How To Tell If Your Pilea Is Ready For Watering
Updated: Jun 29
Watering your Pilea is essential if you want it to grow and thrive. Determining if your plant is ready for more watering can be difficult, especially considering the fact that overwatering can cause even more problems than underwatering. The following are five different ways you can tell if your Pilea needs to be watered.
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Use your finger to do the "2-inch test"
One of the simplest ways to test your plant is to do what is called the "2-inch test." This test relies on the fact that while soil on the top may be dry, the soil underneath will still be moist if the plant has not absorbed all of the water from its previous watering.
To do this test, take your finger and place it just over 2 inches into the soil. If the soil for the first 2 inches is dry, but the soil further down is moist, then your Pilea does not need to be watered. If the soil for the first two inches is dry and continues to be dry past those 2 inches, then your plant does need to be watered.
Use a skewer or stick to test for moisture
If you have a very tall pot or planter, it can be hard to test the soil for moisture – especially if your Pilea is tall, and it's difficult to reach the soil underneath.
Instead of lifting your plant out of the planter or attempting to stick your finger into the soil, use a skewer that will be able to reach the soil with ease. Make sure that you gently insert the skewer into the soil and then check the stick afterward to see if the soil is moist and, if so, where the moistness starts. If, after about 2 inches, the soil is not moist, this means that your Pilea needs water.
Make sure to use clean skewers, as you don't want to contaminate the soil. If you prefer, you can consider buying a soil moisture gauge, that will let you know the exact moisture levels of your Pilea soil.
Pick up your Pilea and feel the weight
One of the most surprising ways you can test if your Pilea needs to be watered is to pick it up. A dry plant will be lighter than a plant that still retains water in its soil.
This tip will require some practice and experience since you will need some time to get a feel for how heavy your plant should be when it has enough water versus when your plant is too dry.
One way you can get a head start on understanding your plant's "watered" weight is to lift it after you give it a good watering. Test the weight, and then continue lifting your plant as time goes on so you can see how much lighter it gets over time. Then, check the soil; when the soil is dry enough that your plant needs to be watered, do a final lifting so you can feel the weight. Eventually, you will be able to tell if your plant is light enough to be watered without having to check the soil.
Take some time to examine the leaves
When you see leaves drooping and then falling off, your first thought might be that your plant is thirsty and needs more water. Before risking to drown your Pilea, do a quick inspection, touch the soil, and feel the weight. While it is true that most plants show signs of wilting and yellowing when they get thirsty, Pilea often shows drooping or yellow leaves due to overwatering– giving your Pilea even more water will only make it worse.
What you can do is touch the leaves to feel if they are hard and thick or soft and thin – if they are thin, probably your Pilea is ready to be watered.
Examine the color of the soil
Did you know that the color of your soil can help you tell whether or not your Pilea needs to be watered?
Surprisingly, many plant owners do not realize this fact and overlook the signs in soil color. As a general rule of thumb, you can check whether or not the soil is dry depending on its color (as long as the soil is easily visible.) Dry soil will be lighter and almost dusty in color, whereas wet soil will be darker and shinier.
While this is not the most technical method of determining whether or not your plant needs to be watered, it can be a quick-spotting method to use when you don't have time to check the soil using the other methods mentioned.
Pilea needs water to thrive, so make sure you employ these tips regularly so that your plant does not become dehydrated.
However, you should also avoid overwatering your plant, even in cases where it has been left without enough water for a time. Overwatering your plant can flood the planter, overwhelm the roots, and cause issues such as mold growth and root rot.