Indoor plants elevate your home’s beauty and help clean the air and reduce pollution. If you want to grow plants happily inside your house, you must ensure that all of their requirements are met, one of which is humidity.
Sufficient humidity is an important requirement for growing indoor plants. The air inside our homes can get dry, so we need to create a humid condition around our plants. There are multiple ways to do that, like misting, grouping, relocation, adding aquariums, and many more.
In this article, you will learn about the importance of humidity for your indoor plants and 10 ways to increase humidity indoors for plants.
Table Of Contents
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Do indoor plants like humidity?
Many indoor plants originate from humid forests, where they are exposed to high humidity levels.
And this becomes essential for their growth.
The air inside our homes is naturally drier and has much lower moisture levels than the natural habitat of your plants.
Indoor plants need humidity, and their requirements differ from species to species.
However, most like to have around 40-60% humidity.
You should try to mimic the humidity levels of nature if you want these plants to flourish indoors.
To measure the humidity level in your home, you can get a hygrometer.
If the plants do not get the required humidity, they begin to show signs of stress.
Importance of humidity for indoor plants
Let us understand why humidity plays a vital role for your plants.
Plants transpire to carry on with their everyday activity.
It is a process with the help of which plants give out water through tiny holes in the leaves known as stomata.
The levels of transpiration depend on the humidity levels around your plants.
If the humidity level is low, the stomata of the leaves stay closed to prevent transpiration and the loss of moisture.
If the transpiration is low, the plant’s photosynthesis or the process of making food slows down, which directly affects the growth of the plant.
The plant does not have much energy to flourish with lower photosynthesis levels.
Therefore the levels of humidity have a direct impact on the growth of the plants.
This is a vital reason why most plants go into dormancy or reduce their growth in winters.
This is because the air is very dry in winters and the light levels are lower than in spring and summers.
Also read: How Often Should Indoor Plants Be Misted?
How do I measure humidity levels in the house?
Now that we have understood the importance of humidity for plants, let us discuss how we can know the humidity levels in your house.
It is not possible to determine it on our own.
So, to measure humidity levels in the air, you can use a device called a hygrometer.
You must know the humidity levels to be certain that your plants are getting sufficient moisture.
It is important to mention that each part of our house has a different humidity condition.
Our bedrooms and living areas have lower humidity levels than areas like the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry area.
The humidity level also varies as per seasons and weather.
Summers and spring seasons have a higher humidity range than fall or winter.
Therefore a small portable device like a hygrometer helps determine the humidity range around your house to give your plants the most suitable range.
Signs of low humidity in plants
Most plants we grow indoors originate from tropical areas where they thrive in warmer temperatures and medium light, which is why they can be grown indoors.
Most of them grow beneath bigger trees in humid zones, so it is important that when you grow them indoors, they get the required humidity.
You need to consider increasing the humidity levels if you notice the following signs in your plants:
- Dry, crispy wrinkled leaves: Poor humidity causes the leaves to dry up as they lose humidity from them.
- Wilting leaves: Wilting leaves are often due to underwatering, but low humidity can also lead to wilted leaves.
- Flowers wilt after blossoming: The drier air conditions can crease evaporation, and the flowers can begin to wilt quickly after blooming due to lack of hydration.
- Brown tips and edges: The plants lose moisture through their leaves. In drier areas, the rate of evaporating and transpiration is high. The delicate leaves are sensitive and turn brown as they lose moisture. Incorrect watering and low humidity are the two most common causes of brown tips and edges.
- Curling leaves: The leaves of your plants begin to curl to lock in moisture loss through transpiration.
- Buds fail to develop: Plants under stress refuse to bloom, and low humidity can prevent flowering in your houseplants.
- Buds dropping off before opening: The buds and flowers are extremely delicate and perform poorly under stress. Low humidity can cause them to fall off before reaching maturity.
- Higher water requirement: Plants having poor humidity sometimes need to be watered more frequently as the plant loses water through transpiration.
- Yellowing leaves: Yellow leaves can signify multiple problems, including poor humidity. So if you see young leaves are getting yellow, check for the problem.
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How to increase humidity indoors for plants?
Before following any of the below methods, you must be sure of the humidity levels around your plants.
Once you are sure that your plants are indeed suffering from low humidity, you can follow any of the following ways to give your plants a boost of humidity.
1. Install a humidifier
Humidifiers are the best and most reliable method to give your indoor plants humidity and keep them in a comfortable condition.
It is a small portable device that has to be filled with fresh distilled water and placed near the plants.
You can turn them on or off as per needed.
With some humidifiers, you can also control the humidity levels and increase or decrease them as per your plants’ needs.
Humidifiers are sometimes even used in winters by humans to keep their homes cozy.
I highly recommend this one if you are looking for a good humidifier.
2. Prepare a pebble tray
Using a pebble tray is a popular way to raise the humidity around your indoor plants.
For this, you need a tray about twice the diameter of the pot’s base and layer an inch of pebbles on them, then place the pots on this layer.
Fill the tray with water up to the top of the pebbles.
The water should not touch the pot’s base.
As the water from the tray slowly evaporates, the humidity levels around the plant will increase.
But remember to sometimes wash the tray before refilling water to prevent the growth of insects and germs, as the constant pool of water around the plant can become a breeding ground for insects.
You have to be careful that the pot does not touch the water levels because if the pot directly sits on the water, the roots will get waterlogged, which might initiate root rot.
3. Group humidity-loving plants
Plants give out moisture through their leaves in a process known as transpiration.
The moisture is exhaled through the stomata.
This helps the plant carry on photosynthesis and make food for its growth.
