Alocasia Plant Humidity Requirements
There isn’t enough talk about the humidity requirements of houseplants. But humidity can be just as important for successfully growing Alocasia plants indoors as light or the potting mix.
Indoor humidity conditions aren’t always optimal for growing plants, especially tropical ones like the Alocasia.
The humidity requirements of Alocasia plants are high. Even though indoor humidity levels aren’t always optimal, there are solutions to this issue.
I’m going to discuss aspects related to alocasia plant humidity requirements, the factors that affect humidity, and how to increase humidity levels to keep Alocasia plants happy.
Do Alocasia Plants Like Humidity?
Yes, Alocasia plants enjoy high levels of humidity. Their need for elevated humidity levels can be traced back to the conditions in their natural habitat, where they grow in humid environments.
Unfortunately, our indoors are no match for a subtropical forest. Neither in terms of humidity, nor otherwise.
Usually, we strive to achieve and maintain average humidity levels, which are set between 40%-60%.
Humidity levels around 50-60% are satisfactory for Alocasia plants, yet difficult to maintain in certain homes.
If your Alocasia is not getting enough humidity, it will start showing symptoms of dehydration such as drooping leaves.
If the air is dry, evaporation is higher and faster, and the potting mix can go dry faster. So, keep an eye on the moisture level of the potting mix as well.
How to Measure Humidity Level?
We measure humidity levels with the help of an instrument called the hygrometer. Most often, however, our thermostats have built-in humidity measuring.
Monitoring humidity levels is useful not only to know whether you need to increase humidity levels for your Alocasia, but also to assess the humidity levels recommended for you too.
As I mentioned, average humidity levels are set between 40% and 60%. This range is the healthiest for humans.
Low humidity levels are associated with:
- Dry skin, eyes, and throat
- Increase in static
- Possible damage to wooden floors and furniture
Humidity levels above average are associated with:
- Possibility for certain pathogens to spread more easily
- Increase in mold and mildew
- Fatigue, muscle cramps, and worsening of respiratory illness symptoms.
Clearly, humidity has important implications for the health of humans too. Its importance for houseplants like the Alocasia is understandable then.
Factors That Affect Humidity
Humidity levels can change depending on a variety of factors. Knowing which factors increase and decrease humidity levels both indoors and out can help you prepare for and manage changing humidity levels.
I’m going to discuss these factors and offer advice on how to adjust or mitigate the effects of changing humidity levels.
Factors that can increase humidity levels:
- Low temperature
- Low light
- Lack of ventilation
- Building materials and air tightness
When temperatures drop, humidity levels can increase. Same goes for lack of sunlight and lack of ventilation.
Rainfall increases humidity levels, and you can even take advantage of rainy days to increase humidity levels indoors – simply crack open a window and let some fresh air inside.
Building materials and insulation can allow humidity indoors, it can lock it out, or on the contrary – lock it in.
There are also factors that lower humidity levels such as:
- High temperatures
- Drought or lack of rain
- Increase in sunlight
- Increase in ventilation
- The type of materials used in the construction of your building
Depending on whether you want to lower or increase humidity, you can play around with these factors to try to influence humidity levels.
E.g., if you want lower humidity levels you can increase ventilation. If you want higher levels, you can open a window when it’s raining.
Beyond tinkering with these factors – to be fair, some of these are really hard to influence – there are several other methods to increase humidity levels.
For Alocasia plants you’ll more often need to increase humidity levels rather than lower them.
Options to achieve higher humidity levels are easily available. You can go the commercially available route or the DIY route. Both are effective.
How to Provide Humidity for Alocasia Plants?
I’ve cleared it up by now that in growing Alocasia plants indoors, one of your challenges will be to provide enough humidity.
Here are some of the easiest and most efficient ways to meet your Alocasia plant’s humidity requirements:
– Use a Humidifier
There are various types of indoor humidifiers that you can use for this purpose:
- Warm mist humidifiers (they boil water to turn it into vapors).
- Ultrasonic humidifiers (they use high frequency vibrations to increase evaporation of water in a tank)
- Evaporative humidifiers (these use a fan to speed up the evaporation).
- Even your AC unit can have a built-in humidifier function.
Regardless of which of these you’re using, it’s clear that they cost money and you need to buy one if you don’t already own one. They’re even costs associated with operating them since they use electricity.
