Growing plants indoors requires specialized care, such as regarding their humidity levels. While some plants can grow healthy without much humidity, others need moisture in the air otherwise, they won’t survive.
This article gives you all the information you need to grow humidity-loving plants in the home – and essential things to avoid.
What Is Humidity and Its Effects?
Humidity is the amount of water vapor that’s present in the air. It’s measured in percentages, such as 40% humidity or 10% humidity. The more moisture in the air, the higher the humidity.
Warm air contains more water in it, so it can become more humid than cold water as a result of water particle energy. When the air becomes warmer, water molecules that are present in the air are also warmed, which increases their energy levels. Warm air also contains more water molecules than cool air.
But what causes air to dry out? When the air is cold, it contains less moisture so that it can dry out. This is why cold weather in winter causes the air inside your home to dry. Using sources of heat, such as fireplaces or air conditioning units, doesn’t add more moisture to the indoor air – it just makes it drier!
Plants can help to increase the humidity of the indoor air because water from their soil moves through the roots of the plant, up to its stems, and to its leaves, where it evaporates via the leaves’ pores into the air.
However, some plants increase home humidity more than others because they have high rates of transpiration. Examples include:
- Rubber plant
- Parlor plant
- Jade plant
The problem with ensuring that plants get the right amount of humidity they need is that the average amount of humidity plants require is between 60 and 70%, whereas humans require between 30 and 50%.
If plants get too much humidity, this can be dangerous. Too much water will evaporate from them, which will cause them to absorb more water from the soil. This will flood them with too many nutrients, causing them to experience plant burn.
Similarly, when humans are exposed to too much humidity, they can experience negative side effects. These include:
- Low energy levels
How to Increase Humidity in the Air
To increase humidity in your home, there are various methods you can try to ensure a comfortable living space for you and your plants.
The Pebble Tray Method
This works well to increase humidity for your plants. How it works is that you place an inch (2.54cm) of pebbles in a tray, then place your plant’s pot on top of them. Fill the tray with water about halfway up the pebbles. Clean out the tray’s water regularly so that insects and bacteria don’t accumulate in it.
What’s great about this method is that the tray can be placed right next to your other plants, so they can make the most of the humidity without the increase in the humidity is too much for you.
You can mist your plants with a spray bottle filled with water to give them more moisture. But, it’s not a solution for all types of indoor plants as some can be negatively affected by it. Examples include yucca and spider plants.
By comparison, houseplants that want to be misted include Boston Fern, Chinese Evergreen, and rubber plants.
A running water fountain will increase the humidity in a room. You can make the most of it by placing your indoor plants within close proximity to it. It should be medium-sized to offer enough humidity to plants, especially if you have quite a few of them.
A humidifier is an effective way to increase the humidity in your home, not just for your plants but also for you. However, if you don’t want to make your entire home more humid by installing a humidifier, you should position a smaller humidifier within close proximity to your plants.
By boiling a few liters of water on the stove, you can significantly increase the humidity in a room. However, this can become a tedious task. It’s best done as a quick fix for plants that are in close proximity to the boiling kettle or pot so that they will benefit from the moisture in the steam.
Placing Plants in High-Humidity Rooms
One of the easiest ways to ensure humid-craving plants get more moisture in the air without any effort is to place them in the kitchen or bathroom. Both of these rooms naturally have more humidity than others. Turn off exhaust fans in these rooms so that you ensure the humidity sticks around for longer.
Use a Steamer
Clothes or facial steamers both work effectively to increase the humidity in a small room. The steam released into the air has other benefits, too, such as reducing dust that coats plant leaves and prevents them from engaging in photosynthesis properly.
Place Bowls of Water Around the House
An easy way to boost the humidity of your home is to place water bowls around it, such as on different surfaces. Just make sure they’re not in high-traffic areas where they can be disrupted.
Better yet, if you have built-in radiators, put a bowl of water on top of each of them. This will keep them warm and speed up the water’s evaporation. Be careful when handling the bowls, as they can become hot!
Dry your wet clothing inside
Instead of drying your clothes in a tumble dryer or outside, place your clothing items on drying racks in the house. As they dry, the moisture will be released into the home.
How to Maintain a Higher Level of Humidity
It’s not always easy to maintain constant humidity in the home. This is because it’s not always practical to do specific tasks that increase a room’s humidity, and it’s not easy to maintain the correct temperature in the home, which can affect its humidity levels.
To prevent fluctuations in your home’s humidity, you should ensure that the humid air isn’t escaping. Here are some tips to keep it locked in.
- Seal cracks around doors and windows so the humid air can remain indoors.
- Switch off your exhaust fans. This will prevent the elimination of humidity.
- Use a smart humidifier. It’s a good idea to install a smart humidifier that connects to an app on your smartphone. What’s great about it is that it will automatically adjust the home’s humidity, so you don’t have to worry about it.
- Install an HVAC system that offers humidity regulation. You can find HVAC systems for the home that contain humidity controls so you can set the level of humidity that you want.
Potential Drawbacks of Humidifiers
Although humidifiers are effective ways to keep your home humid for your moisture-loving plants, they do have potential drawbacks. These include the following:
- They grow bacteria. You should be using distilled water to fill your humidifier as you don’t want to use tap water that contains harmful bacteria and can release the bacteria into the home.
- They form mineral deposits. Don’t let water sit in your humidifier for a long time, as this causes mineral deposits to accumulate inside it, which encourages bacterial growth.
- They promote mold growth. If you place your humidifier too close to curtains and other fabric items in the home and it’s set to release a lot of humidity, it can lead to dampness that causes mold in the home.
- They require scaling. You have to descale your humidifier once a week to remove its mineral accumulation. You can do this by wiping it down with white vinegar. But, using distilled water instead of tap water prevents scaling issues.
Can You Just Buy More Plants to Increase Humidity?
Buying more houseplants can help to boost your indoor humidity, but if you live in a very dry climate, they won’t be enough on their own.
Having too many plants in the home will also require more effort when caring for them, which isn’t practical if you’re not home a lot.
That said, if you want to bring more plants into the home, you can calculate how many plants you need to boost the humidity by following this guideline: for every 100 square feet, you want a minimum of two medium-sized plants.
When placing your plants in a room, group them together. This will serve to increase the humidity level, and it benefits your plants because as one releases moisture, the other plants absorb it. Choose plants with larger leaves or ones that have high transpiration rates so that they will encourage greater humidity.
Examples include peace lilies, jade plants, and Boston ferns. Purchase a hygrometer so you can maintain the correct level of humidity in your home and ensure that your plants receive the level of humidity that they need.
If your home is dry, your plants can suffer. You can encourage more humidity for your plants in various ways, such as:
- Installing a humidifier.
- Using pebble trays.
- Placing moisture-craving plants in humid rooms in the house, such as the kitchen or bathroom.