When you group all the plants, the plants’ transpiration capacity increases, creating a humid condition similar to their natural forest habitat.
It is best to group similar humidity-requiring plants.
For example, tropical plants like alocasia, Syngonium, and ferns love high humidity, so grouping them is advisable.
But for plants that thrive in dry air, like cactus and succulents, it is best not to keep them in such conditions as too much humidity can damage them.
One drawback here is that by grouping plants too closely, the chances of pest or fungal infestations get higher as they spread very quickly from one plant to another.
So if you wish to do this process, ensure all your plants are free from pests and have proper airflow.
4. Mist your houseplants
Misting is the most common way to give humidity to your houseplants.
For this, fill a spray bottle with clean distilled water and spray on plants on all sides of the plant.
Always use filtered water only as tap water contains many minerals like chlorine and fluoride, which can harm houseplants.
The mineral leaves salt accumulation on the plants, reducing their photosynthesis energy.
Misting helps not just in increasing humidity in plants but also helps to keep the leaves lean and glossy, which in turn helps the plant to photosynthesis properly and prevent pests invade them.
Occasionally add a few drops of neem oil in the water while misting to keep the plants healthy from bugs.
However, remember to mist your plants only during the daytime so that the water droplets evaporate from the plant.
If the leaves stay wet for a long time, they can become a breeding ground for pest and fungus infestations.
It is important to mention here that the effects of misting are short-lived as the water evaporates quickly.
So for high humidity-loving plants like ferns, you may sometimes need to mist multiple times every day in summers.
Avoid misting plants like succulents, cacti, or any plants with velvety or hairy leaves like African Violets.
5. Get an aquarium
Aquariums increase water vapor in the atmosphere.
As the water evaporates, the humidity levels around it rise.
The aquarium water can also be an excellent source of fertilizer for plants.
If you already have an aquarium, you can place your plants around it.
If not, you can get one and place it near your plants.
6. Relocate the plant to high humid areas in the home
As I have mentioned, the humidity levels in each part of the house differ.
Certain areas are more humid than the rest.
This is because sinks, showers, wet towels, and water outlets usually keep the bathroom and laundry area more humid than the other rooms.
Bathrooms and kitchens are great places for indoor plants, as they are highly humid.
However, you also need to ensure they have enough light and ventilation for survival.
7. Use a terrarium
Terrariums are fun to arrange and serve as aesthetic home décor items.
They are perfect for small plants that need a lot of humidity and high temperatures.
Depending on the moisture requirement of the plants within their microclimates, they can be either kept close or open.
This setup is done to seal the moisture that the plant exhales during transpiration.
The moisture is locked inside the walls of the terrariums and does not find any way to escape outside.
It works much like the water cycle, and the plants again take the moisture.
They are set up inside to stay warm and humid and are perfect for plants that enjoy a lot of humidity and warm temperatures.
Closed terrariums have high humidity levels and are perfect for very high humidity-loving plants, and they may not be suitable for all indoor plants as the air inside is fully saturated with water vapor.
Open terrariums have an opening that lets air from outside circulates freely inside the terrariums.
However, the glass walls trap most moisture and reduce the ventilator, which keeps the condition humid.
8. Use the 2-pot method
The 2-pot method is another way to keep the plants in a humid condition.
For this, put the planter in a pot that is 2 inches bigger than the inner pot.
Fill the gap between the pots with sphagnum moss.
And then soak it with water.
The moss will stay moist for some days and will dry out after some days releasing water into the air.
However, make sure both the pots have a drainage hole to prevent any water accumulation at the base of the pot, which can lead to root rot.
9. Dry clothes near your plants
Believe it or not, wet laundry is a great source of humidity for indoor plants.
The water evaporating from your clothes will increase the humidity levels in the air around the plants.
10. Cover your plants with plastic
Though this might not be a visually pleasing way to raise the humidity, covering plants with clear plastic bags creates a humid environment for them.
You can put wooden stakes in your plant pot and prop plastic up the stake to cover the foliage.
However, you need to remove the bag from time to time to provide airflow and avoid excessive condensation.
Also, you need to keep this away from direct sunlight, as the plastic can get very hot and increase the temperature of the plants.
11. Give your plants a bath
Once in a while, you can take all your houseplants in the shower and give them a good bath.
This serves multiple purposes.
It cleans the leaves of the plant, washes off all dust, and drenching the leaves increases evaporation and humidity of the plants.
However, this is a time-consuming process as carrying all the plants to the shower might not be possible to do this always in the morning so that the leaves do not stay wet all night.
What is the best humidity level for indoor plants?
The levels of humidity requirements vary from plant to plant.
Some plants like Boston fern require very high humidity, around 70%, while English ivies can do fine in 40% humidity.
However, an average of 50-60% humidity is suitable for most indoor plants.
Can too much humidity be bad for indoor pants?
Too much humidity can lead to certain problems, the most prominent being diseases.
Excessive humidity can increase the chances of fungal and bacterial diseases in plants.
Most pests and fungi like to live in damp and moist environments with poor light and ventilation.
So if the indoor plants are in a humid area with really poor ventilation, they can get susceptible to pathogens.
Always ensure your indoor plants get a lot of bright light and circulation around them to stay healthy and decrease the chances of pest attack.
Humidity levels are crucial in keeping our indoor plants happy. Despite having low humidity indoors, you can increase it in multiple ways. Do not let your plants experience poor humidity, which directly affects their health.
Consider getting a humidifier, misting, relocating, or any of the other ways that I have discussed in the article. But, always check the humidity levels using a hygrometer to ensure that the plants need more humidity in the first place. Otherwise, excessive humidity can also cause many problems.
Source: Growing Indoor Plants with Success.