Hot in Here: Humidity 101

Although thick, humid air can be a pain for humans, it is super beneficial for houseplants. Here’s how to create a more humid environment for your plants at home, especially during the winter. 

Hot in Here: Humidity 101

Words by The Sill

Plants 101 Next Article
Although thick, humid air can be a pain for humans, it is super beneficial for houseplants. Here’s how to create a more humid environment for your plants at home, especially during the winter. 
What is humidity?

Humidity is the relative amount of water vapor contained in the air. As temperature rises the capacity of the air to hold water vapor increases. 

It is measured on a scale of “relative humidity” ranging from 0% which is dry, to 100% that is completely saturated. Fog, for example, would indicate 100% relative humidity.

Most houseplants will want to be in an environment with 30-40% relative humidity. However, ones that are more humidity sensitive will need to be 60% or more humidity. The thinner and more papery the leaves are, the greater the likelihood of it needing higher humidity. Plants with thicker, waxier leaves are better able to withstand dry air.

How can you boost humidity for your houseplants?
  1. Humidifiers: Consider adding a tabletop humidifier to any space with your plants, or even a larger one that helps the humidity of the entire room if you have the space.
  2. Plant grouping: You can also place your plants together in the same space, which creates a micro-climate as they transpire water from their leaves. 
  3. Wet pebble trays: These saucer/drip trays are filled with stones and water and meant to be placed underneath a planter to localize humidity more consistently around an individual plant. 
  4. Domes: These domes can be placed over your plant to create humidity, but make sure to remove it for a few hours a day to allow your plant to get air flow. 
  5. Fine-misting: If you want to spritz your plants with water, we recommend only doing so for plants in bright light areas that receive good airflow. This method only increases humidity somewhat locally for a few minutes, but when it evaporates, the humidity goes back to what it was. 
  6. Terrarium or bottle garden: Can be used to group plants together to create mini-environments where the walls of the vases will help maintain humidity. For more information on how to build a terrarium, check out our blog here.
  7. Double potting: You can double pot by placing a potted plant in a planter that is 2-3 inches larger, then fill the sides with damp sphagnum moss. 

Troubleshooting 

If your plant has low humidity, symptoms can include:

  • Shriveling 
  • Scorching 
  • Browning or crisping
  • Wilting 

If your plant has too high humidity or a lack of air flow, symptoms can include:

  • Mold or mildew development
  • Fungal infections 
  • Overwatering symptoms like yellowing leaves (too much water vapor with little air flow accompanied with moist soil prevents plants from drying out at a sufficient rate)

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