Tropical plants are among the most popular indoor plants. These houseplants, which are native to the tropics, prefer a warm and humid house. Most indoor plants (except succulents and cacti) love humidity and moisture.
You can try misting your humidity-loving houseplants to give them the extra moisture they need. Some people place a tray of pebbles near their plants to fill the air with moisture. Group plants together, so they get moisture from each other. But the most effective way to increase uniform humidity is to use herbal moisturizer.
Why do indoor plants need a humidifier?
Except for succulents and cacti, many popular houseplants thrive when the air is humid. Plants like orchids and aroids (like lilies and monstera), to name a few, are adapted to tropical climates.
Tropical plants are not accustomed to low humidity, as they do not store moisture in their leaves like succulents.
There are several ways plants can absorb moisture from their environment, and these methods vary widely from plant to plant depending on the climate.
If you think you need an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier for your houseplants, here are 5 things to keep in mind:
- Determine if you have indoor plants that require moisture. Check out our list of plants that thrive in wetter environments below.
- Measure the humidity in your home. We will explore different ways to do this.
- Determine the right maintenance relative humidity levels for your houseplants.
- Determine the best ultrasonic humidifiers for your needs.
- Place the humidifier for plants in the right place and set the right schedule for its use.
Where to put the plant humidifier?
The most important thing to consider when buying a humidifier for plants is the location of the cool mist humidifier about your plants.
The location and position of the humidifier for plants determine whether the plants receive too little, too much, or too much moisture.
It’s best to install your humidifier 3 to 6 feet from your houseplants. So, the plants can get enough moisture.
Placing the humidifier too close to the leaves causes condensation on the leaves and soil for a long time.
Placing the humidifier too close to houseplants can also cause overwatering because the plants have better access to water than if the humidifier is placed a little further away from the plants.
Fungus and mold can develop if water begins to accumulate on the leaves. Also, if you over-moisten the soil, then oxygen does not flow to the roots in the right amount. This stuns the growth of the plant.
If you live in a poorly ventilated home or are concerned about the dangers of mold, permanently installing a humidifier around your home can be a concern.
You need to install the humidifier on a small table or shelf above the plants. This allows them to absorb the required amount of moisture.
The advantage of this placement is also that it provides water access to all parts of the plant.
You should also make sure that your humidifier is 4 feet below your ceiling. If your humidifier is too close to your ceiling, the moisture created can damage your ceiling. This is more likely when you use a high-capacity humidifier than a low-capacity one.
High-capacity humidifiers produce more moisture than low-capacity options.
Of course, the upper part of your plant’s leaves has a vascular structure to encourage water and light absorption.
Putting a little moisturizer on top of the leaves helps them absorb enough water and the rest of the plant gets enough water.
If you place a humidifier at the level of the lower part of the plant stem, then only it has access to water. But the top of the plant lacks moisture.
While plants have an upward water movement mechanism that encourages water movement from the roots to the stems and leaves of the plant, placing the humidifier below the leaves means that the leaves are not as strong.
Additional placement considerations.
- Do not place the humidifier in a corner. Placing humidifiers in a corner restricts airflow and can affect the plant’s ability to access moisture produced by the humidifier. In general, the corners receive the least airflow.
- You should also avoid placing the humidifier in a corner due to the risk of mold. In general, corners have more moisture than other areas of your home. Placing a humidifier in a corner can increase humidity and promote mold growth.
- Do not place the ultrasonic humidifiers near electronic devices. While it’s important to consider the placement of your houseplants, you should also keep your humidifier away from electronics. The dust in the indoor air damages the electronic components.
- Place the humidifier away from electrical outlets and connecting wires (socket strip). As with electronics, the moisture produced by a humidifier can damage connecting wires or increase the risk of electric shock.
How to use herbal moisturizer
Do my indoor plants need a humidifier? Do my plants need a cool mist humidifier or a warm mist humidifier?
Before we learn how to use a humidifier for plants, let’s determine if your houseplants need more humidity.
When you turn on your home’s central heating or air conditioner, the air in your home dries out. Many houseplants only grow in humid tropical environments. One simple thing you can do to humidify the air is to place a warm mist humidifier near your plants.
Some plant species require not cool mist but warm mist moisture than others. The following plants grow in wetter environments:
- Air plants;
- Spotted begonias;
- Fig with violin leaf;
- Prayer plants;
- Spider plants.
