty plastic bottles and milk cartons.’

What not to do with your houseplants when you’re on holiday

However, there is one-holiday tip that the experts advise against and that's leaving them outside to fend for themselves. Especially if they are not used to the outdoor environment. 

You might think that they deserve some plant holiday of their own since you’re getting some time away, or that the rainwater will solve your problems. Is rainwater good for houseplants? Sure. But leaving your indoor plants exposed to the elements is not ideal according to the experts.

‘Leaving plants outdoors during a holiday can be risky, especially with unpredictable British weather,’ warns Suzie.

‘We would never recommend leaving your houseplants outdoors, even in the summer months when temperatures are slightly warmer and more consistent,’ Jo adds. ‘Most tropical houseplants aren’t well-suited to survive in the outdoors conditions in the UK, especially when temperatures can drop quite drastically at night.’

Hanging houseplants on a white wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

But if you invest time and energy into training them, you MIGHT be able to get away with leaving them outdoors according to Steve Chilton, gardening expert from LeisureBench

‘If you do leave your houseplants outside when you go away it's important to spend time getting them used to the outdoors prior to your departure. If you all of a sudden place your houseplant outside and it's faced with elements that it's never been faced with before, it could be a shock and your plant could die,’ he explains. 

‘To avoid this, I recommend placing your house plants outside during the day and taking them in at nighttime, for the week before you go on holiday. If you notice any immediate negative changes, it's important to bring them back inside or leave them outside for a shorter amount of time during the day.’

But this probably won’t work in the current weather. Sorry. ‘If you know that the weather is going to be particularly scorching, or particularly rainy, I recommend keeping them inside. You don't want your plants to get too hot and die, or become too waterlogged and die,’ Steve concludes.

So remember, your houseplants are more likely to enjoy their holidays in a bathtub - just remember to make sure it's well lit!

Sara Hesikova
News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.