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What is High Humidity and How to Increase Humidity for Your Houseplants

what is high humidity for houseplantsand it's effects

For most of us, the survival of a houseplant depends on air, water, and sunlight i.e.How Much Light Does Your Plant Need? However, humidity also plays a vital role in your plant’s growth and is a feature that often goes unnoticed. Although we humans don’t enjoy humid environments very much, particularly in the hot summer months, plants thrive in them. In this article, we’ll learn about What is High Humdity for Houseplants and its effects?

But how much humidity is too much or too little for plants? Let’s find out!

How Much Humidity Does Your Plant Need?

Most plants need a generous 50% to 80% humidity level around them, while indoor environments have a mere 20%.  This isn’t just a preference, though; plants require the extra humidity to retain water in their leaves.

As they lose too much water through transpiration in a dry environment, they begin to show signs of stress. [1] Here are some symptoms if your plant is not getting the right amount of humidity.

Signs your Plant is Suffering from Humidity Stress

You can look for signs of low humidity in your plants. A few typical signs include: 

  • Brown edges on the leaves
  • Wilting of leaves
  • Flower buds fail to develop or drop off soon after they develop
  • Flowers shriveled up after opening. 

If you realize your environment is too dry for the plant to flourish, there are several ways (cheap and expensive) you can add some moisture to your plant’s habitat. 

How to Increase Humidity for your Houseplant

Here are some of the best tips to increase humidity levels: 

Group Plants Together 

Placing plants together creates a more humid microclimate, as plants transpire water from their leaves. You could also group plants with similar humidity requirements to create an environment that suits them. 

Place the Pots in a Water Tray

A water tray is one of the most popular, easy, and natural ways to create humidity for your plants. You can take a long and wide tray and place pebbles inside it, raising their surface above the water. Then place your plant pots on the pebbles, taking care not to submerge the pot in the water. 

You’ll have to check on the water tray regularly, mainly if it receives sunlight. The evaporated water will create an ideal ambient environment for your plants. 

Remember to empty and rinse the tray; it may become a breeding ground for insects otherwise. 

Mist your Plants 

Spray your plants with water using a spray bottle whenever you water them. This will wash off the dust on the leaves, giving your plants an instant fresh look. This practice is also best for early winter, when the humidity drops rapidly, with plants often showing signs of stress. 

Any plants with hairy or velvety leaves will retain the water droplets on their surface, increasing the risk of infestation or rot. We’d recommend you avoid misting such plants. 

Use a Humidifier

If you have an indoor space dedicated to your plants, you may not mind increasing the humidity there a bit. A humidifier is a great, sustainable way to monitor and maintain the humidity in the environment with little investment. 

If you’re not looking to humidify an entire room, you can place smaller tabletop humidifiers near your plants. The additional humidity is not only great for your plants; it’s excellent for your skin in the dry winter months. 

Although, do expect one additional concern with the constant humidity: The walls of your home might become more vulnerable to water damage. You may also observe signs of mold growth or other unwelcome fungal intruders. 

Utilize your Bathroom

The bathroom is one environment inside your home which is usually quite humid. Consider placing plants on the bathroom’s window sill and see how they fare in the environment.

You might also want to place some of your humidity-craving plants in the bathroom whenever someone’s taking a hot shower. The steam from the shower will give the plant a brief humidity blast. 

Use a Terrarium 

A terrarium is a sealed glass enclosure for growing plants. The terrarium recycles its nutrients, mimicking a larger ecosystem. Plants inside the terrarium absorb water from the soil and transpire it. The water then collects on the terrarium wall, drains down, and becomes available to the plant roots again. Terrariums are great for small plants and decorative purposes. 

Covering the Plant

If your plant is too big for a terrarium, you could cover it temporarily with a plastic bag. This will create a pocket of high humidity, which the plant can benefit from. 

You could also cover your plant with a larger dome, which will also retain moisture to create a plant-friendly, humid climate. But plants require a healthy amount of airflow, too; it’s a great idea to remove the bag or dome for a few hours each day. 

Double Potting

This technique is like the water tray method but sleeker and less noticeable. Whatever the current size of your plant pot is, buy a second, larger plant pot (at least 2 to 3 inches larger on either side) and place the original pot inside it. 

Fill the space between the pots with sphagnum moss and moisten it. The moss will retain the moisture longer while increasing the humidity in the plant’s environment. 

Humidifying Plants

Certain plants have a much higher transpiration rate than usual; these can serve as a natural humidifier for your house and other plants. Several easy, quick-growing plants can humidify spaces exceptionally well. We’ve put together a list: 

  • Spider Plants are hands down the best for increasing indoor humidity. 
  • The Jade Plant transpires in the dark, so it’ll work if you live in a climate where you don’t receive too much annual sunlight.
  • The Areca Palm is a relatively low-maintenance humidifying option. 
  • The English Ivy is also a great humidifier; gardeners prefer it because it grows fast and is very easy to care for. 
  • The Lady Palm is a dense, low-maintenance option that can usually adapt to relatively low-light environments. 
  • The Rubber Plant is an excellent indoor air cleaner and humidifier. 

Here’s another bonus tip: Keep your plant away from heat sources, such as radiators, heaters, etc. Corridors that consistently have high airflow or receive wind or drafts are also not great for these plants. 

Signs of High Humidity 

Maintaining high humidity doesn’t just work one way, though. There are plants, typically cacti and succulents, which do not prefer too much moisture in their environments. Be sure to understand the native climate of your plant before making arrangements. 

Here are a few signs your plant is receiving too much humidity

  • Mold or mildew has developed upon or near the plant
  • A fungal infection has developed on or near the plant
  • Symptoms are similar to those of an overwatered plant, such as the yellowing of leaves. 

Wondering how much humidity your plant needs? We’ve compiled a list of high versus low humidity plants: 

Plants that need high humidityPlants that need low humidity
Carnivorous plantsCacti
Nerve plantsPeperomia obtusifolia (Baby rubber plant)
Prayer plantsSansevieria trifasciata (Snake plant)
PhilodendronsPhilodendron scandens oxycardium
MonsterasWax Plant
OrchidsString of Pearls
Fiddle leaf figsOx Tongue 
AnthuriumsPlants from dry climates
Most tropical plants

Final Words

Humidity is as important for house plants as sunlight and water. Too much humidity can cause the plants to develop fungal infections, while too few humidity levels can cause them to turn brown and wilt. It is therefore important to create an adequate humid environment for your indoor plants

I hope this guide with different ways to humidify the plants will come in handy and help you grow healthy blossoming plants.

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Is 100% humidity too high for plants?

As a general rule, the higher the humidity, the more likely mites and other pests are to attack your plant. In addition, high levels of humidity can cause fungal diseases to spread more rapidly. It’s best to try to maintain a humidity level of 50%-60% in order to keep your plants healthy and happy.

What happens to plants if humidity is too high?

Plants don’t necessarily rot when the humidity is too high. Instead they can begin to exhibit signs of stress such as wilting, leaf discolouration or necrotic spots on the leaves. This can then lead to the plant being susceptible to rot or disease.

Which plants do not like humidity?

The following plants are best grown in low humidity:

  • Wax Plant: Hoya carnosa
  • Jade Plant: Crassula ovata Spineless
  • Yucca: Yucca elephantipes
  • Snake Plant: Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Aloe: Aloe spp.
  • Ox Tongue: Gasteria spp.
  • String of Pearls: Caladium bicolor
  • Silver Squill: Scilla siberica

Written by Chris Buckland

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