How to keep your house plants alive when you travel

There are pet sitters, of course, but do you hire someone to water your house plants while you’re on vacation?

Since I live in a New York City apartment building, I don’t usually bother asking anyone to pick up my mail or to water my plants when I’m gone. I hate to inconvenience friends, so unfortunately, I pay the price with dead plants (and stolen newspapers).

Though I rarely travel for longer than a week, I’ve killed two potted basil plants since June and recently had to throw out an orchid plant, which had shriveled up during my absence and was beyond salvation.

After feeling like a terrible person for neglecting my orchid, I was happy to come home from a recent trip and find that my two Clearly Good soil-free plants were still very much alive. Sadly, the rest of my plants looked a little parched. (R.I.P. orchid).

Small enough to sit on a windowsill, the Clearly Good plants help brighten apartments or office cubicles without the mess or maintenance of typical potted plants — and the leafy plants look a little more cheerful than, say, a cactus. The see-through vases also clearly indicate the water level, which only needs to be replenished once every 10 days.

These Clearly Good plants, which were introduced at select Lowe’s retail stores in August, are being rolled out to Lowe’s stores nationwide over the coming weeks.

Price: $12.98 each

Where to Buy: Go to to find a Lowe’s location near you. According to a Lowe’s spokesperson, the Clearly Good plants will become available for online purchase sometime next year.

Have you found other hardy house plants that can survive when you’re on vacation? Feel free to share.

[Photo by Amy Chen]