Gardening Tips

The 3-Tool ‘Please Stay Alive’ Kit You Need for Healthy Houseplants

Photo: Getty Images / SrdjanPav
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Raise your hand if you killed a houseplant in the past year. (Don't worry—no one is looking.) If your rock-solid routine of doing nothing with your plants but watering them only when you don't forget isn't working out, it might be time to invest the essential tools everyone needs for healthy indoor plants.

Aside from your watering can, there are three essential indoor plant tools to add to your kit: a water meter, pruning sheers, and a spray bottle. Here's why you need one of each, according to the pros.

3 essential indoor plant tools

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1.  Moisture Meter

How much you should water your plant depends on the type of plant you have, how much light it gets, and the time of the year. Giving your plant the same amount of water once a week won't allow your plant to thrive. First, look up your plant and see how often it likes to be watered. Does it want constantly moist soil? Does it want a drink when it's somewhat dry or when it's fully dry? Once you've nailed that down, a moisture meter will let you see when your plant is ready.

“Water meters can be incredibly helpful! They are easy to read and save you from sticking your fingers deep into the potting mix to check for moisture,” says Erin Marino, director of brand marketing at The Sill. “I find that they are incredibly helpful for larger plants, where digging a finger into the soil isn’t as feasible. I definitely recommend it for anyone who tends to overwater their plants! You’d be surprised how long your regular potting mix can hold moisture for.”

2. Tula Plants & Design Niwaki Mainichi Secateurs

Those sad, yellow-brown leaves aren't coming back and letting them hang around is doing a disservice to your plants, explains Bloomscape. Dead or dying leaves can lead to mold and pests and can suck up nutrients that will better serve healthy leaves. Regularly pruning your plants can help prevent this. Pruning is also good for maintaining a certain shape for your plant and propagating new plants, adds Marino.

“Most leafy plants can benefit from the occasional pruning, and you might find yourself benefiting, too,” she says. “Sometimes that pruned foliage—if healthy—can be propagated into an entirely new plant. My favorite plant to prune and propagate is the Pothos, because I can easily propagate trimmed stems in water.”

3. Williams Sonoma Copper Plant Mister

Your plant mister will get way more use than you think it will. First and foremost, you can spritz your tropical plants with water to mimic rainforest humidity. “I keep a glass spray bottle filled with water and essential oils so that I can mist my plants daily,” says Rachel Mayo, the plant expert behind @growinthelight. “I sometimes even spray them twice daily.”

You can also use a spray bottle to dispense a DIY solution for pest control, explains Jesse Waldman, director of marketing and e-commerce at Pistils Nursery in Portland, Oregon. Double-check that your plant isn't sensitive to soap and mix a small amount of gentle soap with hot water and spray it on your plants.

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