Water Plants While Away on Vacation

I spent this past weekend in Highlands, North Carolina.  It was a fun getaway and the weather graciously cooperated giving us unseasonably warm temps.  I’ll share a few pics from the trip including the home where we stayed real soon.

While there, we had to do a little shopping.  That’s pretty much mandatory when you’re visiting Highlands.  There are lots of cute shops, some filled with antiques and others filled with little treasures like this.  It’s called the Plant Nanny.  Have you seen these before?

We’re coming up on vacation season in another couple of months, so I thought this could come in handy.  If you’re planning on taking a vaca and you’re concerned about how to keep all those plants watered, check this out.

Plant Nanny for Watering Plants While Away on Vacation


Here’s how it works.  You stick one of these little clay Plant Nanny stakes down into the plant you wish to keep watered while away.

Plant Nanny Water Plants While on Vacation


A little closer view…

Plant Nanny Water Plants While on Vacation


Then fill up an old wine bottle (that you may have stolen off your bottle tree) with water.  Place your finger over the opening of the bottle and turn it upside down, placing it into the clay cylinder/stake.  Notice how the stake is starting to get wet.

Keep Plants Watered While on Vacation


Make sure your plants are well-watered before leaving home for your trip.  While you’re away, as the soil begins to dry out and your plants need water, water will gradually leach out into the soil.  Cool, huh?  Now I haven’t officially tried this watering method while on vacation, but today I decided to give it a test to see how it works.  I’ll report back in a few weeks and let you know how it worked.

Keep Plants Watered While on Vacation


In the past, I’ve tried the glass globe thingies you see stuck in these tomato plants.  This system didn’t work well for me.  The water just ran out all at once within a day or two, even though the soil was still wet.

Tomato Plants on Deck


So, I’m hoping this system will work much better.  The owner of the shop where I purchased them said they work great. I just checked on Amazon and they are available there. You’ll find them here: Plant Nanny.

Keep Plants Watered While on Vacation

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  1. I haven’t seen this particular system but I have seen other similar systems. I think it is a great idea. I would just like a vacay long enough that my plants needed watering. 🙂 Hope you are well. I love in NC and have never been to Highlands. Maybe we will make it a point to do that soon. xxoo

  2. I haven’t seen these either but seems like a good idea. I don’t keep plants in my house. I’ve given up on that. Most of the pots in the yard have drip lines but it always seems like I have a few that would need this type of device when I leave home.

    • Laura, I’m planning on trying it for some of my plants on the deck this summer. I think it would be really good for my potted tomato plants that I never seem to keep well watered.

  3. Plus besoin de nounou !… On peut partir en vacances tranquillement en fermant la porte derrière soi !
    Gros bisous.

  4. LOL….my sistem was to ask my daughter to drive over twice to water the African Violets…that certainly didn’t work…unless watering them the day before the parents return counts! I am looking for a better system…children are too busy to worry with plants…she did, however, keep our dog entertained!

  5. I haven’t used this system, but I improvised something similar for my container vegetable garden last summer. I cut the bottom off plastic liter bottles and buried them about two-thirds down into the planter. Then, if we were going to be out of town foe a few days, I filled the upside down bottle with water. I had fair results. One bottle always drained immediately upon filling. The others actually seemed to seep out as needed. Your system is way cooler looking!

    • Ann, that was so smart of you to think of that! The glass globe things I tried always drained right away, too. Not sure why…maybe it depends on the soil density or something.

  6. Hi Susan, We love Highlands, NC also. We live in SC so it is not that far to travel for a day trip. However, one Sunday way back in our “Skinny” days we were there for the day (beautiful in the fall) and decided to stay for the night. The only available room there was a single in Highland’s Inn on Main St. Since we were young (and skinny) we took it and slept on a 3/4 bed that night. We always wanted to stay there and rock on the front porch but could not afford it so that was a golden opportunity for us to stay there. It was fun then, but I know we could not do it now without one of us rolling off the side of that 3/4 bed… lol We have not been to Higlands in a while but will plan a trip now that you have reminded me of the fun.

