Several houseplants, especially tropical ones, enjoy high humidity levels. This can make it difficult to grow them indoors without artificially increasing humidity levels.
Normally, humidity levels indoors should be between 40-60%, but some homes are drier, especially in the winter season when the heating is usually on. But some plants need even higher than average humidity levels.
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to increase humidity levels indoors. I will discuss these methods, highlighting some of their pros and cons, so you can pick the one that works best for your houseplants.
Using a Humidifier
The easiest way to increase humidity levels around your houseplants is to get yourself a humidifier. It’s easy to use and some will allow you to customize the desired humidity level.
Plus, humidifiers can help ease sinus problems and cold symptoms, especially during the winter season, when the air is naturally dry indoors. So it’s not only good for your plants, it’s good for your health as well.
The downside is that high-tech humidifiers — the ones that allow you to customize humidity levels — can cost a pretty penny compared to the other methods to increase humidity around your houseplants I discuss below.
Also, humidifiers increase the humidity of the entire room in which they operate, so that may not be something that you’d like.
Grouping Plants Together
Another solution to raising the humidity level in your home so that it suits the needs of your houseplants is to group plants together.
The way this can increase humidity is through a process called transpiration whereby plants release moisture through their leaves.
Grouped together, the moisture released by these plants will create a microclimate that will benefit all the humidity-loving plants around.
Unlike the humidifier, this method of increasing moisture levels is localized to where the plants are positioned.
You should only group plants that have similar humidity requirements and even care requirements. This way you can ensure the best care for plants with similar needs.
The risk of grouping plants together is the potential transfer of pests and diseases from one plant to another.
Pests can easily get from one houseplant to another, so check your houseplants for pests before grouping them together.
Likewise, fungal diseases can also easily transfer via spores, so make sure that all your houseplants are healthy and pest-free before you decide to place them near each other.
A third method of raising humidity levels is a more direct one, but extremely efficient. Misting the plant occasionally will help create a humid environment around the plant.
Some houseplants such as different types of ferns require regular misting to keep them from dehydration.
And while some humidity-craving plants enjoy or require misting, there are a few houseplants such as African violets that should never be misted because they’re prone to developing leaf diseases.
Moisture on the leaves can sometimes create a hospitable ground for fungi and bacteria, so only use this method for plants that aren’t prone to developing leaf diseases.
When misting your plants use clean water, preferably chlorine-free water. If you’re using tap water, you can leave the water uncovered overnight to allow chlorine to evaporate.
Moving Plants to Bathroom or Kitchen
Some rooms or spaces in your home are naturally more humid. Take your bathroom or kitchen, for example. These spaces can be a suitable environment for houseplants that need increased humidity to thrive.
Plus, different types of ferns and trailing plants can really pull together the decor of a bathroom or kitchen.
While this is an easy enough method to offer more humidity to your houseplants, there’s only so many houseplants your bathroom or kitchen can accommodate.
Moreover, plants that have high light requirements may not get enough light in a bathroom. So while they might receive enough humidity to thrive, they may not get enough natural light.
Use the Tray-of-Pebbles Method
If you want to create a humidifier on the cheap, you can. All you need is a tray, some pebbles and water.
Simply place some pebbles in a tray, fill the tray with some water so that the pebbles are only covered halfway with water.
Next, place the pots on the pebbles, making sure that the underside of the pot doesn’t reach into the water.
Because plants can absorb water through the drain holes on the bottom of the pot, you need to make sure this doesn’t happen. Otherwise, you risk causing root rot issues as the soil becomes over-saturated with water.
This is a method that works immediately, but there are a few things you need to be careful about.
As I mentioned, don’t allow the pot to sit in water, but also empty the tray after watering your plants and rinse it thoroughly to prevent insects and bacteria.
Use Terrariums for Small Plants
For small plants that tolerate high temperatures and thrive in high humidity, terrariums can be an ideal ecosystem.
As water evaporates in a terrarium it gathers on the glass and ends up back into the soil, much like the water cycle we can observe in nature.
With warmth and high levels of moisture, humidity loving plants can thrive. The only downside is that considering the typical size of a terrarium this method is only suitable for smaller plants.
From Baby Tears plant to Watermelon Peperomias, there are plenty of terrarium plants you can grow.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make your houseplants happy indoors. While not all methods are suitable for all plants, you can adapt your humidifying techniques to choose the one that works best for your particular plants.
You can group some plants together, you can mist others, you can grow small plants in terrariums or move them to more naturally humid spaces. Or you can simply invest in a humidifier or make your own.
No method is the absolute way to humidify the air around your plants, so you’ll probably need to combine different methods to keep all your humidity-craving plants happy.