A row of a variety of houseplants

Holiday care for house plants

Leave your houseplants well cared for whilst you are away, with the help of advice from our guide.

Most house plants will tolerate a week without water, while you’re on holiday. But, if you’re going away for two weeks, it’s well worth making arrangements to keep them watered in your absence.

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Find out how to keep your house plants healthy during the summer holidays, below.

Ask neighbours for help

Friends or neighbours might be happy to water your house plants when you’re away. To make life easier for them, move house plants away from sunny window sills and out of hot conservatories to help prevent the soil drying out.

Watering a houseplant with a small watering can
Watering a houseplant with a small watering can

Automatic irrigation

Capillary matting can work as an automatic watering system indoors. Cut a piece of matting so it covers the draining board and hangs down into the sink, then wet it thoroughly. Fill the sink with water, then stand your plants on the wet matting so they can absorb water through the bottom of their pots. Water the plants thoroughly first.

Lifting a spider-plant and its pot out of a container
Lifting a spider-plant and its pot out of a container

Choose drought-tolerant plants

If you’re likely to be away from home regularly, it’s worth choosing plants that tolerate neglect. Cacti and succulents are a good choice, as they’re adapted to dry conditions. Mother-in-law’s-tongue, cycads, palms and anthuriums will also cope without water for two or three weeks. In general, plants in small pots dry out more quickly, so buy larger specimens. Alternatively, grow several small plants in a large decorative bowl, as this will retain water for longer.

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Small cacti in clay pots on an indoor table
Small cacti in clay pots on an indoor table

Move house plants outside

Leaving house plants outdoors will expose them to the regular rain showers, typical of British summers. Place the plants in a shady spot, so they don’t scorch, but leave orchids and other particularly tender plants inside.

Carrying a tray of houseplants outdoors
Carrying a tray of houseplants outdoors