The Q&A Archives: Watering Plants During Vacation

Question: I've heard about small, water-absorbing beads that you can mix into your soil to retain water. We're going on vacation for two weeks; would these work to keep my container plants moist for that whole time?

Answer: The co-polymer granules you describe have received mixed reviews. It's true, they do absorb water. But plant roots must actually grow into them to be able to extract the moisture. And if you use too many, they can push a plant right out of a pot when they absorb all the fluid they're capable of absorbing. Another option is to fill liter bottles with water and plunge the tops down into the soil. The water will slowly seep into the soil. Before leaving on vacation be sure to test whatever method you choose.

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