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How to Stop Killing Houseplants

Updated on April 22, 2013

Put an End to Houseplant Crimes

Let's face it - most of us are guilty of a houseplant crime or two.

Are you a serial plant killer? Have any houseplants expired under your watch? Are you afraid to care for another innocent plant life for fear you'll be an accessory to another senseless slaughter?

Finally, there is hope. A gadget is available that can provide a sure-fire method to keep houseplants green and thriving for even the most hideous plant perps. It's simple to use, inexpensive and just about fool-proof. Read on to discover how you too can turn over a new leaf and stop killing houseplants.

image credit-author

What's the Number One Cause of Houseplant Demise?

Death by Over Watering

It's a fact: more houseplants are killed from over watering than any other form of houseplant cruelty.

That's right more houseplants succumb to untimely deaths thanks to too much TLC.

You see, a plant needs water and without it, it will die. But, it also needs oxygen and it gets that from air pockets in the soil. Soil that is saturated with water contains little air, because the water has displaced the air pockets. Wet soil does not kill a plant as long a it's allowed time to dry out a bit. It's the constantly soggy soil that causes the problem. Continuously damp soil will rob the plant of oxygen and over time will suffocate the plant.

It's true: neglected houseplants often survive when overly pampered, heavily watered plants do not.

Photo credit - anthony gallo (Youtube) The Wacky Weed, a Walter Lantz Production

Rapitest Moisure Meter
Rapitest Moisure Meter

So When Should I Water my Houseplants?

Good Question

The symptoms for over watering are very similar to those of under watering and that's where all the problems begin. We see a plant drooping, fading in color or turning yellow and we assume it needs a drink quickly. Sadly, you would be misled if you thought it was thirsty. Instead, more often than not these symptoms are due to the plant choking from too much water.

Before you give your plants another drink, check the soil to see if it really needs more water. Remember, not all plants need water at the same time.

The best, sure fire way to know if the soil is dry is to use a moisture meter.

photo by author

Stop over watering. It kills.

Get Your Green Thumb Back Again

How to Stop the Killing Habit


Remember the mention of a gadget to help prevent unnecessary cruelty to plants?


It's a very simple, inexpensive moisture meter that accurately informs you if you should or should not water!


Of all the moisture meters on the market, Rapitest is my number one pick!

photo by author

The Rapitest Moisture Meter - The First Step in Rehab for Plant Perps

Statistics prove that more plants die at the hands of heavy handed waterers. This device will allow you to easily check the moisture level of the soil before watering. Come on, your plants deserve this.

No need to stick your finger down in the soil, just push the metal prob into to dirt to get an instant reading.

Rapitest Plant Moisture Meter - Simple to Use

Just insert the corrosion-resistant probe into the soil in your planter. Moisture generates electrical energy and will cause the meter needle to move. The plant moisture guide that's included with the meter will tell you exactly what the moisture reading for that particular plant should be.

Because moisture levels vary inside the planter, always take two readings in different locations. Insert the probe into the soil halfway between the pot's edge and the plant's stem. Push the probe 1/2 to 1/3 of the way down from surface level.

photo by author

OK, It's Time to 'Fess Up - We want to know.

Spill it...what's your plant transgression?

See results

Want to Learn How to Water a Plant?

Because death by over watering is a real problem, I've created a blog post on the subject of watering plants.

How to Water a Plant - 6 Tips for Success

Check it out if you want to learn a few plant watering secrets. Just click the link above.

Great Results with Rapitest

Healthy and Happy Plants


After using the Rapitest moisture meter for a few months I noticed a big improvement in my houseplants. The plant watering guide helped me understand that some of my plants prefer their soil very dry while others preferred more moisture. Once I got my plants on a individualized schedule, they started to flourish.


For the first time in 2 1/2 years my peace lily is bursting was blooms.

I hope you'll try this easy way to save your plants. I sure worked for me.

Photo Credit -Rapitest Soil Moisture Meter

Thanks for Visiting - Drop me a line if you have the time.

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    • mirrie profile image

      Mirrie 5 years ago from France

      What a fun page - I think I may be an overwatering culprit - I can grow anything in the garden..... but a house plant :(

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      I enjoyed my visit - thank you.

    • Sunnyd123 profile image

      Sunnyd123 5 years ago

      I have forgotten to water a few plants AND left a few outside in the cold weather :-( but apart from that i am not too bad :-)

      Many thanks for visiting my Beautiful Wedding Cake Toppers Lens.

    • Mamabyrd profile image

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      I've given up on houseplants although, I recently grew a pumpkin plant with my daughters from a pumpkin seed we saved from their Halloween pumpkin. It is huge. I'm not sure how it happened really. Thank you for the tips.

