The biggest threat to your plants isn’t bugs or pests. It isn’t sunlight, or heat, or cold. While all of those things are important considerations to your plant’s health, they aren’t the reason most plants fail to thrive.
Believe it or not, it’s water.
Water, while essential to keeping your plants alive, is often the reason they struggle to stay healthy. In some cases, they aren’t watered enough and they die. And in many other cases, they get watered too much, and the soil is too wet. In that condition, there aren’t enough air pockets in the soil, the plant’s roots can’t breathe, and it drowns. In both cases, the way you water your plant can limit its beauty, health, and lifespan (check out our Watering Guide for the full scoop).
The truth is, watering your plant is more than just adding water to the soil. You’re checking and adjusting the moisture in the soil, and adding water when necessary to re-adjust to the optimal balance. Ideally, your plant enjoys wet and dry cycles, which alter the amount of oxygen in the soil and ensures the necessary water and nutrients get to the roots. When that cycle is disrupted or ignored, the plant suffers.
Nobody does this intentionally, of course. You try to check the soil and water accordingly. Unfortunately, the method you use to “check the soil” is often the reason you don’t get the results you want from your plants. Many people use the easiest soil-checker available – their fingers – to do a little digging and water according to what they find. It’s only a step above occasionally looking at the soil and judging based on what you see, and neither is particularly effective.
Since the watering cycle depends on a variety of factors (type of plant, type of soil, temperature, light, humidity among others), getting the moisture level right takes more than a quick look or dirty fingers. To do it right you’ll want a soil probe, which is a physical tool that you use to check all levels of the soil, down to the roots.
To accomplish this task, we recommend the Soil Sleuth. There are many reasons why it’s an important tool to keep on hand, but here are five that really show off its value.
Solve the Mystery.
You can’t check the top layer of soil, because, guess what? The top layer always dries out quicker than the rest of the soil. You need to gauge the amount of moisture in the root zone. You can’t depend on your fingers touching the top of the soil for the right answers, especially when it comes to larger plants. But a Soil Sleuth provides accurate information every time, and it doesn’t require batteries or any expert know-how to do its job. You simply push the Soil Sleuth into the soil, twist, and pull it back out. That’s it. It’s accurate, it’s easy, and it could save your plants.
Stay on Schedule.
When you first get a plant, having a Soil Sleuth is a perfect way to measure just how frequently it needs water. But over time, you’ll get to know its schedule on your own. Once you get used to its needs, should you keep using the Soil Sleuth?
Absolutely. Here’s why.
When you learn your plant’s moisture needs, you’re learning about what it needs in those specific circumstances. As discussed earlier, light, humidity, and a host of other factors contribute to a plant’s watering cycle. If any of those factors change, so will the cycle. What you thought you knew won’t apply anymore, and making assumptions can hurt your plant.
Even subtle changes can have a significant effect. Does your plant get more light at different times of the year based on seasonal changes? Is increased heat or air conditioning usage in certain months affecting the humidity levels in your home? Did you happen to move your plant to a different area? Has it grown since you first brought it home?
Any and all of those factors can impact its needs, and you’re back to guessing exactly how much. But with the Soil Sleuth, you’ll know every time. If the schedule needs to be adjusted, you’ll recognize it immediately, and can adjust right along with it. No matter what happens, you and your plant are always on schedule.
Gauge Your Soil Moisture.
The Soil Sleuth allows you to check the soil’s moisture level at different depths. When you insert the Soil Sleuth and twist, the notches capture multiple soil samples. Once you remove it, you can shake the samples into your hand and inspect each one. You’ll know exactly where the soil is dry, moist or wet, and you’ll avoid watering a plant that doesn’t need it. You’ll also know, without any doubt, when the soil is dry down to the roots and needs moisture. Each use of the Soil Sleuth gives you hands-on information at each level of your plant’s soil, so moisture will never be left to chance.
Safely Aerate the Soil.
When your Soil Sleuth shows that the soil is completely wet, that’s a sign not to water further, of course. But there’s more to it than that: That existing water eliminates the air pockets that your plant needs. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until it dries out to get your plant that necessary oxygen.
In those cases, you can use your Soil Sleuth to make several unobtrusive holes to help aerate your plant’s soil profile. It doesn’t take more time, tools, or skill. You’re just helping your plant stay healthy with the same easy method you already use to check the moisture.
While the watering cycle has an obvious effect on your plant, it impacts you as well. You don’t want to hurt your plant or be the reason it isn’t thriving, and getting the cycle just right can add stress for many people.
But those people don’t use a Soil Sleuth, because that stress goes away when you use one. You’ll know exactly when you need to water, when the soil needs to be aerated, and when to leave everything alone. That last action (or inaction) is just as important because you don’t want to drown your plant. You’ll know that everything is okay for now, your schedule is working, and you’re doing everything you can to keep your plant healthy. The Soil Sleuth helps you avoid mistakes and eliminates the stress of wondering what you need to do and when you need to do it.
It’s Right Here
At PLANTZ, we pride ourselves in helping you get the most out of your plant. That pride comes from doing a lot more than just selling you something. We want you to have the tools necessary to maximize your enjoyment and ensure a long, healthy life for your plant. Since the Soil Sleuth is a simple, cost-effective way to do that, it’s available right here. And if you have any questions about the Soil Sleuth or any other product we carry, we’re here for you. Just use our contact page for a prompt response.