This is not an exhaustive list, so take a look at your plant to see if it might need not cool mist but warm mist moisture. Symptoms of low humidity include drying and curling of the leaves.
Another sign to look out for is the brown tips of the leaves. Determining low warm mist humidity can be a bit tricky, as some of the symptoms can appear like being submerged in water or too much light.
The less strong root system
A plant absorbs water mainly through its roots in the soil. Plants that grow in the desert have a powerful root system that allows them to feed on any water that is nearby. Such plants, on the other hand, do not need such a strong root system because where they originate, there is always water everywhere!
Epiphytic plants have evolved to absorb moisture from the air. These plants usually grow on or on top of other plants, such as trees. The most famous epiphytes are orchids and tillandsias.
Some of these houseplants have roots in the ground, some have aerial roots, and some may not have roots at all! For this reason, epiphytes need more moisture to grow.
Thin leaf system
So, when plants absorb water, where does it go?
There are some complex biological processes involved, but water primarily reaches the leaves, where it is stored or released into the air.
Succulents and cacti can stock up on water in case it is not available later. Therefore, such plants are unusually hardy.
The tropical plant has no place to store water in its leaves because they never had to store water with all the humidity and constant rain!
During guttation, plants can remove excess water from their leaves.
Leaves have pores called stomata that allow the plant to breathe. They are also able to absorb carbon dioxide and release water vapor.
They can close and open depending on whether the humidity is right for them. But if they are closed for too long due to dry air, the so-called respiration of the plant is blocked.
7 tips for balancing indoor plant moisture
1. The necessary humidity level needs of your plants
Knowing the moisture needs of your plants is very important. Plants require different humidity levels. Exposing plants to inappropriate humidity can stunt their growth.
On average, for most plants, you need to maintain relative humidity terms between 40-60%. Here is an average guide to the relative humidity needs of different plants.
- 0% to 20%. Although this humidity is very low, it is suitable for cacti and succulents. These plants grow at a relative humidity of 10%. These are plants such as aloe vera, panda ficus, cushion cactus, and donkey tail.
- 20% – 40%. Succulents and those that do not require high humidity can easily survive in rooms with this humidity. But, plants rot and die over time if exposed to such conditions.
- 40% – 60%. This is an excellent humidity level for low-maintenance plants, as most homes support relative humidity levels of 40-60%. If you want to grow your houseplants in the humidity levels, you may need to invest in a humidifier or occasionally cool mist your plants to ensure they are getting enough moisture to thrive.
- 60% to 80%. This is the best relative humidity for tropical plants. Most tropical plants need high humidity. Relative humidity of 60 to 80% is similar to their natural habitat.
- 80% and more. This too-much humidity level is suitable for tropical plants such as pineapple. Sprouting seedlings of the tropical sets are also humidity-loving plants.
Although it is not recommended to maintain such too much humidity levels in your home due to the risk of mold growth, you can achieve these humidity conditions in a greenhouse.
Knowing the different humidity needs of your indoor plants can help you determine how long the humidifier for your plants should run.
2. Group the plants
If you have more than 1 houseplant, a grouping can encourage their growth and reduce the amount of time the humidifier runs.
In general, indoor plants shed moisture during transpiration, which can increase the overall humidity in their microenvironment.
Placing plants in groups increases the humidity in their microclimate during the transpiration process and encourages the reabsorption of moisture initially released during the photosynthesis process.
3. Placing plants in a place with a natural humidity level
If you don’t have the right humidity level or don’t plan to buy a plant humidifier, you should place the flowers in a naturally moist area. The best place in your house for this purpose is the bathroom.
If your bathroom has good ventilation and plenty of natural light, it’s perfect for a houseplant. Ferns are a great option for placing in the bathroom.
4. Shower the plants
You can spray your houseplants in the morning. This helps them absorb the moisture they need to grow well. You can rinse the plant for a minute and then put the houseplants back in their original place in your home.
Avoid over-spraying your plants, as this is tantamount to over-watering and puts your plants at risk of root rot and over-dense build-up on the leaves.
If you decide to shower your plants, make sure the filtered or distilled water is slightly warm or even cold. Avoid exposing your plants to water above room temperature, as this may kill the plants.
