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This One Inexpensive Gadget Will Save Your Indoor Plants

plant soil meter

While I’ve always had somewhat of a green thumb when it comes to outdoor gardening, keeping my indoor plants alive has been a totally different story! I love having them around for their plethora of benefits, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of taking care of them.

While some err on the side of accidentally neglecting their plants for weeks at a time, I have the opposite problem. My main issue is over-watering, and as I’ve come to witness first-hand, over-watered plants just don’t thrive!

Like people, plants need both water and air to live. While a plant’s roots draw water out of the ground around them, they also depend on the oxygen that exists in the spaces between the particles of soil. This is the air they breathe, so too much water can effectively drown a plant!

After a prolonged period of constantly wondering whether I was over- or under-watering, I figured there had to be a better way! There was, as it turned out, in the form of a handy gadget called a soil meter.

plant soil meter

How A Soil Meter Can Save Your Indoor Plants

There are different types of soil meters with different capabilities, but the one I’ll refer to in this section is the Sonkir 3-in-1 Soil Meter. It is designed to monitor the conditions of your soil (either in your indoor pots or out in the garden) in order to help you identify how to best take care of your plants.

Initially, I was mostly interested in using this meter to monitor the moisture of my plants’ soil. All I have to do is just stick the probes into the soil, let it do its thing for a few minutes, and in no time I know exactly whether the soil is too dry, too wet, or fine as is. No more guesswork, and best of all, no more sad, drowned plants!

plant soil meter

But wait, there’s more—in addition to measuring moisture, this meter can monitor soil pH and lighting conditions too. Soil pH isn’t quite as significant a factor as water and light when it comes to the health of indoor plants, but I’m looking forward to using outside once it gets warmer to help fine tune the soil conditions in my flower beds and vegetable garden!

But even if you only have indoor plants, you’ll definitely find the sunlight exposure meter useful! If a particular plant doesn’t seem to be thriving, you can use the light meter to find a sunnier (or perhaps shadier) spot for it. Each type of plant likes a certain amount of light, so be sure to do your research on the requirements of the varieties you have in your home.

I like this particular soil meter because it uses two needles (the probes that you insert into the soil), making the moisture and pH readings super quick and accurate. It also doesn’t require any batteries (or any electricity, for that matter) — always a plus!

plant soil meter

How To Use The Sonkir 3-in-1 Soil Meter

  1. Use the switch at the top of the meter to select what you’d like to measure: moisture, pH, or light.
  2. Gently insert the probes about 2-4 inches deep in the soil you want to test, avoiding things like super hard soil and rocks that could damage the probe.
  3. Leave the meter alone for about 10 minutes, then check the reading.
  4. Finally, remove the probes from the soil and wipe them clean using a damp cloth.

This soil meter couldn’t be easier to use, and I love not having to guess whether or not I’m meeting the needs of my plants. If you’ve been having similar struggles with your indoor plants, I would highly recommend looking into getting a soil meter of your own! :-)

Helpful Resources For Plant Lovers

  • There are so many great resources for gardeners and plant lovers online, and there’s no shortage of friendly folks willing to answer questions and help out where they can. Here are a few of my favorite resources for learning more about plant care:
  • Check out Happy Happy Houseplant (@happyhappyhouseplant) on Instagram for beginner-friendly tips and beautiful photos.
  • The Garden Answer channel on YouTube has easy-to-follow video tutorials for maintaining happy, healthy plants.
  • Plants and Lifestyle with Harli G is another great YouTube channel, featuring longer videos that will deepen your understanding of many plant-related topics.
  • Talk to the experts at your local garden center! They can share valuable insight about growing plants in your specific area and climate.
  • My houseplants series 

Do you have any tips or tools to share that can make plant care easier?


Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • I’ve been in the plant business for many years. I always recommend either a pencil or wooden chopsstick to check moisture. Stick it in the soil, if it comes out with no soil stuck to it, water. If it comes out with soil stuck to it then the plant does not need water.

  • I have always relied on good drainage, good potting mix, and using the touch method. If you press your finger into the soil and it feels dry, it’s time to water. I also have better results with using a saucer or clear plastic saucer instead placing the plant in a glazed ceramic pot without drainage. Not allowing the roots to sit in standing water is critical.

  • I like this idea. I showed it to my folks. The one thing that I would worry about – using them for our Garden. We live in an area where we can get strong winds and very heavy rains. I’m glad you can find these at Home Depot etc for a lot less than the Amazon price. With the possible need to replace them because of severe weather. We live in the Midwest which is prone to this type of crazy weather.

  • I broke down and bought a water meter, I thought I would give it one more chance. My finger stuck into the soil for dryness still works better! I take good care of my nails, but in this case, my plants are more important! Another thing I do, is bottom water my plants. No matter how careful I was in watering, I was always teetering on too much water. My plants wouldn’t dry out enough, and a light, damp soil mold would develop. Bottom watering is the remedy. Also helps with gnats!

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