how to increase humidity for plants

How to Increase Humidity for Plants

If you were wondering how to increase humidity for plants, here you can find all the answers! Before you got them as houseplants, some plants enjoyed life outdoors and many indoor plants originate from extremely humid jungles. This kind of environment differs greatly from the conditions in modern homes and offices that are quite arid, especially in winter when heated air becomes extremely dry.

If you force your plants to grow in dry air, they won’t be able to adequately replenish moisture lost through their leaves. Their leaf tips and edges may become dry or turn brown, or your plant may start shedding leaves prematurely. The most affected ones are plants with thin leaves or those with long, strap-shaped foliage. What can you do to prevent this? The answer is to alter indoor humidity to meet the needs of plants. Let’s see how to increase humidity indoors.

Plants enjoy humidity
Some plants enjoy humidity

What is Humidity?

Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor present in the air. It is measured with an instrument called a hygrometer. But you don’t need it to measure humidity levels in your home. Rooms in which water is often used tend to be more humid than other areas in the house, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Plants are constantly absorbing moisture through their roots and releasing it through their leaves. The water is released in the form of vapor and this process is a process called transpiration. When the air is full of water vapor, the water inside the plant moves slowly, the cells remain turgid and the leaves stay healthy.

Why is Humidity Important?

If the atmosphere is dry, the roots cannot absorb water as quickly as the leaves lose it. So your plant gets dry skin and dry leaves with brown leaf tips that are fairly small in size and wilt quite quickly. In a nutshell, plants suffer if you don’t provide an environment that’s humid enough for them to grow.

On the other hand, plants thrive in an environment with high humidity levels and achieve more beautiful and fuller, healthy growth with lots of blooms.

misting plants

How to Increase Humidity Levels for Indoor Plants?

Some plants require higher humidity than is found in dry, centrally heated rooms. A group of plants will create its own local humid atmosphere, but you can improve the humidity around it in several ways. Let’s see other ways to increase humidity for houseplants.

Orchids love humidity
Orchids love humidity

Related: Plant Humidity- Guide for Gardening Beginners

Spraying

Misting is helpful for plants that need unusually high humidity, but for some plants with hairy, velvety leaves like African violets, it can do a lot of damage since they dry very slowly and this can cause problems and diseases.

Misting from time to time when the air is very dry is a sound practice, but don’t mist heavily without a purpose. For instance, misting plants often invite spider mites, as they like dry conditions.

Spray regularly with soft, distilled water, holding the spray about 15 cm from each plant. Spray in summer, but not in strong sunlight. The ideal time for misting is the early morning.

Spraying may mark or rot flowers, too, so check plants requirements when it is in flower. You can also mist in early winter, with an increase in indoor heating. Let the plant adjust to such changes, then allow humidity to drop gradually.

How to increase humidity for plants

Pebble Trays

Creating a pebble tray is one of the easiest ways to create more humidity. Put pebbles in the plant’s saucer and stand a plant pot on top.

Add water to the saucer until it covers the pebbles halfway. Do not let the bottom of the pot touch water or the plant will become waterlogged and its roots will rot away.

Water vapor will rise from the damp pebbles, thus ensuring extra humidity under the leaves. Add more water to the saucer when pebbles begin to dry.

You can also place a group of plants together on a tray of damp pebbles for even better local humidity.

Homemade version of pebble tray
Homemade version of pebble tray

Damp Peat Method

Place a plant pot inside a larger container and pack the space between the two with damp peat. This is a good method to use if you are going on a trip, as the peat will hold moisture well.

Terrarium

You can grow plants that need very high humidity in a terrarium, which is not only the most amazing form of display but also a perfect solution for providing a humid place for plants in dry offices.

Choose medium-light humidity-loving plants for a terrarium. Make sure you choose an appropriate soil and know how to care for plants in terrariums. For example, you must take off if the cover gets too steamy and make sure the plant isn’t touching the sides of the container as they will rot as the humidity collects on the glass.

