Moisture Meters for Plants

Written by bonnie grant
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Moisture Meters for Plants
There are many different types of water gauges on the market that can help you care for your potted plants. (Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Moisture meters are a godsend for those with difficulty determining plant water needs. Plants don't have perfect instructions. Care for different plants will vary dependent on species, location and numerous other factors. Moisture meters take the guesswork out of watering and reduce it to a simple fact-based process. Moisture meters are best used for potted plants, since it is difficult to get accurate readings in an area as big as the garden bed.

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Indicator Strips

Soil indicator strips are reusable and use a chemical reaction to assess the moisture level of the soil. They can be pushed into the soil, and the bottom of the strip gathers moisture. This will spread at a determined rate up to the coloured level. If the strip turns green, it means there is adequate moisture. When it turns white, it is time to water. The indicator needs to be pushed all the way down for plants that like it on the dry side and pulled up higher for plants that require more moisture.

Gauge Reader

The gauge reader is probably the most common water meter. It has a probe on one end and a gauge or scale on the other. It may have words such as dry or wet, or the meter may show the result with numbers. For example, a 1 might mean dry and a 10 might mean wet. There are cheaper or very expensive models, and some are not very accurate. Accuracy is an issue even with expensive models due to saline variance which can throw off the sensor.

Moisture and Light Meter

This is a top-of-the-line type gauge that will indicate when it's time to water and when light levels are sufficient. There is a gauge for water assessment and a light spectrum dial. As with most meters, you put the sensor into the soil and leave it there for a minute or so to register the moisture level. The light meter is held up to the leaves to gauge the level of light. It will give a reading of low light, medium light, etc. -- usually on a scale of A through H.

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