Low humidity levels are a common problem in homes year around. Ironically, most houseplants thrive with high levels of humidity.
In this blog, we share tips on how to raise humidity to help your houseplants thrive. We will answer your burning question: do humidity trays really work to increase humidity levels for your indoor plants? We will also discuss using humidifiers for plants, using a pebble tray for plants (also referred to as a humidity tray for plants), and why misting plants is a great way to increase humidity only if you do not have a certain species of houseplant.
Let’s dive in.
Signs Your Plants Need More Humidity
In the winter months, when temperatures and humidity levels are low, or during the summer months when your air conditioner continuously recycles dry air through your home, your houseplants go through the ringer.
How do you know when your plants are at a moisture deficit? There are a few common signs of plant dehydration, which include:
- Dry, crispy foliage
- Leaves that turn brown or yellow on the edges
- Wilted or drooping leaves and stems
- Flowers and flower buds fall from the plant
If you notice your plants exhibiting any one of these signs of low humidity, you need to increase humidity levels in your home as soon as possible.
How to Raise Humidity for Your House Plants
You noticed signs of stress on your beloved green children, and you need to increase humidity levels as quickly as possible. How do you go about raising humidity levels for your plants?
You’re in luck! We come equipped with plenty of tips on how to raise humidity levels for your plants.
The Pebble or Humidity Tray Method
You may be thinking: “Do humidity trays really work for my plants? They seem so simple!”
The answer is: yes! Humidity trays for plants, sometimes referred to as pebble trays for plants, are an effective method for increasing humidity levels for your indoor plants.
You can purchase a humidity tray for plants at your local garden center or nursery, or you can make your own pebble tray with items you have around your house. Simply grab a tray that is larger than your indoor house plant pot and fill it with pebbles. Add fresh, clean water so that it reaches halfway up the pebbles. As the water in your humidity tray evaporates, it will increase the moisture around the plant, subsequently increasing humidity levels.
It is extremely important for the health of your plant to make sure that the water does not rise above the pebbles. If your houseplant is submerged in water, it will waterlog the roots creating rot, which can severely damage or kill your plant.
Misting plants is a plant care best practice that adds moisture to tropical houseplant leaves. The additional moisture from misting your plants slows down the transpiration process, reducing the total amount of moisture evaporated from your plant.
Misting plants is not always beneficial. In fact, you should never mist plants that have hairy leaves including the African Violet, Streptocarpella, and the Purple Heart. Misting plants with hairy leaves can cause disease and leave permanent spots on the foliage.
The best time of year for misting plants is at the start of the winter season when humidity levels plummet and most people rely on central heating to stay warm. Furnaces pump dry, hot air through your home, eliminating moisture and creating an environment that is not conducive to thriving plants. Keep a spray bottle of fresh water near your indoor plant cluster for regular misting.
Give Your Plant a Bath
Doesn’t a plant bath sound delightful?
During the winter months when humidity levels and temperatures are particularly low, or during the summer months when you run your air conditioner 24-hours a day, a plant bath is a helpful tip to increase your plant’s humidity levels.
First, place a towel on the floor of your bathtub or shower floor to prevent scratches from the plant pot. Gather your houseplants from around your home and place them on top of the towel in the bathtub or shower. Plug the drain and turn on the shower with lukewarm water. Let the water shower your houseplants’ foliage and fill the bath a few inches from the bottom. This will both clean your houseplants’ leaves and allow them to draw sufficient moisture into the soil from the bottom of the pot.
Use a Humidifier for Plants
If the humidity in your home is regularly below the recommended 40 - 60% level, introducing a humidifier into your home will benefit both you and your houseplants.
Using a humidifier for plants will elevate the humidity levels in your home, subsequently affecting the overall health of your cherished houseplants. Plants go through a process called evapotranspiration, which means that water rapidly evaporates from the soil and leaves and into the environment. When you maintain regular levels of humidity in your home, you help your plants retain moisture levels keeping stems, leaves, and flower buds healthy and strong.
The elevated levels of humidity in your home will not just benefit your green friends! You and your family will greatly benefit from the increase in humidity as well. Benefits of using a humidifier in your home include:
- Improve chronic congestion
- Reduce symptoms of common cold
- Reduce allergy and asthma symptoms
- Improve the appearance of skin including the early signs of aging
- Improve dry, red, and inflamed skin
- Soothe dry, red, and itchy eyes
- Ease respiratory symptoms in babies
How to Arrange Plants for Optimal Humidity
In addition to the aforementioned tips on how to raise humidity for plants in your home, there are ways you can arrange your houseplants to create a pocket of humidity in which your plants flourish and thrive.
Grouping Your Plants
Grouping your indoor plants can have a miraculous effect on their overall health. As we mentioned earlier, evapotranspiration is the process of plants releasing moisture into the environment. When you group plants together in your home, you allow the evapotranspiration process to create a pocket of humidity that benefits the entire group of plants.
When grouping the plants in your home, you want to group like with like. Houseplants that thrive in high levels of humidity (like ferns, Peace Lilies, palms) should be grouped together, while plants that prefer moderate to low levels of humidity (like succulents) should be grouped similarly.
Adding a humidity tray for plants in the center of your plant groupings will further improve humidity levels. You may also want to add a humidifier for plants near your plant groupings to further accelerate the humidity levels in these areas.
Location is Everything
Another factor to consider when grouping your houseplants is location. Placing high humidity-loving plants in high humidity areas of your home including your kitchen, your laundry room, and your bathroom is a great way to naturally elevate humidity levels. It is important to note that you do need to have a sufficient level of natural lighting in these rooms for your plants to thrive.
If you place a group of houseplants in a high humidity room, and you notice any signs of stress on the leaves, the stems, or the flowers, you should move that plant or the group of plants immediately to a room with lower levels of humidity.