It’s a question many of us ask ourselves! So, we went to our HortyGirl potted plant expert to get you some solid advice.

Soil moisture can be monitored in a few different ways. Below is one very simple and affordable tip for checking the moisture in your potted plants next time you ask yourself if you need to water your plants:

  1.  Use a wood or bamboo skewer to insert down into the soil (to the bottom of the pot or into the lower level of the soil area)
  2. Gently pull the skewer back out
  3. If the soil is very dry; the skewer will be more difficult to pull out and it will be dry to touch. (if extremely dry; you may need to hold the plant down into the pot so it does not all come out with the skewer) This means you need to water your plant.
  4. If the soil is damp; you will be able to feel the moisture on the skewer and the skewer should come out fairly easily. During longer daylight periods; most indoor plants will appreciate moist soil over damp soil.
  5. If the soil is moist; the skewer will be wet and come out easily. Typically, this means your plant does not need to be watered yet.
  6. If the soil is very wet; the skewer will come out easily and will have soil clinging to the skewer. DON’T water this plant until the skewer comes out dry.


  • If you have multiple plants that are wet; you will need to use a dry skewer with each plant.
  • Once the skewer is wet it will need to be set aside until it dries out to be used again.
  • Wood or bamboo skewers can be found in kitchen supply sections of grocery or dollar stores.
  • If you have large potted plants you will want to buy the longest skewers available so you can measure down into the lower level of soil in the pot.

HortyGirl Skewer for checking water levels - how do I know when to water my plants