Indoor plants can survive up to 4 weeks without water before they will start to suffer. How long plant can go without water will depend on the species, weather conditions and position in your home. Outdoor drought tolerant plants can survive on their own with just rainfall while vegetables will need regular water during warm weather.
This article will explore how long a variety of plants can go without water so you can plan your vacation or choose the plant that suits your watering schedule.
How long succulents and cactus can go without water
Succulents and cactus plants are known to be some of the most drought tolerant of all. Some cactus varieties can last for 1-2 years without extra water as they store water in their central trunk. These plants are designed to reduce the loss of water through the formation of adjusted leaf forms and spines.
Succulents are also incredibly drought tolerant and most will live outdoors on their own with just rainfall. Indoor succulents may only need a light water every month to keep the soil slightly most. They can easily last 6 weeks without water if you plan on heading off on a long vacation.
How long indoor plants can go without water
Most indoor plants including monstera, pothos, ZZ plants and philodendron can last for 4 weeks without water. Once the plant is larger and established it will store water in its leaves and stems ready for a dry spell.
Plants that are growing in good quality potting soil will also last longer as the soil will hold water and well. Watering before you go away will keep your plant happy for around 4 weeks in mild weather.
For more on how frequently to water monstera, check out this previous article: How long monstera can go without water | Keep them alive for 4 weeks
To keep indoor plants growing well without extra water remember to:
- Water the soil thoroughly before leaving the plant
- Move the plant away from windows
- For extra long trips, place your indoor plants in the bathtub on top of a damp towel
How long palms can go without water
Palms are usually drought hardy depending on the variety and will survive well for a month without extra water. Hardy palms like golden cane palm prefer to be deep watered and then allowed to dry out. This means that potted palms or those growing in the ground will survive well for 4 weeks without extra water.
In very hot summers, you may need to increase the amount of water your palm is getting to keep it happy. Plant palms in a part-shade position to keep them growing well with less water.
How long drought tolerant shrubs can go without water
Drought tolerant shrubs are my favorite choices for growing in my garden. These can fill out any gaps and survive for up to 6 weeks without water. There are lots of great options available including Westringia, Gaura, African daisies, Bottlebrush, broom plants and silver bush.
Plant drought hard shrubs in fall to allow them to settle in over the cooler months. Their roots will establish and by summer they will survive with a top up of water every 4 weeks.
How long fruit trees can go without water
Fruit trees including citrus, apples, pears, mango and apricots like regular water during the spring and summer growing season. Small trees in pots will need water every 2 weeks during the heat of summer but can survive up to a month without water in winter and fall.
Large trees will grow long, deep tap roots that will reach down to the lower levels of soil and help the tree to survive dry spells. Always surround fruit trees with a 3 inch layer of bark or straw mulch to help to keep water in the soil for longer.
3 Indoor plants that survive the longest without water
Here are the top 3 plants for indoors that will survive the longest without water. These are three of favorites and are a great option if you are new to growing plants indoors or travel often.
ZZ plants are my favorite for a drought tolerant indoor plant. These plants grow in deep shade and only need to be watered every 4 weeks. They grow from a potato-like rhizome which helps the plant to store water over long period of time. These plants are more likely to be overwatered than underwatered.
Keep a look out for black marks on the stems and leaves s this can mean the plant is getting too much water. They grow fairly slowly but will reward you with new, long stems in spring.
Snake plants are another hardy plant that looks great indoors and can survive for at least 4 weeks without water. Plant them out into good quality potting mix into a pot with at least 5 drainage holes. Put the pot inside a cachepot which is a stylish outer pot without drainage holes. It will catch the drips and help to protect your furniture.
Lucky bamboo is an easy care plant and despite the name is a actually a dracaena rather than a bamboo. These are super drought hardy and only need water every month or so. They should be planted into potting soil that hold water well.
Lucky bamboo can be twisted and plaited to make a cool pattern and they will still survive if you forget to water them. Place them in a bright position but out of direct sunlight.
How Long Plants Can Go Without Water | Summary
Established plants in larger pots or in the ground will survive longer than young plants in small pots. Drought hardy plant options are great for saving water and mean that you may only need to add extra water every 4 weeks.
Many of my favorite plant options grow well without extra water and will live even if I forget to water them. Try one of my, 3 favorite drought tolerant plants for indoor out outdoors to save you on watering.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.