The only plant care description perhaps more annoying than “bright indirect light” is “evenly moist” soil. Keeping plant soil evenly moist is the bane of my plant parent life. I have 50 plants around my apartment and most of them are of the tropical variety. My windows face south, which means I get a ton of light. Keeping the soil evenly moist is a real challenge. I stick my finger in soil at least once every day to try to figure out if that plant's soil is evenly moist.
And it matters! Giving your plant optimal growing conditions is how you end up with new leaves, interesting fenestrations, and notable variegation. Not enough water and the soil is too dry for good growth (your leaves might even go limp). Too much water and the root rot takes over.
Enter PlantStraws. Instead of me trying to guess when the soil needs more water so it can be evenly moist, Plant Straw lets my plants make that choice.
Plantstraws Brass Plant Straw
Plant Straw is made up of a long cotton cord running through a chic tube made of metal. (Even the ones that look like they are made of plastic are actually powder coated aluminum.) You bury one end of the cord in the soil, laying it around the interior of the pot, and the other end of the cord goes in a little vessel of water. The hard tube keeps everything in place and makes the watering tool look stylish.
The way it works is a bit science-y, but even I, who did not enjoy my high school chemistry class, could understand. Essentially, osmosis is what keeps the soil moist. The soil is dry and wants water, so the soil absorbs water from the cotton cord and into the roots. Because the cord wants to be evenly moist, it continues to absorb water from the vessel, thus providing an endless supply of moisture to the plant.
When my Plant Straws arrived, I installed them in two plants that like moist soil: a Monstera deliciosa and a Monstera adansonii. Installation was pretty easy. You get the cord totally wet, squeeze the excess water out, then bury it in the soil. (It's definitely easier to do when you're repotting your plant and the plant is out of the pot.) The more moisture a plant wants, the more cord you bury. The other end of the tube and cord went into empty spice bottles I’d filled with water. (The smaller the opening of the water vessel, the less water you will lose through evaporation.) I did screw one of them up — it was definitely my fault, not the Plant Straw's. All the water from the pot was absorbed into the plant soil within about a day, but the Plant Straw website was really helpful and told me how to redo the installation so it would work correctly.
Since I got Plant Straw, the only times I water those two plants are to fertilize them and when I need to add water to the vessels, which is about once ever two weeks or so, but it could be even less frequently if I used a bigger vessel. And these plants have never been happier. They went from no new leaves, to new leaves on every stem. My monstera deliciosa is even getting leaves with fenestrations!
Plant Straw is entirely handmade in Sweden, but the company ships to the US. It’s one of the most helpful plant products I own and has made plant care so much easier. Now I just have to get 48 more — then I won’t even have to pay someone to water my plants for me while I'm on vacation. The plants can take of it themselves.
PlantStraws Plant Straw Pigeon
Editor’s note: The writer received product samples, but all opinions are their own.