Belonging to the tropical regions, most houseplants require humidity ranging between 50% and 60%, sometimes even more. Thus they need high humidity and warm weather to remain healthy.
Misting is one way by which you can add moisture to your plant to maintain the humidity. But how often should indoor plants be misted?
In general, you can mist your indoor plants 2-3 times a week to clean the leaves and help with the humidity. Don’t mist your plants daily as it increases the risk of pest infestation and fungal diseases. Using a humidifier, pebble tray, or grouping your plants is more effective in boosting humidity.
Misting has both merits and demerits. Some plants do not like misting. Sometimes, misting too much will give rise to other issues. That’s why it is necessary to consider both sides of the coin before application.
If you want to know how misting is helpful for indoor plants, read this article till the end. We will discuss all the information you need to know about misting and humidity.
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Humidity requirement of indoor plants
As most indoor plants belong to tropical regions, they need high humidity to remain healthy. Although they are indoor plants, growing them indoors gives them low humidity.
The humidity indoors is relatively less compared to outdoors. Plants that belong to the Aroid family, popular orchids, English Ivy, and many more need high humid conditions.
For some plants, a humidity of 50% is significantly less compared to what they receive in their natural habitat. Some prefer humidity near 80% to survive.
Especially during the winters, the humidity drops relatively low. It becomes very stressful for the indoor plants to survive.
It is essential to provide proper humidity to indoor plants. You don’t need to provide the maximum, but at least minimum humidity if you want to keep your houseplants alive.
Do indoor plants need misting?
Misting helps maintain humidity and proper moisture level in the indoor plants.
As indoor plants need a lot of humidity to survive, misting adds that humidity to these plants. Especially during the dry winter seasons, misting regularly can help create good humidity around the indoor plants.
But sometimes, misting might not be quite beneficial for indoor plants as the water can evaporate into the air if the weather around is excessively dry. Thus, misting will increase the humidity for the indoor plants only in the short term.
There are many alternate methods of increasing humidity indoors, like pebble trays or humidifiers. Still, if you think to continue misting, try changing the position of the plants. Keeping your plant near a window receiving indirect sunlight will require misting more often.
However, if your indoor plants are kept in bathrooms, kitchen, or room corners, they are already getting enough humidity and moisture, and thus they won’t need any extra humidity.
Misting and watering
You can both mist and water at the same time once a week. Misting helps to keep the plant from any dehydration. But, watering is meant to pass to the roots for absorption of both water and nutrients.
Generally, watering is done only once a week to retain the moisture and help the plants absorb the water slowly for a more extended period.
Also, misting the leaves frequently will allow the plant to absorb water through the leaves quickly. Thus, you will be able to keep the plant hydrated always.
Merits and demerits of misting
Misting has both pros and cons. It is essential to see both sides and then decide whether misting is appropriate or not. Most gardeners have mixed opinions about misting indoor plants. Let us see why.
Besides increasing humidity, misting has other advantages too.
- Misting helps in cleaning the plant leaves. Whenever you mist, you can wipe the leaves with a cloth. This will help remove all the dust from the leaves. Clean leaves help in the processing of photosynthesis.
- While misting the plants, you can add some neem to create a neem oil solution and then spray it to the plants. It will keep the pests away from the plants, if any.
- Misting helps in cooling down the leaves if they are ever exposed to direct sun or heat. The cooling extends to the whole plant through the moving fluids in the xylem and phloem whenever you mist the plants.
- Misting, along with adding humidity, also increases the moisture level in the soil.
Misting the plants without checking the proper humidity only results in damage to the plant.
- If the surrounding air of your indoor plants is too dry, misting won’t be much effective. All the water provided by misting will evaporate into the air. Thus, misting will fail to provide good humidity and moisture.
- Misting is known to spread fungus and bacteria. If your plant is already affected by any fungus, bacteria, or pests, misting will splash water from one plant to another. It will further spread fungus and bacteria from the affected plant to other good plants through water splashing.
- Misting can result in long-lasting wet leaves. Such conditions are pretty attractive for pests and fungi. If the plant is kept under low light, it increases pest and fungus infestations.
- If you use tap water for misting, hard minerals like chlorine, fluorine, chloramines, bicarbonates, etc., will accumulate on the leaves. They will block the leaf pores and stop them from absorbing moisture.
How to mist the indoor plants?
Misting is very easy.
- Fill a spray bottle with lukewarm or room temperature water.
- It is better to use filtered water or distilled water that is free of all hard minerals. You can collect rainwater and use that.
- Adjust the nozzle to the mist setting.
- Mist your indoor plants in the morning so that leaves get time to dry out.
- Mist the top and bottom of the leaves. Let the water sit for a while. After some hours, you can wipe the water.
Misting the undersides of the leaves
Plants need water to perform photosynthesis, the process through which they make food. When you mist the plants on the surface of the leaves, the water only gets coated on the surface.
But misting beneath the leaves will give a new turn when the fluids and gases get exchanged. This makes it easier for the stomata to get the water.
When the leaves get water, the stoma opens and closes with the aid of guarding cells, allowing the water required to get in and out of the leaves. This is why misting is recommended both on the top and bottom of the leaves.
