Many houseplants are native to tropical environments. These plants are familiar with humidity levels ranging from 70-90% in the tropics, which most homes aren’t. Even if you provide the plant with suitable soil, sunlight, and watering level, they might not grow and stay healthy without one thing, and that is high humidity.
So why is humidity important, what are ways to increase the humidity levels, and what plants enjoy it? Keep reading below to find out the answers and more to these houseplant care questions!
What is Relative Humidity?
The humidity level in a room is measured by relative humidity. The relative humidity is the measurement of the humidity level of an environment against the temperature. For example, a cool environment to humidity ratio will always be closer together than a hot environment and humidity level.
Why is Humidity Critical for Some Plants?
Keeping the plant at its necessary humidity level will be crucial to its success. Since water evaporates through plants, called transpiration, they will become dehydrated. If the environment is not humid enough for a plant, it will go into survival mode to preserve its remaining water with leaf shedding. To stop this from happening, you need to know what humidity level your plant needs and give them that environment that they crave.
How Can I Naturally Humidify my Plants?
There are many ways to create a natural environment without buying a humidifier to increase the indoor humidity around plants. Here are some ways to improve the moisture naturally around plants.
Surround the Plant with Other Plants
One way to naturally increase the humidity around a plant is to group plants around each other. Plants naturally produce water vapor in the air, which is transpiration, when their water evaporates from the leaves and into the air. When you place plants around each other, you create a little microclimate for them.
Another way to naturally increase the humidity for your indoor plants is by misting them. Misting creates a humid environment around plants as you spray the water at them. To generate higher humidity around the plant, you can use warm water instead of cold water.
However, not all plants enjoy misting. Some hairy plants, like an African Violet, don’t enjoy misting at all. You shouldn’t mist these types of plants because the water can get stuck on their hairy leaves. Getting water stuck on their hairy leaves can lead to diseases.
A Hot Shower – Kitchen – Laundry Room
Running a hot shower in a room with plants creates a humid environment. When you have the bathroom door shut, the steamy atmosphere in the shower makes the natural environment that tropical plant originates from. Even after the shower runs, that humid atmosphere will stay in the room for a bit, which some plants enjoy.
You can also place indoor plants in your laundry room or kitchen if you want them in a humid environment. The laundry room might be warmer due to the heat of the dryer running, and the kitchen can be a warm place when you have the stove or oven running. Another way to utilize the kitchen is to place your plant near-boiling water since that will be humid.
Washing the Plant
Washing the plants down in a sink or shower can create extra moisture for a plant. Not only can it create excess moisture, but it can remove bugs and dust from the plant. Sometimes you might not notice bugs, like mealybugs, on a plant until the signs become apparent, so washing down the plant semiregularly can be two benefits in one.
Other Ways to Increase the Humidity around Houseplants?
A humidifier is a simple way to create extra humidity around the plant. It works by creating excess moisture in the air as it runs. A humidifier works well if you can’t place a particular plant in a bathroom because you don’t have the space.
Pebble Tray – Humidity Tray
A pebble tray is a bowl or dish with rocks and pebbles. Plant owners tend to place their plant in its container on the humidity tray. When you water your plant, you put water in the pebble tray as well, which creates a humid environment during water evaporation on the rocks.
If you cannot use a greenhouse for your smaller plants, you can use a plastic bag or an enclosed glass container to surround the houseplant. By watering the plant and then closing up the plastic bag, you trap the heat inside the bag, which creates a warm environment.
What is a Hygrometer?
A hygrometer measures the water vapor in a given area. You can use the hygrometer to measure the air in a small space or the soil. Once you figure out that your plant thrives in an area of 75% humidity, for example, you can use the steps above to increase the moisture and then measure it with this tool, so you don’t go overboard.
Can too Much Humidity Be a Problem for Plants?
While some tropical plants enjoy humid environments, you have to do everything in moderation. For example, running a humidifier next to a plant 24/7 could lead to root rot, which occurs when the plant can’t absorb the water through its roots. Running the humidifier on all day might not allow the soil to dry, which causes problems when you water the plant again.
If you suspect root rot, you should stop running the humidifier near the plant. Next, you should gently remove the plant from the soil to remove excess water and hold off on watering again until the soil is dry. If the soil doesn’t dry due to being soggy, you can put the plant in fresh dry soil.
What Are Some Signs Your Plants Need Higher Humidity Levels?
Plants requiring high humidity levels will give early signals that something is incorrect. One of the obvious signals is if a plant leaf begins wilting or drooping off to the side. Another sign that you need to give the plant more humidity is if the plant leaf tips start browning. Finally, yellowing leaves can also signal that the plant is in an area with low humidity levels and needs more.
What Causes the Environment to Drop to Lower Humidity Levels for Plants?
During the summer, your air conditioner blowing out cold air and sucking up moisture creates low humidity levels for plants. On the flip side, running the heat during the winter months makes dry air, which will create an adverse effect for plants. The key is to try and minimize these drastic changes to the environment for your plants when they are indoors.
What Plants Love Humidity?
- Air Plants
- Boston Ferns
- Peace Lily
What Plants Don’t Enjoy Humidity?
Conclusion: How to Increase Humidity for Plants
In summary, most of the plants that we get from a store come from a naturally humid environment. When we bring the plants into our home, we mimic their natural habitat by giving the plant water, fresh soil, a good size container, and light. However, one missing piece that could explain brown edges on a leaf is the lack of humidity around the plant. You can create extra humidity around your plants by taking the steps above, which could be what they need!