If you have made vacation plans or have to leave the city for work urgently, how will you take care of your indoor plants? You would wish you have a reliable friend or neighbour who looks out for your indoor plants while you are away. If you have someone to back you up, you are so lucky. You do not have to worry about watering the indoor plants. But what if all your friends live far away and there is no one to look after the indoor plants? Fret not!
Today, we will go over some automatic watering systems. You can set up these while you are away on vacation and return home to the same healthy indoor plants.
How Much Water do Your Indoor Plants Need?
First things first, you must be aware of the approximate amount of water your plants need. You need to figure this out even if a friend opts to come over to water the indoor plants. The automatic watering systems we will discuss below require a specific water supply that they deliver to the indoor plants. Therefore, determining the amount of water for automated systems is equally crucial as well.
The supply of water your plant needs depends upon many factors. These comprise the plant type, size, age, the growing stage, the month of the year, weather, and indoor conditions. The size and material of your pot also contribute to how much water your plant needs.
To determine the amount, you will need to study your own watering pattern a week before leaving. Make notes of how often you water your indoor plants and the amount of water each plant takes. Use this information to adjust the water supply needed according to the days you will be away for.
Does your Plant Need Automatic Watering System?
Watering needs vary from plant to plant. Some indoor plants require constant watering to keep their soil moist, and an automatic watering system is best suited for them. However, some plants, such as orchids, do not need constant watering and need to dry their roots between each watering.
You can leave such plants for a week without water, especially in their resting period. However, you would still need someone to water them from time to time if you are away for a long period.
Automatic Plant Watering Systems
An automatic watering system helps keep your indoor plants hydrated without worrying about watering them while you are away. These are vital for a plant that requires constant watering to keep its soils moist. So, let’s dive straight into the details of 7 automatic watering systems you can set up.
1-) Drip System
You can keep your indoor plants hydrated while you are absent with the help of a simple Drip System. The system is easy to make, using only a plastic or glass bottle. The size of the bottle would depend on the size and watering need of your plant.
You would need a small bottle for smaller indoor plants and drill a few small holes in the cap. Fill the bottle with water and put the lid on. Water the plant once and then plunge the bottle upside down into the soil so that the soil covers the holes in the cap.
For larger indoor plants, you would require a larger bottle, preferably wine or a similar bottle. The difference is that you do not drill holes in the cap for large plants. Just fill the bottle with water and plunge it into the soil upside down. Be careful not to spill water in the soil while plunging it to avoid excessive watering.
If you do not have old bottles lying around, you can use a watering globe instead. That provides a slow and steady water supply to your indoor plants. Watering globes, however, are only effective for a shorter vacation. Increasing the number of globes would only harm your plants as the simultaneous supply rises.
2-) Plant Baths
If you are looking for an automatic watering system that requires fewer resources, a plant bath will suffice. It would be best if you filled up your bathtub, or your sink, with several inches of water and place the plant pots inside it. Please make sure the pots have a hole underneath them for this to work.
However, this system runs the risk of damaging your bathtub or sink. It is advisable to use a towel or other soft material under the pots. You might also have the tub or sink in such a place where sunlight does not reach. It will affect the health of the indoor plants. This system only runs well with small plants because larger plants become troublesome to lift.
3-) Small Greenhouses
The concept behind the greenhouse watering system is to cover the plant with a plastic bag. This bag collects all the moisture made by the evapotranspiration of the plant. That eventually drips back into the soil and waters the plant.
This miniature greenhouse is easy to make, and you will only need a plastic bag and a couple of sticks. Make sure the bag is big enough to cover the plant, and you use sticks to keep the bag away from the indoor plants. You can also inject some air into the bag before sealing it to ensure there is enough room inside.
4-) Wick System
The wick is another automatic watering system you can set up. You would need an empty container to fill with water and absorbent material that would act as a wick. This material could be anything from a rope, candle wicks, cotton to even a cloth strip.
The type of absorbent you use depends on the period you’re away for. Cotton is usually the best absorbent. However, you might end up using synthetics if you are going away for a longer duration. It is because they are immune to rotting.
You start by dipping one end of the wick to the very bottom of the container holding water. Drop the other end a few inches into the soil. Ensure the wick’s end in the water container reaches the base to ensure all of the water gets utilized in watering. Moreover, remember to water the soil once before putting the other end of the wick into the soil.
5-) Capillary Mat
This automatic watering system is a combination of the wick system and the plant bath. The basic idea behind this is to transfer water from a reserve to the indoor plants using an absorbent material.
What you’re going to need to prepare the capillary mat is:
- A large tray
- A piece of absorbent fabric such as cotton of considerable size
- An inch thick Styrofoam, designed to fit all edges of the tray
- Tacks to secure Styrofoam to the absorbent fabric
You have to start by filling the tray with water. Such that the fabric absorbs the water, as some part of it would be in the tray. Place the plant pots over the fabric that would act as a wick.
Please make sure the plant pots have drainage holes underneath them to make this work. Ensure that the fabric remains in contact with the water for as long as you’re gone. It will warrant all the water transfers to the indoor plants.
6-) Self-Watering Pots
The solutions we have discussed above to water your plants involved transfer water to the existing pot. But with self-watering pots, you have to change the pot itself. These pots come built-in with watering systems that keep your indoor plants hydrated to the right amount.
These self-watering pots have a reservoir that you must fill with water. The system then automatically delivers water from this reserve whenever the plant wants it.
You can even create a self-watering pot yourself. To begin with, you ought to have a container without holes at the bottom. The bottom-most area of the pot would be your reservoir, filled with water. It would help if you separated the reservoir from the pot’s remaining size that would include the soil. You can do this by adding a barrier. Then you must add a pipe that runs vertically between the soil and the reservoir to act as a watering shaft.
7-) Smart Watering Solutions
Those who do not like to invest their time into making automatic watering systems might want smart watering solutions. These incorporate smart technology to keep your indoor plants hydrated.
They follow the drip system and can water more than one plant pot at once. With a large water reservoir, you can water indoor plants according to the supply each of them needs. You can change the setting of the supply through each drip at any time.
We know you care for your indoor plants and water them daily to ensure healthy growth. But sometimes you have to leave your house for a considerable duration. Having someone look after your indoor plants regularly is one way to keep your indoor plants healthy. But mostly, that is not the case. The automatic plant watering systems we have discussed above provide an alternative solution. Implement any of these and spend your holidays or see your business without worrying about your indoor plants!
Also Read: How to Get Rid of Bugs in Houseplants