Tools & Techniques  |  February 27, 2020

My Top Five Favorite (and Essential) Houseplant Tools

Benjamin Franklin once said “The best investment is in the tools of one's own trade.” Truer words have never been spoken, especially when it comes to caring for plants. Using the right tools makes work easier, more efficient, more effective, and ultimately means happier, healthier plants. Over my decade plus as a professional horticulturist, I've tried countless tools to find the best utensils to care for and promote the health of plants. Below are my top five picks, all very worthwhile investments!

For Pruning


I highly recommend the ARS pruners. They are rugged, built-to-last, and colorful (for those of us that like our tools to have a design vibe). Did I also mention that they are efficient (they work for both indoor and outdoor gardening), strong (they can cut through branches), and precise (they can be used to trim small leaves)? ARS pruners are quite simply the best. 

For Solving the Mystery of Soil Moisture


Trust me. You need a Soil Probe. Soil probes are lo-fi tech that allows you to check the moisture level at the base of a plant's root systems. This can be essential for larger plants potted in containers without drainage holes in the vessel. Just pierce the soil to the base of the vessel and twist to get a sample from the bottom of your planter and you'll know right away if the plant has excessive moisture at the base (which can rot root systems) or if it needs more water. You can also use this handy tool to aerate soil.

For Dividing Plants and Scoring Roots

For both outdoor gardening and planting large indoor trees, a good hori hori is worth its weight in gold. A hori hori is a Japanese-style soil knife that is great for digging, scoring roots, loosening rootbound plants, and cutting through thick root systems like sansevieria to divide plants. . 

For Improving Humidity and Removing Leaf Dust

Most tropical indoor plants appreciate a good misting. Not only does it increase the relative humidity around the plant, but it's a great way to clean off dust that can collect on the leaves. A good mister used regularly will help leaves unfurl and can help keep pests at bay. I love this mister because of the super fine continuous spray. 

For Determining the Light Levels in a Space

The true key to happy plants is providing them with the appropriate light they require. It can be hard with just the human eye to truly appraise just how much light an area of your home or office is receiving, but a light meter can tell you exactly how much light a spot is getting at any given time. This light meter is simple to use and very accurate. Use it throughout the day to get a sense of how the light changes in your space.