Terrarium
Terrarium

Humidity Tents

In order to provide extra humidity for a small, humidity-loving plant, position it on a bed of damp pebbles and cover it with a glass cover during the night. This can work perfectly well with fancy-leafed begonias or small ferns. In the daytime, raise the flaps to welcome fresh air.

Dishes of Water

You can put shallow containers of water in the close proximity of your house plants as this will provide a large surface from which water will evaporate. You can also stand a pot of water in the center of a floral arrangement. Use smaller plants for this.

Plastic Bag

Increasing humidity levels is also easy with plastic bags. This method is particularly effective with newly propagated plantlets. You will only need a clear plastic bag and the plantlet.

To create humidity, enclose all the plants you have watered and propagated individually in a plastic bag and leave it for at least a few hours. The excess moisture will slowly evaporate around the plant, thus increasing humidity. This increased moisture in the air inside the bag will help the plantlet to produce a lot better results.

Humidifier

Using a humidifier in rooms where you keep a number of plants is definitely the best option in rooms with very dry indoor air. Besides humidifiers are the fastest and most efficient ways of increasing the humidity level in greenhouses and plant conservatories.

Related: 17 Best Plant Humidifiers and Buying Guide

Humifider for plants

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Place your humidity-loving plants in the kitchen or bathroom because evaporating water creates extra humidity. Allow good air movement, too.

Combine Humidity Lovers

Group humidity-loving plants together for easy misting and relocating. When they are grouped together, the local humidity gets improved.

Grouping plants

Use a Fountain

Purchase a decorative tabletop water feature and place it near your plants. This adds humidity with style.

Moist Terracotta Pots

If you have terracotta pots, give them a fine mist. When moist, they produce humid air in the plants’ vicinity.

Bring Them Outside

Bring your plants outside to a shady spot in summer to bask in the moist air.

Remember…

You can’t use all of these methods with absolutely every plant. For example, although African violets love slightly higher humidity, it must not be sprayed because of their velvety leaves that are prone to leaf spots. Instead, use the pebble and tray method. Always check the care instructions for specific plants.

Another thing to note is that you should never allow the pot to be in direct contact with water in the tray. This will cause waterlogging and lead to root rot. Finally, make sure the water you are using is filtered or distilled water at room temperature.

Related: Mold on Plant Soil

Humidity-Loving Plants

Here is a list of tropical plants that enjoy extra moisture and higher humidity levels:

Low Humidity Houseplants

Other plants, however, prefer low humidity. Most of them are succulent plants and cacti. Here is a list of them:

You won’t have problems growing plants on this list because you won’t have to increase the humidity, as they thrive best in low humidity levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Raise Humidity Quickly?

You can opt for any of the methods we have described above. One way to increase humidity for your indoor plants is to position a plant on a tray of pebbles. Some other ways are misting, grouping plants or putting a plant pot in a slightly larger pot filled with moist peat moss.

How Can I Raise the Humidity Without a Humidifier?

You can opt for any of the methods we have described above. One way to increase humidity for your indoor plants is to position a plant on a tray of pebbles. Some other ways are misting, grouping plants or putting a plant pot in a slightly larger pot filled with moist peat moss.

Do I Need to Increase Humidity in the Winter?

Absolutely! You need to create a pleasantly humid environment for your indoor plants even during winter months. The reason for this is the extremely dry air due to heating sources. To prevent low humidity from impeding the growth of your houseplants, continue with the pebble tray method in the early winter or group your plants close together after watering, but refrain from misting since the leaves will take longer to dry and this might cause diseases.

Final Words

Creating the ideal humidity levels indoors can be tricky, but it is all a matter of trial and error. Always strive to mimic the conditions found in a plant’s natural environment and check the recommended humidity for houseplants you are growing. Increase humidity gradually and observe the plant’s reaction. The leaves will be your guide as to whether your plant needs a more humid environment.