I was persuaded to buy a moisture meter when I bought some potted citrus trees recently. Citrus trees are very finicky about moisture when they are grown in a pot, and the proper way to judge their water needs is to check the moisture about 4 inches below the soil line. A moisture meter only costs 10 or 15 bucks, so it seemed like a reasonable investment considering that I would be repaid in Meyer lemons.
So far, so good. The citrus growers told me how to take the reading and when to water, so I didn’t really need the instructions that came with the meter.
But of course I read the instructions anyway, the way one compulsively reads a box of cereal at the kitchen table, and it was there that I was introduced to Luster Leaf company’s very strange ideas about the sorts of plants that its customers grow. I refer to this list, which tells you what the meter should read before you water that particular plant, along with instructions about frequency of watering and other special needs.
Tomatoes are not on the list. Nor is basil. Ficus tree, an ordinary sort of houseplant, cannot be found, nor can such average garden plants as hosta, hydrangea, rose, or rhododendron. Japanese maples are nowhere on the list, in spite of the fact that this is exactly the sort of fancy plant a fussy gardener might monitor with a moisture meter. Dahlias are likewise not on the list.
What can you find? Here’s a selection of actual plant names for which Luster Leaf feels you might require additional watering information.
Flame of the Woods
Jelly Bean Plant
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Quick: Without Googling them, how many of these plants have you EVER heard of? I made a point of not looking any of these up just to make the point that a gardener with slightly above-average plant knowledge cannot make heads or tails of this list. Forget the fact that there are no Latin names on the list, forget the fact that whoever compiled the list chose the silliest possible common name out there.
My question is–Doesn’t anyone involved with this moisture meter actually garden? Do they honestly think we need more information on how to water our Fat-Headed Lizzie than our cherry tomatoes?
In their defense, there is an outdoor watering guide on their website that gives some suggestions for watering more common garden plants, but you wouldn’t find that out by reading their packaging, which contains only the strange and confusing list of nonsensical plant names I mentioned above.