A WiFi Water Sensor Can Help You Have a Green Thumb


A WiFi water sensor can help turn your black or brown thumb into a green thumb. Watering issues are one of the major causes of houseplants dying. You either give them too much water or not enough water. Rarely do our poor houseplants ever get exactly the right amount of water. I’ve got one sitting on the window over my kitchen sink right now that may be on its last legs for exactly that reason. We either starve it of water or we drown it. It’s still alive, but just barely and I can’t remember the last time it actually had a flower on it.

A WiFi Water Sensor Takes the Guesswork Out of Watering

I remember long ago and my mom went away for a couple days, leaving the taking care of the houseplants to my sister and I. Dad told us to just look at the little bowl under the plants and see if they had any standing water. If they did, the plants had enough water. If the bowl was dry, we should slowly water the plant until water seeps out of the planter into the bowl. Yep. You guessed it. Several of those plants died watery deaths while others died of water deprivation. After she finished yelling, mom told us we should stick a finger into the soil in the planter to see if it’s wet. Wet soil indicated enough water while dryness indicated a need for water.

Water Sensors Have Been Around for Quite Some Time

Sometime around the mid-’80s or so, our local home improvement/hardware store started selling a rudimentary soil water sensor for houseplants. It was a mostly plastic stick that was stuck into the soil near the stem/stalk of the plant. If there was ample moisture in the soil, the stick was one color while dry soil was indicated by another color. These worked great as long as you remembered to look at them on a daily basis. There had to be something better.

Connected Water Sensors Started Outdoors

In my side job as a landscape installer, the first connected water sensors that I saw were external sensors for sprinkler control systems. They were one of two types of sensors at first: they either detected rainfall and overrode scheduled settings when rain was detected or they received a signal from the weather service that rain was expected or present and overrode the system schedule. There are now sprinkler systems that combine these two sensor/signal types.

However, these two sensor types left something to be desired, the best they could do is tell if a little precipitation fell, they couldn’t tell if enough precipitation fell. The rainfall sensor is simply a small container on a pivot; when enough moisture has accumulated to unbalance the container, it tips, causing a circuit to be broken and signaling the controller to bypass the watering schedule. It takes less than a teaspoon to unbalance the cup, enough to turn off the water, but not enough that your yard has gotten enough water via rainfall. Something better was still needed.

The Daisy Water Sensor Gives Your Plants a Voice

The Daisy Water Sensor at about 40 bucks has the lowest price of the water sensors I’ve looked at recently. One of the reasons for this low price is that Daisy only communicates via Bluetooth. This means you need to be about 50 feet or less from the sensor to interact with it.

Another reason for the low price is that Daisy isn’t able to tell you anything about soil nutrient density, although the app does have information regarding fertilizer schedules. The Daisy Sensor is able to measure soil moisture, light level, and temperature.

The Daisy sensor is able to store data for up to 45 days before having to dump to the app. The sensors can be used indoors or out. The app contains a database for the care of hundreds of plant species. Moisture, temp, and light data is automatically transmitted to the mobile app every time the mobile device comes within range of the sensor. Daisy’s main drawback is that it has to be paired on a one-to-one basis with your potted plants, it’s not really good for a garden. The app works with Android and iOS devices.

Meet the Koubachi WiFi Plant Sensor

The Koubachi WiFi Plant Sensor is, while a bit more expensive than Daisy (it costs about $120), my choice for the best WiFi water sensor on the market. It offers excellent WiFi range and connects directly to your home router, giving you access to sensor details and the app database from wherever you happen to be, not just within 30 to 50 feet of the sensor.

Koubachi comes in two models- indoor and outdoor. Both are stylish and will look good indoors or out. The database is one of the best in the industry, but it is fairly slow to populate. The app is available for Android and iOS. Koubachi also offers the widest range of online features of the water sensors I looked at.