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Hi Pete. Like many people, I very often over-water my plants once I bring them inside. I usually water my plants weekly. Today after watering, the very large saucer under my hibiscus plant quickly filled with just as much water as what I watered it with (about 16 ounces of water). The pot feels heavy too.I have two “large” glass watering bulbs still in the box from several years ago. If I stick these in the soil (using a pencil), will they help me gauge when my plants need water or will the water just drip out slowly regardless of the soil moisture? I am terrible with guessing by sticking my finger in the soil to see if plants need water.PS – I wish you had another category to select, such as “indoor house plants”. I think of “gardening” as outdoor plants.Thanks – David

Leave those watering bulbs in the boxes…they will guarantee that you’ drown your plants.  It sounds like your hibiscus is potbound which is why the water just runs on through.  I’d repot it and water very lightly.  The hibiscus is going to lose lots or most of the leaves inside.  The light inside is dramatically less than outside so the plant adapts by dropping leaves.  Your finger is the best method to check for soil moisture.  Push it into the soil as far as you can and, if you even think it felt moist, don’t water.  Plants in this indoor “dormancy” need very little water since the leaves that evaporate the moisture are no longer there…nor are the sun and breezes that dry out the plant.  Under watering is always safer than keeping the soil constantly moist.  Remember, the saucer is there only to protect the floor and has nothing to do with the plant…other than creating and increasing the possibility of drowning.  When you water, give the water in the saucer 5 minutes to soak back up into the soil…after that, get the water out of the saucers the plant doesn’t drown…which happens very quickly…a matter of a couple of hours standing in water in the saucer is enough to drown a substantial part of the root system.  Dehydrated roots will often bounce back but drowned roots are dead and gone forever.

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