Are you wondering why your plants aren’t looking too happy? Especially during the wintertime? The answer is most likely due to the weather. If the weather outside is too cold for us even with our jackets, imagine how it would be for our plants! And the fact that there’s a lower humidity level within the house too!
There are numerous ways to increase humidity in a room for indoor plants but my favorite method is with a humidifier. My second favorite method for increasing humidity without a humidifier is the greenhouse method. Combining several methods will work just as well. You can always do trial and error until you find what works best for you.
It’s so important that you continue to build a growing environment for your plants, even during the cold months. This includes providing enough sunlight, reducing the watering frequency, and creating an indoor humidity room for your plants.
It’s one thing to have a warm dry house, but it’s another thing to have a warm home with moisture in the air. Tropical houseplants need that extra moisture in the air in order for them to thrive.
Now let’s figure out how to increase humidity in a room for indoor plants.
The effects of humidity on plants
Humidity is often defined as the level of moisture or water vapor that is retained within the air. It is critical for a plant’s growth. The level of humidity often undermines how and when a plant will open its stomata.
It is commonly known that the stomata are widely considered as an apparatus of cooling down. When the external conditions for a plant are excessively warm instead of damp, the stomata close down for a much longer time. It then becomes incredibly difficult to monitor the level of water.
As the plants grow and keep spreading, the water fumes amongst them are spread out. Nonetheless, there are still certain problems with humidity. A high level of humidity may attract a number of parasites and insects that will eat away at your plant and possible root rot. While humidity at a lower level may cause the plants to die out and decay.
Is humidity important for plant growth?
It’s a no brainer that humidity is important for plant growth. Maybe a little bit more important than we can imagine. Depending on the plant and their origin, some have a higher humidity level while others may need less humidity.
Without humidity, plants lose that moisture in their leaves and may start turning a duller color or even start to wilt. Flowers won’t bloom as much or will fall off the minute it blossoms. Humidity is just as important as watering your plants.
Think of it this way, does your skin stay nice and moist in the winter? Probably not. That’s the same concept with your tropical indoor plants. They love the summer more than winter.
How would you know if your plants need more humidity?
If you see the following signs, reconsider your plant care to determine the solution. Most of the time it will either be due to the lack of moisture in the air or being overwater/underwatered.
- When your leaves start turning brown or yellow
- when your leaves start to feel more crispy
- when your leaves start wilting
- when the soil is drying out quicker than usual
- when your buds aren’t opening or are failing to blossom
How to increase humidity in a room for plants?
Tropical plants love being in a humid environment. Our house temperature may not always be warm enough for these tropical plants, because who wants to live in a warm house? Especially during the summer, when we usually take full advantage of the air conditioner. So what can we do? Get creative!
1. Make a humidity tray (pebble tray)
Humidity trays can also do wonders for your plant. and they’re super cost-efficient and super easy to make. I love pebble trays mostly for their aesthetic appeal. I feel like they just make my plants look more elegant. I can’t stop staring sometimes.
All you need to do to make your own humidity tray at home is to get a saucer or some type of shallow tray that’s like an inch or two larger than your current pot. Find some cute rocks, pebbles, marbles, or even stones if you want. Spread it onto the tray until it is filled, but make sure to not overfill it.
Then you’ll need to add water but it’s so important to only fill the water level to a slightly lower height than the tallest pebble stone there. Remember that your potted plant will be on top of this pebble tray. We don’t want the pot to touch the water when it sits on top. Or else that will defeat the purpose of the pebble tray and will cause root rot instead of increasing humidity around your plant.
The idea behind this method is that water from the humidity tray will evaporate into the air, giving your plant the moisture it needs. So you will need to refill the tray with water often.
2. Mist your plants
Misting plants is also similar to the concept of a pebble tray. Only you won’t need a tray for it. You’ll just need a mister or a spray bottle! Which is another reason to love planting. There are so many cute and elegant misters out there. I have like 3 just because they’re too cute to pass up on.
Anyways, back to misting.
Misting will help create water vapor in the air for your plants but the effect is temporary. Keep in mind that it is extremely important to mist only in the daytime, preferably in the mornings.
The morning will always be the best time to do your misting and your watering session. This will give your plant leaves plenty of time to evaporate the water throughout the day.
NEVER ever mist your plants after sunset. There won’t be enough time for the water on the leaves to go through the evaporation process. This can cause your plant leaves to have water spots and possibly develop fungal diseases.
You may need to mist several times throughout the day to keep the surrounding area moist enough for your plants since the effects are temporary, but just don’t mist so close towards the evening.
Also when you mist your plants, make sure to spray under and on top of the leaves as well!
Oh and don’t forget that not all plants can be misted. Plants that have hairy leaves or velvety leaves (African violets and Purple hearts are good examples) should be avoided at all times. Spritzing water on plants that have fuzzy leaves will cause permanent spotting on their leaves and will have a higher chance of developing bacterial diseases.
Just remember to mist in the morning and all will be dandy!
3. Invest in a humidifier
Ahh humidifiers. What would I do without you?! This thing has saved me from having a graveyard full of plants. I remember my first winter with tropical houseplants. Half of them died while the other half lost their vibrancy. It took me a few weeks to wonder why.
