The easiest way to keep plants watered while on holiday, according to a gardening expert

Horticulturist Michael Perry reveals how he keeps his 200 houseplants watered while on holiday

House plants in bathroom with bathtub and shower curtain
(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you're heading abroad or on a staycation this July and August, you're thoughts have likely turned to to watering your plants while on holiday, and preserving your garden ideas. We have some good news, according to horticulturist Michael Perry, you can stop hunting for clever hacks and devices all they really need is a good drink before you go away. 

'If you go on holiday just for a week and you give your houseplants a really good water before you go away they will generally fine,' explains Michael. 'If they're on sunny windowsills then move them to a slightly shadier part of the room. Always have a saucer underneath so you can water from below like a reservoir, or an outer pot.' 

Easiest way to water plants while on holiday

Michael Perry, also know as Mr Plant Geek on Instagram, has over 200 plants at home, and even more in his garden. If his gardening expertise was in any doubt, he has also recently teamed up with Taskrabbit on their green with envy campaign, to help Brits suffering from front garden embarrassment. 

Speaking to Ideal Home, he explained that his tip for watering plants while on holiday all comes down to a good watering schedule.

House plants in bathroom with bathtub and shower curtain

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dan Duchars)

'Generally I go away quite alot and I’ve got about 200 houseplants,' he explains. 'People often thing I’m crazy to have so many houseplants, but to have such an active life where I’m not at home much. But I kind of make it easy for myself by having a regular regime and watering then before I go away.'

'I have a reminder on my phone once a week. That is when I go round and water what needs watering, I don’t water what is good and happy at that point.'

Michael points out that watering plants just once a week, and not going overboard with holiday watering systems should actually help plants grow stronger and healthier, even when gardening in hot weather.

'I always remember the comment from a garden designer in France. He said with his outdoor plants, even in conditions of drought in the height of the summer, he resists watering because he wants to encourage them to look after themselves and get deeper rooting as well, to get down to that deeper water table,' says Michael. 'That runs true with me, because sometimes your plants will flag and wilt a little bit during the day, especially if it’s been a warm day, but they will comeback.'

Fern hanging plant in bathroom

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

However, if you are particularly worried about your plants when going on holiday, or are away for longer than one week there are a few tricks you can try.

'If people really are worried, you can get a neighbour in or you can get a tasker in from Taskrabbit,' he adds. 'It could be you put them on a draining board and have them on a tea towel underneath them in a sink of water, so the plant then draws up what water it needs.'

'There are some secrets you can use when you’re potting up your plants. Online there are moisture retentive crystals, there is a thing called swell gel, available on Amazon. This is likes tiny pieces of sponge that swell and actually hold onto moisture and you can mix those in when you’re first potting up your houseplants, and it actually holds onto moister longer.'

Michael Perry in green house with plants

(Image credit: Taskrabbit)

Alternatively, outdoor plants could benefit from an smart watering irrigation system. This won't only come in handy while on holiday, but is brilliant if you constantly forget to water the garden.

Now you're stop panicking about watering the plants, you can finally get on with the holiday packing.

Taskrabbit, the two way platform which allows you to book skilled handypeople from your local community for home and garden tasks, has recently found that 49% of Brits are green with envy over their neighbour’s perfectly pruned gardens.  Michael Perry has partnered with Taskrabbit to share his top tips on the easy ways you can spruce up your outdoor space. Those looking to get a helping hand can book a Tasker online or on the Taskrabbit app.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.