    • What a great story and a special memory! Have you noticed how the times when things aren’t quite so perfect always make for the best memories later? When you’re young, you sleep close together anyway. 🙂

  7. Snowy Trees says

    Oh gosh, now I know how to recycle those bottles of Blackberry wine from Grinder’s Switch! Looks like it will work great because the clay should be sensitive to the moisture content and the wine bottle ought to be large enough to cover a fairly long vacation. Great find, Susan. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  8. I bought something similar right before we left on a 21 day trip. They worked great! I came home to happy and healthy plants. FYI, I used plastic water bottles and one liter soda/tonic bottles from my recycle bucket.

  9. Hi, I just have an unrelated question. The last couple weeks I have been looking at your blog there appears a “Texas” ad all the way around your blog on the top and both sides. Is this supposed to be there? Is this a sponsor of yours? I find it distracting from your blog and was wondering if there was something wrong on my end, or if it showed up this way for everyone? Thanks!

    • Lindsey, it is called a skin and it’s a background on the blog…not on your end. It will be there for about another week and then it will be gone. I wish you could see the whole picture back behind the blog…it’s really beautiful. At first when you scrolled down all the way to the end of the blog, you could see the whole picture but unfortunately now you can only see the sides.

      • I am so glad to know the Texas thing is not my computer. I have been trying to figure out how to get rid of it to no avail. I don’t have the sidebar from your website as it has disappeared behind the “skin” I guess. My friend has it show up on Home is where the Boat is for her but it doesn’t show up on that site for me. Cyberspace!!!! sometimes I just don’t get it! Thanks so much for the info-I will pass it on to my friend.

        • Sandi, that is strange. I can see the sidebar on both my home computer and on my iPad so I’m not sure why that isn’t showing up. You may want to hit CTRL and the number 0 to make sure you don’t have your screen enlarged. If your screen is enlarged, that will make the sidebar disappear off the page. Try a different browser too. You can download Chrome or Firefox and they usually work much better with a lot of blogs than Internet Explorer. Not sure which browser you are using but IE has been causing a lot of folks problems lately.

          • Thanks Susan. I use Google Chrome and Firefox but mostly Chrome. I don’t ever use IE so I don’t know why it’s happening. Your page shows up with 2″ on each side of my computer showing the Texas “skin”. What is on your side bar so I know what to look for-mostly it’s just blank space. Sometimes there will be an advertisement in the space-again thank you for all your help-sure will be glad when the skin is gone!!!

  10. Sandi Lee says

    I have never used this system but it looks great and I love the clay which will hold additional water. My neighbor used to water her roses by taking a gallon milk jug and poking 6-8 holes in the bottom with an ice pick. She filled it up, screwed on the lid and turned it upside down to get it outside to the plant then turned it right side up so the water came out slowly. She said it helped avoid black spot on the roses. Don’t know if it’s true or not but she had some beautiful rose bushes.

  11. Hi Susan,
    We live in Pisgah Forest (Brevard), NC…just down the way from Highlands & Cashiers. You’ll have to visit our little town next time you’re in the area. We’re known for our 200 plus waterfalls.


  12. I had some like that in the 70’s and I thought they worked well. Can’t wait to read how they worked for you! xo marlis

  13. Susan, those globe watering thingies didn’t work for me either. They would get clogged up with soil and the water couldn’t go through. clean those babies up and gave them to a thrift shop to resale to another “Tursting gardene!” I’m the neighbor everybody ask me to water their plants but my next door neighbor and I will water each others if away for a few days. Will have to look for the plant nanny..I’ve heard other gardeners talk about them. So what else did you buy while in the Highlands? Any new dishes for futue tablescapes?

    • lol No, no dishes. Prices are pretty high in Highlands. Hey maybe that’s why they call it Highlands. 😉 If you have trouble find the Plant Nanny, I saw some on eBay earlier today. I think the guy in the store in Highlands (called The Little Flower Shoppe) said the Plant Nanny was being discontinued. He only had a few of them. He had another style that were made by a local artisan for them, but I bought the Plant Nanny ones because they looked a big thicker and more heavy duty. He said they work great so we’ll see.

