This Under-$20 Amazon Hack Is My Secret for Keeping My Dozens of Houseplants Alive While on Summer Vacation

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Now that I'm in my 30s, I have fully leaned into the "plant mom" aesthetic. With over 25 indoor houseplants around my home and a full-fledged balcony garden where I grow everything from jalapeños and strawberries, to potted fruit trees and four different types of mint, I take my green thumb very seriously—especially now that I have finally figured out how to prevent plants from dying a slow, sad, and crusty death (RIP to all of the plants I killed before—I didn't know any better!)

Perhaps the thing that has saved my plants from their early graves was my discovery of watering bulbs. As someone who travels a lot, my plants tend to suffer during the summer months when my Los Angeles apartment gets a tad too warm for their liking and they inevitably get a little parched. To remedy this, I lean on a collection of plastic and glass bulbs that you fill with water and stick into the planter for plants to drink at a later date—and they have totally helped keep my plants alive while I am gone.

How do watering bulbs work?

Watering bulbs are sort of what they sound like: round, bulb-shaped objects that automatically water plants. They are usually made from glass or a thick and durable plastic material and feature a straw-like stake that allows them to drain into a planter when plants get thirsty.

To fill them up, you simply flip them over and pour water through the straw stake until the bulb reaches capacity. Then, to add them to a planter, insert the stake into the soil. Some soil should lodge its way into the bottom of the stake, acting like a loose stopper so that the water doesn’t immediately drain out. The bulb-shaped design prevents water from pouring out as it creates a vacuum effect and slows down the flow of water. Over time, as the soil starts to dry, this sort of turns off that vacuum and allows more water to trickle down to thirsty roots.

My favorite watering bulbs for houseplants

Last year, in preparation for summer travel, I ordered a few watering bulbs from Amazon on a whim. While I initially planned to only use them when away, they ended up becoming permanent fixtures in my plant pots, as they not only make it possible to stick with somewhat of a watering schedule while away, but also help ensure parched plants get the nourishment they need in order to thrive without the threat of human error (aka, my forgetful mind). After testing several options, here are the two watering bulbs I swear by for keeping plants alive.

The first are the Ahhute Glass Watering Globes ($19) which I admit that I initially bought for their looks. I mean, how adorable are those heart-shaped bulbs?!

But, much to my satisfaction, their fun design was the least impressive thing about them. These glass watering globes are constructed from a durable glass that feels lightweight but not too delicate, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally shattering one while placing it in a planter. At about $7 per bulb, they check all of my boxes for quality and style. And if hearts aren't your thing, they also come in several other styles, including classic round bulbs, trendy mushroom-shaped globes, and an adorable, green cactus design.

If you have a lot of houseplants like me, you likely want something with even more value. In addition to the glass figurine bulbs, I also have several packs of these FashionClubs Aqua Globes ($8), which come in a set of four for under $8.

These cheap watering globes are constructed from a durable PVC material and are a little smaller in size compared to the above bulbs, making them the perfect pick for smaller houseplants. Since they're affordable and come in a pack of four, I can buy a few and not break the bank, perfect for expanding my collection of plant babies on a budget.

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