Plant сare: humidity and houseplants
Many houseplants do best at higher levels of humidity but can survive in low levels, too. Excessive humidity, on the other hand, is a potential killer. This is because it encourages the growth of deadly funguses and molds. To care for houseplants successfully, you’ll want to provide the ideal, balanced humidity level.
Signs That the Humidity is Too Low
Dry Leaf Tips
Dried leaves don’t always indicate low humidity. This could also be a sign of too much light or too little water. For instance, dried leaf sides can mean insufficient watering. Dry leaf tips, specifically, are often caused by overly low humidity, however.
Leaves Begin to Curl
When a plant is feeling the lack of moisture, it will begin to shy away from the light a bit. This is in an effort to keep water from evaporating as quickly. As they try to shield themselves from the light, the leaves may begin to curl.
Flowers Die Quickly
Flowers require a certain amount of moisture in order to grow and to last. If the humidity is too low, they may fail to bloom entirely, or promptly die off.
Signs That the Humidity is Too High
As you can imagine, plants love water. Unfortunately, funguses and molds do, too. This is the biggest (and sometimes the only) sign that the humidity is too high, and it manifests in a few different ways:
- Rotting roots
- Rotting stems
- Gray Mold
- Powdery Mildew
- Plant Rust
If your plant is showing any of these signs, first, treat them for funguses and molds. Many plants will not recover. Your best move is to move unafflicted plants elsewhere, where the humidity is lower (and take care not to overwater).
Check the Humidity in Your Home with a Hydrometer
If you’re not sure what the humidity is in your home, you could always invest in a hydrometer. This will give you an exact number, and you’ll know whether you need to decrease or increase the humidity in your home based on it. Most plants prefer humidity of 40-60%.
How to Decrease Humidity
If your home is quite humid, due to your climate or whatever else, increasing the ventilation may prove helpful. To do this, space your plants further apart, have fans going, and open the window to let in the fresh air.
If it’s simply too humid in your home, you can place a dehumidifier near your plants. This will help keep excess moisture from accumulating and causing mold, etc.
Relocating Plants Somewhere Drier
If your plants are in a rather humid room of the house, you may want to consider moving them somewhere drier. For instance, a room away from the kitchen or shower. If you prefer your plants where they are, you may need to invest in a dehumidifier.
Make Sure not to Overwater
Overwatering can cause plants to soak in water. As you can imagine, this causes the humidity to skyrocket. This is one of the biggest causes of preventable funguses and molds. As a general rule, allow the soil to dry out about 80% before you rewater.
How to Increase Humidity
Terrariums are not only beautiful and decorative, but they can also be a great way to provide humidity to certain, terrarium-friendly plants. Terrariums create their own little micro-climate that can replace the less than ideal conditions in your home (primarily low humidity).
If your plants need more humidity, look no further than a humidifier (or two). Set one up nearby, and it will almost certainly do the trick!
Some recommend misting as a way to increase the humidity around your plants. Unfortunately, it’s not very effective, as the water will dry up quickly. In fact, some leaves are damaged by water, while others mold quickly when they’re wet. Except for with tropical plants, misting is not typically beneficial enough to be worth the risk.
If you can’t invest in a humidifier, you could always make a DIY pebble tray. As the name implies, all that they consist of are a tray, pebbles or gravel, and water. When placed under a plant pot, a pebble tray will evaporate up to the pot, creating a more humid environment.
An Open Aquarium or Fountain
An open water source is also a great source of humidity, such as an aquarium or fountain. Not only will these make your home more suitable for plants, but as a bonus, they make for beautiful as well as practical decor.
Relocate Plant to Bathroom with Shower
Some rooms in the house are naturally humid, like some kitchens, or bathrooms where people regularly shower. These could be the perfect locations for plants that are humidity-lovers. Just make sure that they don’t overheat (particularly in the kitchen).
Air Circulation is Key
With any level of humidity, air circulation is key. Otherwise, it can become a killer, encouraging a plethora of funguses, molds, pests, etc. Keep this in mind, particularly when increasing your home’s humidity. You want humid, yet fresh air.
Humidity Drops in the Winter
Be aware, humidity tends to drop considerably in the winter. This is when your plants may need supplemental humidity more than ever. For wintertime, it’s advisable to invest in a humidifier.
Common Humidity-Loving Plants
- Calathea Rattlesnake
- Snake Plant
- Air Plant
- Spider Plant
- Bird’s Nest Fern
- Peace Lily
- Majesty Palm
- Fiddle Leaf Fig
Common Plants That Prefer Lower Humidity
- Desert Rose
- Thanksgiving Cactus
- Aloe Vera
- Bunny Ears Cactus
- Easter Cactus
- Burrow’s Tail
- Flaming Katy
- Crown of Thorns
- Panda Plant
- Hens and Chicks
- African Milk Tree
As you can see, there are plenty of easy ways that you can control the humidity in your home, so your houseplants can live a long and healthy life. Find the right balance and your plants will thrive! Do you think your houseplants have the right level of humidity?