If you love plants, you know how hard it can be when you get a tricky green baby - the one that just isn’t as easy as others. Picky flowers can sometimes be a pain to care for. This is especially relevant if they are temperamental and droop or drop their leaves at the slightest inconvenience. But you know one of the most common concerns of picky plants? It’s their soil dampness. Many of us never seem to know whether our plant is too dry, too wet, or just right.

Maintaining adequate soil wetness can be difficult to achieve, but you can make it easier with the help of this tool.

What is a Moisture Meter?

A moisture meter

A moisture meter, as its name describes, is used to measure the percentage or amount of humidity or water in a substance or material, like soil. A moisture meter can be used in several industries to measure the dampness in different products. For gardeners and flower fanatics, though, it is used to ensure the best soil and care possible.

How Does a Moisture Meter Work?

A moisture meter works by using the principle of electrical resistance. With this principle, it measures the conductivity of your plant’s soil. Moisture meters have metal probes that work as conductors for the dampness in your ground. The moisture meter can determine the level of moisture in the soil, because liquid conducts electricity. The higher the moisture level, the higher the electrical currents are for the moisture meter. These levels will tell you whether your plant’s wetness is right for what it needs to thrive. Of course, the moisture meter cannot tell you how to care for your green buddy, but it can tell you that you need to make an adjustment to your watering protocol.
Different moisture meters can also measure different conditions, depending on the type of meter. A three-way moisture meter measures dampness, pH, and light conditions. 

Why Should You Use a Moisture Meter for Your Plants?

A moisture meter can be hugely beneficial to your plants and their soil. This is especially true for those who struggle with appropriately watering their flowers. With the help of this appliance, you can avoid the guesswork while ensuring that you don’t under- or over-water your precious green babies: you don’t have to rely on guesswork to know if the ground is too wet or dry.

It can be pretty tedious to measure your ground’s dampness by sight or touch. No more sticking your fingers in your plant’s ground to guess the wetness: by using a meter, you’ll get a much more accurate reading of soil moisture. 

An additional bonus? Using a moisture meter will give you a soil moisture reading that goes beyond a few inches of soil. They can typically give an accurate reading up to one foot below the soil’s surface, so you’ll know if the deeper levels of the soil are too wet or not. 

How to Use a Moisture Meter for Plants

How to use a soil moisture meter

Now that we know what a moisture meter is, how it works, and why it is a useful piece of equipment, let’s talk about how to use it to measure soil moisture.

Push the meter’s metal probe into your plant’s soil

  • Place the moisture meter probe above your plant’s soil, between the roots and the side of the pot. 
  • Gently push the top of the moisture meter to insert the metal probe about four-fifths of the way down into your plant’s soil. 
  • Be careful not to force its probe down, as it is sensitive. 

Wait thirty seconds to a minute

  • Typically, moisture meters will give you a reading after thirty seconds to a minute. 
  • If after a minute it does not give you a reading, remove it from the soil, wipe down the probe, and try inserting it in a different spot.

Read the results on the moisture meter

  • Once the tool has given you a result, it is time to read it.
  • Some meters will display the results in a display window on a numerical scale that represents wetness/dryness. Others may display the results on a scale of wet to dry. 
  • Most times, the scales on the soil moisture meter are color-coded to provide clarity. 

Interpret the results from the moisture meter

  • Once you have read the results on the moisture meter, you will need to interpret them in order to accurately water your plant and ensure proper wetness or dryness.
  • Moisture meters can’t tell you exactly when to water your plant, but they can help you determine how wet or dry your soil is to determine when the right time will be. 
  • Depending on your plant’s specific needs (and how wet or dry it needs to be), you will either need to dampen your plant or leave it a little while longer (and take a new reading with your soil moisture meter later). 
  • For example, if your plant likes to be kept moist, and the moisture meter has given you a reading of ‘dry,’ then you can water it more often or change the amount of H2O for each watering.


Plant care may not be that easy to deal with, especially when it comes to watering: it can be hard to tell whether your plant needs more or not. When a plant is tricky, you might need better tools to improve your care so it can really thrive. Moisture meters are a huge help in deciding when to water your plants again, or how to change the amount of H2O they get in each watering session. Although they do not tell you exactly when you will need to dampen your plant, meters have probes that are able to provide you with a more accurate reading than you would get from checking the soil with your finger. Perhaps in the future you’ll choose to improve your care now that you understand how a soil moisture meter can help when the going gets tough.