I live in Florida so I didn’t think the weather was too cold for them. But boy oh boy, was I wrong. And on top of that, I didn’t run the humidifier long enough for my plants either. Another rookie mistake.
With the humidifier option, you can choose to have it running for as long as you want, or have it running whenever the temperature starts to get cooler.
Humidifiers are strong enough to add enough moisture in the air for an entire room. And it increases the humid level pretty quickly. I love using a humidifier in the winter, especially since my plants are already all grouped together. It makes life as a plant mom so much easier to keep everything all in one place.
Granted I do have to move plants around a bit so that the plants that need more humidity are on one side of the room and the plants that need lesser humidity are on the other side of the room.
Another huge reason that makes me love the humidifier, even more, is that it’s great for my skin. The dry air in my house during the winter makes my skin feel so stale and wrinkly. With the humidifier, I don’t even have to turn on my heater during the cold!
4. Shower them consistently but avoid overwatering
Give your plants a shower every now and then throughout the winter months. I like to shower my plants at least once a month. Showering will also help ensure their cleanliness, and help keep them clean and shiny! Another double win for my plants and me!
Just as we are picky with our water, so are the plants. They prefer to be showered with room temperature water rather than really warm or really cold water. An extreme change in the temperature of the water will send them into shock mode, which will cause stress on them, and maybe you too!
Another thing I like to do when showering my plants is to use rainwater. They do wonders for my plant. So why not shower them in rainwater as well? I live in Florida, so it tends to rain often. I have one of those rain barrels and boy does it fill up.
The amount of rainwater that it holds is ridiculous. But I’m not complaining. It holds more than enough water to water all of my plants as well as provide showers for them on a monthly basis. And this helps reduce my water bill! It can’t get any better than that.
But if you don’t have rainwater, fill a huge bucket with water and let it sit aside for a full 24 hours. It’ll work just as great. This will allow the sitting water to arrive at room temperature level and get rid of all of the chemicals at the same time. But don’t let this water sit for days without being used. It may attract insects.
TIP: This is how you should prepare your water before you decide to water your plants with the water from the hose.
5. Place plants in more damp rooms
This is another win-win option that I consider as a more natural environment. It’s similar to the humidifier method.
Why waste the humidity that we create often? Such as the bathroom when we shower, or the kitchen when we cook, or even the laundry room when the drying machine is on. Now, do remember that there won’t always be humidity in those areas, so it is a temporary fix. And it may require you to bring your plants back and forth to different areas. Which is often not ideal.
6. Group plants together
I love grouping my plants together just because I like seeing all of them in one place. It’s so peaceful being in a room that’s filled with greenery. I wish I never had to leave my house!
But did you know that there’s another benefit for grouping plants together? Yes, and it’s to increase the humidity level! It’s like their own humid microclimate. Interesting isn’t it?
The more things that are in a room, the more air it takes up. So imagine a room filled with plants and pebble trays. It’ll definitely be warm up in there! and once you provide some misting in the mornings, your plants will love you even more. Do be wary about the plants that prefer a low level of humidity though. They may need to be excluded from this bunch to prevent being in dampness all the time.
7. Build a terrarium over your high humidity plants
I love terrariums! They just look so unique and fun. And building them is so therapeutic, well, at least for me it is.
Terrariums are perfect for those high humidity loving plants. Think of them as a humidity dome. There’s a wall built around the plants that hold all of the extra moisture inside. And whether or not it’s an open or closed terrarium, they still provide a good amount of water vapor in the air for most plants.
The difference between an open and closed terrarium is that an open terrarium will have air flowing in and out while the closed terrarium holds the water vapor within the terrarium until it is open. So the closed terrarium will be able to provide a pretty high level of humidity for whatever plants you choose to put inside. This terrarium method may not work for all plants.
8. Make a greenhouse
Another option that may work if you want to do something similar to the terrarium is to build a greenhouse! It is a lot bigger than a terrarium. So you can combine this with the grouping plant method and store all of your plants in there, creating a humid environment. You can even place your greenhouse outside under the sun, allowing it to get the right amount of sunlight that it needs.
9. Layering pots together
An interesting method that I have yet to try to increase humidity is to put a pot into a larger pot. It’s like layering sweaters but layering pots instead. So you have your plant pot, then you chose a plant pot that is slightly larger than your current one. Remember that they must have drainage holes. Even for the larger size pot!
Put your current pot into the larger pot. There should be a slight gap in between the two pots. Fill it up with water and sphagnum moss. The moss will soak up the water and once the moss starts drying out, it will release the moisture/water vapor into the air. Remember to check on it often and refill it whenever the water or moss needs more water.
Conclusion on how to increase humidity in a room for indoor plants
Winter can be brutal. As an individual who admires and loves plants, I know firsthand how much of a necessity is for tropical indoor plants. Especially during the colder months. It’s something we tend to forget often. But yet we wonder why our plants are dying in the winter. It’s most likely due to a lack of humidity in the air. But who would have guessed?
Experiment with different ways on how you could increase humidity in a room for plants. You can even combine a couple of methods together, like the pebble tray with a humidifier (my favorite combo). Or just use a humidifier (you’ll thank yourself for it). Or consider doing the greenhouse method. My honest suggestion is to consider getting a humidifier for the winter. It’ll benefit both you and the plants, in my honest opinion.
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