You may have heard the expression that humidity is a killer, but is that true for our beloved plant pets? The answer is a little complicated and it really boils down to what type of plant it is, as to whether it likes or dislikes humidity. Humidity is like marmite to a plant and quite often, they either love it or they hate it – which can make looking after your plant pet that extra bit trickier.
This guide will explain how to check whether your plant likes humidity and what kind of environments different plants need to be kept in. It will also talk about any pesky problems your plant pet may have with humidity and give you some easy Prickle tips to keep them happy in your home.
What is Humidity?
Simply put, humidity is the amount of moisture (water) present in the air. Some plant pets adore having plenty of moisture in the air, especially those that originated in hot rainforest environments. Others loathe humidity and plants that are native to arid, dry desert conditions will likely shudder at the thought of even the smallest amount of humidity.
What’s more, our plant pets have different ways of coping with humidity and some even prefer to get their water intake from the air around them through their leaves rather than relying on the roots to absorb water from the soil. This is especially true for rainforest plant pets that would natively grow above ground level, in the canopies of trees where access to ground water is difficult at best.
Recreate Your Plant Pet’s Comfort Zone
The first thing you will want to do when working out humidity is figure out what type of plant pet you have and where it originated from. A quick online search should give you all of this information, including where the plant originates from and how it deals with humidity.
The next thing you will want to do to help your wonderful plant pet to thrive is to recreate the environment that it is native to (of course this takes a bit of creativity, unless you intend on growing a rainforest in your living room). As a general rule, you will come across three types of plants and each type is happiest in different rooms within our homes.
- High humidity plant pets – these types of plants have the best time when there is an abundance of moisture in the air and absolutely love their leaves being misted and coated in moisture. The ideal room to settle these plants in is in the bathroom, toilet or shower room. When we take baths or showers, we often have a lot of moisture that saturates the air, and your plant pet will be blissfully happy to absorb it.
- Medium humidity plant pets – these types of plants like the occasional misting and enjoy a relative amount of humidity. Like Goldilocks, they want it to be just right. Rooms that are perfect for these plant pets are living rooms and bedrooms. This is because we tend to spend the most time in these rooms and as we breathe, we expel a little moisture into the air which the plants can soak up.
- Low humidity or dry plant pets – these are the plants that hate humidity, and you will want to keep them in the driest parts of your home. Conservatories and hallways are normally best for these plants as the humidity levels in these well-ventilated rooms are typically much lower.
Our homes tend to get different levels of humidity at different times of year which can make it a tricky to keep a plant happy with a consistent humidity level. In warm summer months our windows are open, and air circulates freely – but this can cause any humidity to escape. In the winter when it is colder, we tend to heat our homes and keep windows closed which can cause humidity to build up.
This is where misting is really important. You will need to adapt your misting schedule according to the time of year and the plant pet you’re looking after. Plants are usually good at visually showing signs of distress too which will help you to realise there is a problem and remedy it quickly.
Common signs of humidity distress in a plant are:
- Foliage turning brown at the tips.
- The edges of leaves yellowing.
- Flowering plants don’t produce flowers or if they do, the flowers wilt and die quicker than normal.
- In advanced stages of humidity problems, or for particularly sensitive plants like cacti and succulents, the plant will shrivel up entirely. With some succulents, you can expect the plant to become mushy where the excess water is destroying the leaves.
- Lastly, if left completely untended your plant pet will sadly wilt and pass away.
Humidity Care Tips for Indoor Plants
To fix the above humidity problems you will need to refer back to the type of plant you have fostered and then adjust your care approach. If it is a dry houseplant, you may want to consider moving it to a drier location in the house and avoid watering the plant until it has recovered. For plants that like humidity but are experiencing difficulty, move the plant into a more humid room or undertake a more regular misting schedule.
There is no one rule fits all and each plant pet will have different humidity needs. With that said, for the most part, plants are very resilient and when you have fixed your care strategy, they should bounce back – often much sooner than you might expect and once again be the adorably happy houseplant you desired all along.
Humidity Tools for the Job
There are a couple of tools that can be used to increase or decrease humidity. The first plant pet tool that every green fingered houseplant lover should have is a mister which will water leaves. These are especially handy for bathing the foliage in fine water vapour when the air is too dry around your plant pet. Watering leaves is a fool proof way of restoring a high humidity plant.
Dehumidifiers are a godsend if you’re looking to grow desert plant pets as they remove the moisture from the air quickly and effectively. They even work in high humid conditions, and you can easily grow cacti or succulents in a room with a dehumidifier.
Lastly, to get some extra humidity in a room you can spend more time in that room to increase the levels of moisture in the air – this might not be ideal, so the first step to increase humidity is to employ the trusty mister mentioned above.
And that about wraps up our Prickle guide to humidity and don’t forget to check out our indoor plants watering tips guide also. Have you come up with an inventive way of controlling humidity for your plant pets? Get in touch and let us know and make sure you follow us on social media too!