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JLeslie's avatar

What should I use to water my plant when I’m away?

Asked by JLeslie (65074points) May 24th, 2023 from iPhone

I have a few lemon trees in my house that I started from seeds. They’re a couple of years old and about two feet high.

They are surprisingly very little work. The longest I have left them alone is 5 days, and when I come home they look great, no droopy leaves. Luckily, I have not forgotten to water them right before I travel.

If I left for more than 5 days I’m afraid it might put a strain on the plants from lack of water.

From what I’ve read, I need to be really careful not to overwater and especially not to let the soil stay wet for an extended period. Typically, I water the plants 2–3 times a week.

What are your best suggestions for watering when I am away?

My lemon trees don’t seem to do very well outside.

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14 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

My first thought was to pay a trusted neighbor’s kid $20 to watch the house, get the mail, water your plants etc.

jca2's avatar

If it’s in a pot, bring it to a friend’s house and leave it there while you’re gone. Instruct the friend on how much to water and it will be very little effort for her or him.

JLeslie's avatar

Last year I brought it to a neighbor. I was gone about 5 weeks.

If I can find a solution for when I’m gone 7–14 days without having to move it or trouble someone else, I’d like to do that instead.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
ragingloli's avatar

You could stick an upside down water bottle into the soil.

JLeslie's avatar

@ragingloli I’ve read about this before, but I was afraid it keep the soil very wet for many days in a row.

jca2's avatar

There are glass water bottle plant watering things that probably do a trickle, @JLeslie. I still think the easiest thing would be having someone reliable do it in their house. Does it need water every day or just every few days?

JLeslie's avatar

Every few days. A lot of my friends travel a lot. My neighbor who took it into her house was gone for 5 days during the time she watched it. The plant wasn’t as happy in her house, but it survived ok. Takes a bit to figure out which window has good sun, and it’s a pretty big pot. Plus, I will be leaving too often to ask all of the time.

I could put it outside on my patio too. It didn’t love being there, but it will probably live.

jca2's avatar

You could leave it on your deck and ask someone to come over every few days to water it, like a neighbor who lives within a few houses of your house, so it’s not like someone has to drive there.

JLeslie's avatar

On my patio I can probably position it for my irrigation to hit it a little. The one time I tried it on my patio it got some ants crawling on it. I sprayed it and brought it back inside.

longgone's avatar

I just took care of my neighbour’s lemon tree, and I forgot one of the scheduled waterings. So, this lemon tree (about 1.2 meters, so roughly 4 feet high) was without water for 8 days. When she came back, my neighbour said the tree looked healthier than she’s seen it in a long time, and that it might be getting too much water at every six days. It does seem very healthy right now, and it’s producing lots of lemons. So…what if you gently tested out if your trees can last longer without water? You’ll know if they start getting stressed.

For getting more time, you could find a way to have the last watering (right before you leave) be a trickling one. Plastic bowl with a pinprick hole? String leading to the pot from a bowl of water? Something like that.

Alternatively, just buy a plant watering timer like this.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone Thank you! This goes along with what I read about lemon trees and to be careful not to overwater. Eventually, it would be too long though. Maybe If I am gone two weeks the plant is ok with one watering.

I wish there was some little battery operated thing that would release water into the pot at once. Everything seems to be a drip or constant moisture.

Smashley's avatar

Don’t forget that you live in the future, and someone has made several electronic solutions.

It’s probably cheaper to get a neighbor kid to do it, but this, or something like it, should do the job.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I own two of these .Orbit Water Timer to control the water to my fish pond. You can control how long the water runs in one minute increments, and how often from up to 4 times per day to once per week. You can also control the start time. I add water to my pond every morning at 5 am for 45 minutes before the sun comes up and heats the hose water. In the spring and fall I have it add water in the afternoon so the water is warmed. They cost $40 and are well worth it.

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