Misting the soil
Misting the soil will not help in keeping the plant hydrated. Proper watering is necessary for that. Misting the soil will help in keeping the top part of the soil moist.
How often to mist the indoor plants?
The frequency of misting the indoor plants depends on the weather in your region or the room. If the weather around your indoor plants is hot and dry in the day or cold, dry air at night, you will have to mist the plants frequently. Also, if your plant is kept in an AC room, it might need frequent misting.
However, you will have to keep checking your plant all day. If you find out that the water is getting evaporated quickly, you need to increase the frequency.
Try keeping a hygrometer in your room. It is a device used for checking the humidity level in your room.
Best time to mist the indoor plants
During cold, dry days, misting can be done all the time. The humidity remains relatively low. However, observing the plant the whole day to find out whether misting is working or not is possible.
We have other works to do or places to go. It is better to follow a routine of misting. Misting is recommended during two times of the day:
- Early mornings between 7 am-9 am.
- Late evenings after 5 pm.
Over misting will not give you any good results. Plants will only absorb the water needed. However, the plants may like the extra water that will drip over the soil and absorb the roots.
Misting in one place will give rise to other problems like moss, mold, pest infestation, and fungus in the plants and the surrounding walls.
But if your plant is suffering from underwatering issues, fix that problem. Stop misting for some time. When the plant has less water, the stomata remain closed to prevent any more water loss.
So, misting in the leaves will not have any positive reaction. Once the problem resolves, you can resume misting again.
How to check humidity indoors?
The humidity indoors depends mainly on outside factors like temperature, season, or your region. It also depends on the room where you have placed your plant.
Places like bathrooms, kitchens, room corners, or basements will have more high humidity than any other room in your house.
During the winters, the humidity level is relatively low compared to the summers. You might have to shift your houseplant to a place where it can receive enough humidity.
There are specific devices to measure the humidity of the room you have or place your plant. Hygrometers can help you know the humidity of your rooms. Then it will be easier to understand in which place your plant will get the proper humidity.
Signs that your indoor plants are facing low humidity
Belonging to the tropical regions, most houseplants need high humidity to survive. Keeping them in places where they are not getting the actual humidity, not even the minimum range, will lead to problems with several signs:
- Wilted and droopy leaves and stems
- Browning of the leaves at the tips and edges.
- Crispy and curly leaves
- Shriveled leaves and flowers
- Leaf scorch
If you notice these signs on your indoor plants, you can start misting them. If the problem is still not solved, you will have to try other effective or alternate methods, or there is another problem in your plants.
How to maintain humidity in indoor plants?
Mostly misting is performed to correct the humidity and moisture of the plants. But if misting is not enough, the alternate methods I have mentioned below will help create humidity for the indoor plants:
One of the greatest and effective ways to create ideal humidity for houseplants is installing a humidifier in the room.
This device is created to increase the humidity level inside the rooms. They can mimic the same humidity levels the plants used to receive while growing in their native land.
If your room has a lot of tropical plants, installing a humidifier is a great choice. Moreover, they will require minimal effort. First, consider checking the humidity level in your plant’s room and then fix it.
If you do not want to use a humidifier or are unavailable in your region, you can use pebble trays.
Take a tray and scatter pebbles all over it. Add water to the tray to fill half of the pebbles. Take your potted plant and place it over the tray. See that the drainage holes are not immersed in water.
Once the water evaporates, it creates extra humidity for your plants. When the water evaporates and the water level goes down, add water again.
When transpiration occurs, the plants release moisture which can increase the humidity level. Keeping plants together will help increase and create an ideal warmth and humidity for the indoor plants.
Make sure that all the plants are healthy and do not have any pest or fungus infestation. Keep a little space for good air circulation.
Keep an aquarium
If you own an aquarium in your room, keeping the humidity-loving houseplants near it will help add extra humidity to the plants.
Moreover, the old water from the aquarium can be used as a fertilizer for your plant. The old water is rich in nitrogen, and using it as a fertilizer will benefit the plant.
Note: Several houseplants prefer misting – Orchids, Arrowhead plant, Zebra plant, Philodendrons, Ferns, Anthuriums, Fittonia, Peace Lily, Begonia.
Avoid misting the plants which have hairy and fuzzy leaves, like African violets and Piggyback plants. Also, avoid plants that don’t need much moisture, like cactus or spider plants.
Adding fertilizer while misting
If you want to fertilize the foliage, you can add fertilizer to your misting spray bottle and spray it on the leaves. This will help the plants to get nutrients in case they face any deficiencies.
You should do this in the morning between 7-9 am or in the evening after 5 pm. The stomata beneath the leaves remain open during these times and will accept the nutrients quickly.
It is beneficial to do foliar fertilizing under the leaves for quick absorption of nutrients and good reaction in the plants.
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Most indoor plants enjoy high humidity, and there are several alternate ways of increasing humidity if one is not enough.
Although misting can help adjust the humidity level of indoor plants, it is not a permanent solution. If the air is very dry, you might have to give extra effort and mist frequently.
Moreover, misting can also tend to spread pests and fungus, if any. Instead, try other alternative methods like pebble trays, humidifiers, or aquariums.
However, misting helps clean the leaves and doesn’t allow the dust to sit on the leaves.
Source: Growing Indoor Plants with Success.