    • texan203 lm profile image

      texan203 lm 5 years ago

      Nice lens, nice touch of humor.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @daniel-euergaious: Daniel, thanks for the comment and visit,

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @MarinaG30: Hi Marina. Yep, too much of a good thing will always do that. Thanks for coming by,

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @flycatcherrr: Hi flycatcher. I appreciate your visit.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @JLovasz: It seems to me you have a green thumb because you have homegrown veggies. Indoor plants are just a bit more reliant on us to care for them. thanks for coming by Jim.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @Judith Nazarewicz: You are so kind to stop by during your very busy day. Thanks

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @DaveP2307: Ok, I'm going to just have to turn you in for that one! Torturer. Wow, and I thought you were such a nice guy.

    • OldCowboy profile image

      OldCowboy 5 years ago

      OK, OK. I did it... I didn't know I did it, but I did it. I used too much TLC on our I didn't want them to die! I now have the knowledge to change, though, thanks to your wonderful page here. Thanks for letting me know there is hope for an old plant killer like myself.

    • DaveP2307 profile image

      DaveP2307 5 years ago

      I'm guilty of plant killing, I must confess!

      I once killed a Venus Fly trap after watering it with what I thought was distilled water for my car battery with but which turned out to have a small percentage of battery acid in it! Doh!

      Not only a plant killer but a plant torturer to boot!

      That Rapitest gadget looks like a really good product. Easy to over and underwater if not careful. Great Lens.

    • profile image

      daniel-euergaious 5 years ago

      This is a humourous lens and I thoroughly enjoyed it : )

    • profile image

      MarinaG30 5 years ago

      Oh my god I though the more water the better. I didn't over watering will kill a plant.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      Agh, I'm guilty as charged of crimes against house plants. :/ How lovely there's a gadget to help know when to water.

    • profile image

      JLovasz 5 years ago

      Cool little instrument. I sure could have used one a few years back when the then lady of the house would leave me with 30 or 40 house plants to watch. Invariably she would return from visiting her family in Switzerland and freak out that all her plants were drowning! Good information here.

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 5 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

      I love gardening and love my house plants but after reading about this nifty gadget I'm wanting to get one! Thanks for sharing.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @InvestLetters: Yes, house plants can take too little sunshine more than over watering. Thanks for visiting, Roger.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @kristalulabelle: It's one gadget that really does work for me. Thanks for coming by for a visit.

    • InvestLetters profile image

      InvestLetters 5 years ago

      Great ideas, I was always thinking it was a lack of sunlight issue - maybe not

    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      I had no idea such a nifty little gadget existed! This could possibly be a great Christmas present for my serial plant killing friends! I really enjoyed the info and layout of your lens, great job!

    • profile image

      Charleston1 5 years ago

      I am good my girlfriend always says why you keeping those sticks. Which I look after till they grow leaves. Then she will take over.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @Thamisgith: HI there! Thanks for coming by for a visit.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @Wednesday-Elf: Well good for you - you've kept one for 5 years and that's great. thanks for visiting.

    • profile image

      Thamisgith 5 years ago

      I need something like this. I definitely don't have a green thumb - quite the reverse in fact.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I've never had success with houseplants, but have been able to keep ONE going for the past 5 years, despite my neglect and/or lack of plant knowledge. This may be due to taking 3 extended trips and leaving 'Mr. Plant' with a relative who DOES know plants. This gadget looks perfect for people like me (you know, the kind of person with lack of knowledge combined with lack of interest!). :) Really enjoyed your humor and your excellent review of the Rapitest moisture meter.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @Gala98: Ha! Bad gross bachelor boy. Yes, they're hard on plants. I've heard that plants don't mind a sip of weak coffee now and then. Good thing you went to the poor plant's rescue.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @Marja79: Oh no! bad kittie. I guess she's not a plant lover. thanks for coming by.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @debra-cornelius: Thanks, Debra. Glad you thought it fun.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 5 years ago

      @XpectMore: Oh no! the black thumb.Thanks for your visit and good luck with your plants.

    • profile image

      Gala98 5 years ago

      I had a friend who couldn't keep any plant alive for long! I found out that he used to throw all the coffee & tea dregs into the flower pots so no wonder they died! gross batchelor boy! I did find two solutions - move the plant far away from the kitchen sink/windowsill & I bought him a tradescantia - those things are almost unkillable! I say almost because he managed it but it took almost a year lol

    • Marja79 profile image

      Marja79 5 years ago

      I have to be honest, I do not kill my plants... it is my cat. She eats them or pees on them. Cat pee kills everything :/

    • debra-cornelius profile image

      debra-cornelius 5 years ago

      Lovethe humor, the poetry, and the great information. Awesome combination in a fun lens!!!

    • XpectMore profile image

      XpectMore 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed your lens. Great pictures. I have a Black Thumb. If I even touch a plant it will die. I think you for this lens. I learned a lot. I am going to keep it saved and try these techniques.


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