So your're going on vacation soon, and you wonder "what about my plants?"

Plants thoroughly watered and drained the day before you leave can get along very well for three or four days. Place them out of sunlight or draw the shades. Some plants such as pothos, Chinese evergreen, variegated peperomia, jade, cacti and other succulents, do very well for extended perods without water. On the other hand, Ivy, false aralia, fatshedera and fatsia, for example, need to be moist at all times.

Care during long vacation periods will require some preparation in advance.

If you are going on an extended vacation of 10 days or longer, several options are open to you.

Engage a plant sitter. Individual pot labels or other written instructions should be left to guide the sitter.

Arrange with a knowledgeable friend to take over in your absence; you can return the favor someday.

If you havae only a few plants, it may be easier to move them to a friend's house for the duration. I recently cared for a dozen newly potted African violets - like caring for the children or feeding the cat - while a friend attended a college reunion.

Send the plants to a plant hotel. You may have to telephone several places to locate a greenhouse or garden center offering this service. The plant hotel listed in the Virginia telephone directory is currently building new facilities and is not accepting paying guests at this time.

For a few plants and a shout trip of a week or 10 days you can easily manage without resorting to any of the above alternatives. Plants that grow best in subdued light can be enclosed in plastic bags - a small plant in a food bag from the dry cleaner. The day before you are to leave, water each plant thoroughly and let it drain. Cover the plant with the bag and tuck the ends under the pot; or slip the plant into the bag and tie the top with string or elastic. Several small plants can be arranged together in a dry cleaner's bag. Use stakes in the pots, or contrive a prop of some kind to hold the plastic away from the leaves of the plant. It is a good idea to remove the flowers from bollming plants, for example from African virlets, so that falling petals won't lie on the leaves.

Place the bagged plants in a cool place without sunlight.

Moisture given off by the plant will condense on the bag run down the inside to the bottom and be absorbed in the pot and soil again.