5. Dry the clothes near the houseplants
If you dry your clothes indoors, you may want to dry your clothes next to your houseplants. This ensures that your plants can absorb the moisture released from wet clothes as they dry.
As wet clothing dries, it releases excess water into its surroundings, meaning the air circulation that is around them has high humidity levels.
If you don’t have a humidifier for your plants, you can dry your clothes indoors to ensure they get the moisture they need.
6. Run your humidifier between morning and mid-morning
Running a humidifier on your plants between morning and afternoon increases their maximum moisture absorption rate. Plants absorb moisture during the day and release water through transpiration at night.
Therefore, running your humidifier between the morning and mid-morning hours maximize moisture uptake.
7. Creating a greenhouse-like environment
You can create a greenhouse environment for your plants by carefully covering the planting pots with a plastic bag.
It is important to ensure that the bag does not touch the leaves of the plant, as this may affect their growth. To do this, it is optimal to install 4 sticks in a pot, which is slightly higher than the plant, and put a plastic bag on them. This helps avoid direct contact with the leaves.
This method creates a vacuum or greenhouse-like environment for the plant. The moisture released by the leaves during transpiration is trapped in the plastic bag and can be reabsorbed by the plant.
Need to use moisturizer
Let’s take a look at when to use a humidifier for your plants, and what time of day is it. What about the season? How does the condition of the room affect it? Most importantly, how high is the humidity?
When is the best time to turn on a humidifier for indoor plants? Between 7:00 am and 12:00 pm, or when the indoor humidity levels drop below 40%?
The best time to turn on
The best time to start a plant humidifier is in the morning, between sunrise and noon. You can turn it on at breakfast and turn it off at lunch.
This provides enough moisture for your plants!
If the humidity levels are still low after checking with a hygrometer, you can let the plant humidifier run a little longer until noon.
Don’t leave it too late at sunset. High humidity levels at night disrupt the natural transpiration process of your plants (the way they breathe).
Different plants have different ideal humidity levels and ranges in which to grow. You can check the relative humidity in your home with a hygrometer to see if it is in the right range.
Normally, when the humidity is below 40%, the plant humidifier should be turned on. As soon as the humidity exceeds 65%, you can turn off the humidifier.
Weather and season
Every place has its climate, but in general, the air humidity is higher in summer and very low in winter.
Part of it is related to chemistry and physics. Warmer air can hold more water vapor, while cooler air cannot hold more water vapor. In winter, due to the cold, the air humidity decreases, and then heating the air in the house leads to a significant decrease in normal humidity.
It is better to keep your plants with a humidifier in the winter when the air is dry and in the summer when you live in a low-humidity climate.
Should I put a humidifier near my plants?
It is better to use a humidifier for your plants every day. Use a hygrometer in the morning to check the humidity. When the relative humidity level is below 40%, you need to turn on the warm mist humidifiers.
This is more common in the winter when the temperature drops and the heaters absorb the excess moisture in your home. You should run not cool mist but warm mist humidifiers for your plants for at least 4-5 hours each day from morning to noon.
How close does the humidifier have to be to plants?
The ideal distance between the humidifier and your plants is 4 to 6 feet. If you get too close, compaction and overwatering may occur. If the plants have access to too much water from the humidifier, the risk of mold and mildew increases.
How often should you use a humidifier on your plants?
You should run your warm mist humidifiers for at least 4-5 hours each day from morning to noon. Applying too late in the afternoon risks leaving too much moisture in the air overnight if the plant cannot absorb enough of it, increasing the risk of mold.
How do you humidify a room for plants?
The easiest way to increase humidity is to spray plants with a fine mist of water. Try to use rainwater that does not contain chemicals or lime, and make sure it is lukewarm before spraying. It is best to place plants in a sink or bathtub when spraying, as moisture can damage wooden and upholstered furniture.
A humidifier is a great tool to increase the humidity in your home. It is especially necessary if you have indoor plants. After all, most of them require a relative humidity of 60 to 80%, which is very difficult to maintain unless you live in Florida or other states with high humidity.
If you’re looking to increase the humidity in your home to help your plant grow, a humidifier is a great option. If you’re using a plant humidifier, be sure to follow the placement instructions above to keep your plants moist.
You should also make sure that you place the warm mist humidifier correctly and take into account the moisture needs of the different plants in your home. This is especially important if you have a variety of plants in your home, e.g., succulent plants and non-succulent plants.