The upside is that they’re extremely efficient and plants simply love them. They can increase humidity levels in an instant and depending on the type, they can be programmed to maintain humidity levels at a certain level.
They can offer a more targeted approach to increasing humidity levels and work regardless of other factors such as temperature or ventilation.
If you’re on a budget or simply don’t want to invest in a humidifier, there are several DIY options that I can also recommend.
– Use an Evaporation or Humidity Tray
This is a simple and somewhat efficient way to make sure your Alocasia is not deprived of the humidity it so craves.
Here’s how to make a humidity tray:
Simply take a tray, place some mid-sized pebbles into the tray and fill the tray with water so that the pebbles are only half-way immersed in water.
Take your potted Alocasia and place on top of the pebbles. The trick is to keep the pot above the water line to prevent it from soaking water up through the bottom of the pot.
Since Alocasia plants are sensitive to overwatering, you must prevent its roots from sitting in wet soil.
As the water evaporates from the tray, it increases humidity for the Alocasia that sits on top of the pebbles.
This method is dependent on higher temperature levels that would normally increase evaporation. Another downside is that it’s not instant, so the beneficial effects take time to be noticed.
Regardless, this is a method I have been using before I had my own humidifier, and I can vouch for its effectiveness, especially during heatwaves and periods of drought during summer.
– Change the Location of Your Alocasia
This method may be the easiest and cheapest way to increase humidity levels for your Alocasia.
But where should you move your Alocasia if it’s not getting enough humidity? Two places come to mind that are naturally more humid than the rest of your home – the bathroom and the kitchen.
The bathroom would be my top choice if it weren’t for the lack of sufficient light. Unfortunately, there are no windows letting light into my bathroom, so I can’t move any of my humidity-loving plants there.
However, there are plenty of lucky folks out there who do have either overhead windows or other windows allowing plenty of sunshine into their bathrooms. To them, moving an Alocasia to a bathroom can prove an excellent move.
For us who don’t have bathrooms with natural light, there is another option, and that’s the kitchen.
Having a window in a kitchen is much more likely than in a bathroom, so most of us are covered when it comes to using the kitchen as a naturally more humid place for an Alocasia plant.
There you have it, something as simple as moving the plant from a low humidity bedroom to a high-humidity kitchen or bathroom can make a whole lot of difference in the humidity levels of an Alocasia plant.
– Open a Window When it’s Raining
Obviously, this isn’t a long-term solution to increase humidity levels, but it’s a very efficient one, albeit a temporary one.
It’s an especially useful trick following a period of heat or drought. Cracking a window when it’s raining can increase humidity levels indoors and offer your houseplant a much-needed relief.
Whenever possible I do take advantage of natural outdoor humidity and leave my windows open after a heavy rain to increase humidity levels indoors.
– Give Your Plants a Bath
Not to be taken literally, this method involves taking your Alocasia plant under the shower and giving it a “bath”.
This will also help remove dust and dirt from the leaves and offer a boost in humidity levels, albeit for a short time.
The disadvantage of this method is that it’s time consuming and you’ll need to allow your plants to dry off before taking them back to their place.
The major advantage is that you’ll be cleaning the leaves of your Alocasia, which can go a long way in warding off pest problems and other leaf diseases.
Can You Mist Alocasia Plants?
I haven’t covered misting as a method to increase humidity levels, not because it’s not a good method, but because it comes with a few caveats.
But first – Can you mist Alocasia plants? Yes, yes you can. Should you mist them? It depends.
Misting like cracking a window open when it’s raining or giving your plants a bath, offer a transitory relief and increase in humidity levels.
While bathing your plants can be difficult to do regularly, misting is easy enough that you can do regularly. So, in this respect, misting takes the lead.
As for the caveats of misting, here’s an overview:
- Misting can increase the risk of fungal problems or pest problems if the leaves are dirty and don’t dry quick enough.
- Misting with chlorinated water or water with a high mineral content can damage the leaves.
Therefore, mist occasionally, keep the leaves of the Alocasia clean and dust-free, and use chlorine-free water.
Alocasia plants love and thrive in high humidity. Our indoors aren’t exactly their dream location. Luckily, we have several methods to increase humidity levels and bring them to levels that can satisfy the requirements of an Alocasia plant.
Without question a humidifier is the quickest and most efficient way to raise humidity to the desired levels. But the other methods can also be efficient when other options are not available.