Solution #1: Drip water irrigation system

This cheap solution only requires one plastic bottle for each houseplant. For potted trees, you may want to double-bottle to make sure water is dispensed evenly.

Tips: Make sure each planter is saturated with water before inserting the plastic bottle. Otherwise, the bottle will quickly empty.

If water flow is being blocked by compacted dirt, glue a tiny piece of screen to the bottle opening to prevent clogs.

Why we like:
Easy, quick fix
Trip length: 3 days
Set-up time: 5 minutes per plant

If you don’t like the look of upended water bottles, here’s an elegant alternative: aqua globes.

  • Globes are available in two sizes, so make sure the style you purchase is appropriate for your plant.
  • The planter needs to be saturated with water before you insert the globe.
  • To avoid the impacted dirt at the tip, imbed the globe at an angle.

Why we like: It’s a pretty and easy solution that can be used 24/7.
Trip length: up to 3-5 days
Set-up time: 3 minutes per plant

Solution #2: String watering system

A wick-edly good idea that uses cotton or nylon string. But I learned that if you only have thin cord, braid it so it holds water better. I also learned that if you use a string that’s not 100% water absorbent, it’ll fail.

Just remember to use a container filled with water appropriate for your plant’s size.

Why we like: Easy, quick fix
Trip length: 3 days
Set-up time: 5 minutes per plant

Solution #3: A DIY electronic-sensored watering system

Perfect for advanced DIYers who like working with electronics, this low-tech system uses sensors to detect when the soil is dry. You just have to remember to water the machine once in a while.

Why we like: It’s a neat and nerdy solution for the lazy plant lover.
Trip length: up to 7+ days 
Set-up time: Once built, 2 minutes

Solution #4: Grobal hydroponic planter

A no-dirt-fix for small house and herb plants, this stylin’ system comes with everything you need to get started and is available in eight trendy colors.

Why we like: A designer solution for casual indoor gardeners with small plants.
Trip length: 3-7 days
Set up time: 5-10 minutes per plant

Tip: If you’re transplanting to the Grobal from a dirt planter, hold the exposed roots gently under running, room-temperature tap water. Once the dirt is washed away, cut off any dead roots and transplant into the hydroponic pot.

Solution #5: Oasis self-watering system

Oodles of houseplants? This automatic drip-watering system claims to keep up to 20 of your leafy and flowery friends happy.

Why we like: Operates independently of faucets and electrical outlets.
Trip length: Up to 40 days
Set-up time: Right out of box; plan on spending a few hours to set up the machine.

How do you keep your houseplants healthy and alive while you’re gone?