  14. SheilaG @ Plum Doodles says

    I grew up in Dillard, GA, not far from Highlands. Hubby & I have spend some weekends up there and in Cashiers. Have you been to Dry Falls- very pretty water fall, with a walkway underneath.
    The pottery watering things look like they should work well. I’ve tried the globe things, and always ended up with them clogged with dirt.

  15. Great idea!!! I’m ordering some Thanks!!!

  16. Great idea! I’m so jealous of your beautiful ivy! Mine never look that good. I never know if I’m watering them too much or too little. : )

  17. Years ago Joe and I went to Cachiers and Highlands and I LOOOOOVED it!!! At the time there was an amazing Oriental store there, in Highlands. It looked very small from the front but it went upstairs and outside and all over the place!!! I bought a beautiful Asain figurine that is still a favorite of mine. I will look for the plant nany too. Great idea. XO, Pinky

  18. Yea, I think it doesn’t show on a phone because it also doesn’t show on my iPad, either. Too funny about the soup. It was yummy! 🙂

  19. My plants on my patio do fine until the Santa Ana’s blow in. In one day it can get so hot and dry it can traumatize your plants that they just have a difficult time recovering. This sounds like an excellent way to resolve this issue. Oh, and maybe an excuse to drink a little wine.

  20. Greeat idea, I have seen others, but not this nany! I even had some years ago. Thanks Susan. Happy St. Pat’s week.

  21. what a great idea, can’t wait to see how it works.

  22. We have set up drip systems for the veggie gardens, flowerbeds and for the potted plants. All are on a timer. That way the water is consistent and we can pickup and leave at anytime. Also always use weed control fabric in all the beds. I spend NO time weeding or watering. So worth the extra effort when you set up the bed or garden plot. We believe in no maintenance gardening. All I do with the flowerbeds is mulch and plant more flowers and plants of course! We order all our supplies from Berry Drip Systems on line. Have a great week! Carol

  23. This is so clever, Susan! I’ll be trying it for sure.

  24. Hi Susan,
    Our garden club bought these for a fund raiser a couple of years ago. I have 4 that I use and they work great. They work great for raising money too, if anyone is interested! Never been to Highlands, but it’s on the list now.
    Thanks, Nancy
    P.S. the beef stew was incredible, thanks again.

  25. Great idea! My eye caught the beautiful wallpaper. It looks very similar to ours in our breakfast area and kitchen. Is it French Country? Sorry, could not help but notice it.

  26. Susan, I was reading the comments about the Texas skin on your blog. I couldn’t see it on my computer and it made me curious but then, I am always curious.
    I use a MacBook Pro and normally use Safari browser. I switched over to Chrome and Viola there it was. Now, I am wondering if the Iphone and Ipad default to Safari. That may be the explanation. Just thought you might also find that interesting.
    BTW, when I scroll to the bottom I see a beautiful mountain scene with a lovely river.
    Enjoyed the post!

    • I’m so glad you can see the full picture…isn’t it gorgeous! When my ad network first placed the “skin” on my site, you could scroll down and see the whole thing and I was really enjoying looking at it each day. But there was some kind of glitch and some of the buttons at the top of the blog didn’t work so they had to change it to a different type skin. Unfortunately, I can’t see the full pic in Chrome now…just see it on the sides. Wonder why you can see it and I can’t? lol It will only be there another week and then it’s gone.

  27. I’ll be anxious to see how this works for you — looks like a great idea! I have also tried the globes without success. What I have done in the past, is to put all my plants in one of the bathtubs and add a few inches of water. This worked well when we went to Spain for 2 weeks.

  28. I use the plant nanny both indoors and outdoors… they do a great job, even when I’m home!!

  29. Did this work well? I’m eager to know.

    • I’m using it currently in my two large urns on my deck to keep my knock out roses watered. I haven’t really had a chance to test it because we’ve been getting daily rain for weeks…too much rain! I have noticed the water seems to drain slowly from the bottles which is what I would hope it would do. If we ever get some non-rainy days where I can really see how it does, I’ll let you know.

  30. Susan, I searched a few different terms (under search on your blog) to find out if the Plant Nanny worked for you. Is there a follow-up post? Can you give me the date for it? Thanks.

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