Houseplants forum→Humidifier meter?

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Australia
Zabrina
May 16, 2020 11:06 PM CST
Hey guys,

Hope you're all well during these hard times.

Long post again, apologies.

I'm experiencing more trouble with beloved plants. Namely monstera again. I brought a 18cm baby from a nursery which the soil stayed wet for 6 weeks. I ended up re-potting him with a peralite mix. He hasn't worsened and it's now almost winter here so fingers crossed he's semi happy.

But after I killed the big boy (earlier post) my partner brought me a large monstera. I picked one that wasn't in the best shape (leaves damaged) anyway again stayed wet for a good 5 weeks. Didn't want to re pot him so soon after getting him. I waited a while and put him in with some peralite. Now he's still damp 3 weeks in according to my meter and some leaves turned yellow. After reading up I see they hate being tampered with so I'm hoping possibly it is some shock and not a warning of worst to come.

So long story to get to the actual point...Could my house be more humid than I think? Do the cheap eBay meters work?

Thanks in advance for anyone listening to my ramblings.

Take care out there Smiling
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ElPolloDiablo
May 17, 2020 4:16 AM CST
Your house is most likely doing absolutely fine: the problem is most likely the potting medium.

My mother bought two Peace lilies last year. They are placed about 5ft apart in the same room, so same moisture, same light, same everything. But one needs watering every 10 days at most while the other needs watering maybe once a month in the hot season and perhaps twice during the whole Winter.
What's the difference? The potting medium.

The trend among many industrial-scale nurseries, the kind that propagate Peace lilies, Monsteras etc by the thousand for the retail market, is to use potting compounds that will increase the water-holding capacity of the soil because, well, most people water their plants only when they remember they have a potted plant. Rolling on the floor laughing

When these plants get to the shop, they get watered "regularly", meaning the bloke tasked with watering potted plants will water them when told, which may mean three times or more a week. Your Monstera is still feeling the effects of this overwatering: that is why it's yellowing.
The only thing you can do while you wait for the soil to dry out is to make sure moisture doesn't get trapped under the vase.
Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
-Charles Darwin-
Australia
Zabrina
May 17, 2020 6:35 AM CST
Thanks so much for your reply. I can not believe how wet these babies stayed after coming home. Although a pothos did too but I figured that at least had a moss mix as it's soil. I think I'll cry if I've messed them up. I might take notes of watering and just monitor. I've checked the big boy today and have had the grow light on him for a few days and he's finally seeming dry.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 17, 2020 8:20 AM CST
I assume you are using what is commonly caused a moisture meter to determine how damp the soil is. (Humidity meters, called hygrometers, measure the amount of moisture in the air). If so, that is the problem because those meters are notoriously inaccurate and cannot be relied on to determine soil moisture.

Unless your plant is planted in a pot that is way too large, then you can reasonably expect it to dry out appropriately within two weeks. That is why I suspect the problem is with the meter, not your house.

A photo would be helpful.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 17, 2020 4:50 PM CST
If you confirm your moisture meter with an independent measure of soil moisture (like your finger inserted a couple of inches), it should be perfectly reliable. If you expect the moisture meter to tell you everything without mentally calibrating it first, you are going to be disappointed. The difference lies in knowing how to use the equipment. I can explain in greater detail if this quick summary is not clear.

Humidity in the air is not a problem given strong light and good air flow. We average 80% relative humidity and it is regularly into the 90s at night, and I do not suffer from the problem you have described. Try improving light and air flow if you find the soil stays wet too long.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 17, 2020 4:52 PM (+)]
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Australia
Zabrina
May 17, 2020 8:47 PM CST
Thanks for the reply guys. Air flow would probably be a problem as we are inside a lot and don't have Windows that open. It's currently winter now so have been using the grow light. We have two heat pumps that are constantly on and not a whole heap of natural light in the scheme of things. Large windows but shaded.

I'll chuck in some photos but they aren't great quality. The soil is now dry so the replanting helped that at least, but what damage I caused in the meantime who knows.

I won't be buying any newbies for a while and have multiple clippings to plant but will wait till spring. I keep learning new things so that's something.

First photo is when I first got him.

Second is now. (I tied him a bit looser after the replanting)

Third shows some yellowing and the new leaf that hadn't unfurled which what was brought my attention to the wet soil in the first place.

Thanks again. I am planning to get a notebook to take watering notes to get a good routine for them all. I have a sustee in my birds of paradise and have been following the indications on that and he seems happy so might buy some more seeing as though I do seem to struggle with watering issues.

My friends and family think I'm this plant queen but little do they know how much I struggle lol

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 18, 2020 8:03 AM CST
I don't see any significant problems with your plant. Some occasional leaf blemishes are inevitable.

What direction does that window face?

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Australia
Zabrina
May 19, 2020 9:32 PM CST
I think that window is west and then there's another that's south. I have a grow light above him because the old plant would throw out growth on the window side and he was too big to turn where this one I turn every few weeks.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 20, 2020 8:09 AM CST
Try to angle the vertical blinds so that the sun comes in more directly on your plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
May 20, 2020 8:17 AM CST
While I think we've established that is has little bearing on how your plant is growing, in my experience, no, cheap humidity meters generally show pretty random readings that I don't think are terribly correlated to the humidity.

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