Over watering plants is just as bad for them as under watering, but it's less obvious. When a plant is thirsty, the soil is dry and crumbly to the touch. The plant starts to drop and look unhealthy. When it's had too much water, though, the plant may look okay, but the roots may be drowning. Once the roots no longer work, the plant will die.
If the surface of the soil is dry, the deeper soil -- the soil down by the roots -- may still be soaked.
I use a moisture meter to make sure I don't make that mistake. The meter has a probe on one end and a gauge on the other. I plunge it quickly into the soil and it tells me how wet it is in there. If it's too wet, I don't water it.
For the past few months it seemed I watered everything perfectly -- the moisture meter said nothing was soaked. I was proud of that for a while, but then I began to think it just didn't seem right. So I picked up a new one to double check.
Here they are side-by-side in my ficus.
They give two completely different responses. I threw out the older one.
The lesson is to use a moisture meter if you can. And if your older one give strange results, it may be time to replace it.
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