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Guide: Soil Moisture Recommendations for Flowers, Plants and Vegetables

AcuRite Soil Moisture Meter among flowers
By AcuRite Team
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Guide: Soil Moisture Recommendations for Flowers, Plants and Vegetables

Soil Types and Watering Information

Loam Soil:

Very porous and retains moisture well. This is the optimal soil type and can be watered normally.

Sandy Soil:

Extremely porous and drains quickly. Water slowly to saturate soil root zones.

Clay Soil:

Holds more water, but is slow to absorb and release. Do not water faster than the soil can absorb it.

Moisture Meter for Plants and Vegetables

General Soil Moisture Information & Tips

  • If you have sandy or very heavy clay soils and would like to improve its water retention, add compost or organic matter to your soil.
  • Adding sand to clay soils, or clay to sandy soils will create a cement-like soil, making water retention worse.
  • One inch of water per week is adequate for most plants. You may use a rain gauge to assist (not included; sold separately).

Recommended Soil Moisture Levels

The plants listed in this guide represent commonly found species. Consult a local horticulture professional for more specific details on plants not found on this list.

NOTE: All vegetables require soil moisture between 41% - 80%.

Click the images below to view them larger.

Moisture levels for Flowers

Moisture levels for trees and shrubs

AcuRite Solution:
AcuRite Soil Moisture Meter to help keep your plants and garden healthy.

With your own soil moisture sensor, you can take soil moisture readings as often as needed to ensure your plants remain at the ideal moisture levels as described in the charts above.  Overwatering is the most detrimental to plants so make sure your indoor and outdoor plants remain at the optimal moisture level year-round.  The video below explains how to use your soil moisture meter to monitor your plant water levels for optimizing your garden and plant health. Also use this handy guide to identify Signs of Overwatering your Plants or read up on how to monitor for the Best Soil Conditions for your plants.

Share your plant success stories in the comments below! What’s your ideal soil moisture for your plants? Have you found one specific type of plant to be more or less sensitive to changes in soil moisture?

April 4, 2018
Terrence Belunes
July 30, 2019 at 8:48 PM
There are no vegetables listed.................
Margaret Houlihan
November 27, 2019 at 6:54 PM the top of the chart before there are any lists, the author said that all vegetables need 41% to 80%. I had the same question, but then saw the statement that starts with NOTE:. I'm going to guess that you missed that the same way I did!
June 6, 2020 at 12:16 PM
Great list and really useful. I noticed you don't have much on succulents such as aloe vera, aeoneums, and the like. are they in the same range as Agave and Cactus, (0-20%) or are they in the next range
September 4, 2020 at 10:39 AM
They say 41-80 percent for vegetables, I may be watering my broccoli at 80 percent but it might need to be watered at 45 percent . Do you have a list for vegetables?
October 6, 2020 at 9:58 AM
What should the moisture level of a gynura aurantiaca sarmentosa be? I recently gotten an infestation in my plants, I need to water them soon, I bought a meter. But I don't know what the water level for the plant suppose to be. Please help me.
steven e atkinson
May 1, 2021 at 4:32 PM
Readings for geraniums and salvia?
July 8, 2021 at 3:21 AM
Your plant list is missing many species, I have 2 Elephant Ears plant and need the number to go by.
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