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How to Create a Humid Environment for Indoor Plants

How to Create a Humid Environment for Indoor Plants 

You may be a new plant owner trying to find out how to care for  your new indoor plant to thrive after taking it home from the nursery. 

Or perhaps the weather has started to get dry and you’re looking for ways for your plant to make it through the seasons.

When it comes to temperature and humidity, you have to pay close attention if you want your plants to stay alive and lush all year long.

Some plants are fussy, especially if they’re not native to the area or if they require another environment than the one you currently live in.

To save you from all the tedious research, we’ve come up with everything you need to know about creating a humid environment for your plant.

Know your plant

Know your plant

Not all plants need humidity. There are plants that can survive dryness and relative drought like succulents and cacti, but if you’ve followed the pattern of purchasing trendy plants, chances are you’ve got yourself a tropical plant that needs humidity.

The best example of this is the current obsession with the Monstera plant with its beautiful holey leaves, as pictured above. Regardless of which Monstera variation you have, they need humidity to survive all year long.

Other popular examples of tropical plants are the following:

  • Calathea
  • Fittonia
  • Fiddle leaf fig
  • Money tree (Pachira Aquatica)
  • Rubber tree
  • Most palms 
  • ZZ plant
  • Philodendron
  • Pothos

Of course, each of these plants has its own specific care needs—which you have to take note of—but they all require something in common: humidity.

Prepare for the seasons

The driest season you will have to prepare for will be winter, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the humidity levels all year long.

Most major Australian cities including Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Canberra are at their most humid during summer, followed by spring. By the time autumn comes, humidity levels start to drop all the way until winter.

That said, it’s best to start your preparations by creating a more humid environment at home during autumn when you can still test out different methods and see which one works best for your plant.

Get a hygrometer

Get a hygrometer

A hygrometer is not an everyday tool you’ll have around the house, but if you’re growing indoor tropical plants, this is a must.

A hygrometer measures the humidity level in the air, and while you can use the current day’s dew point to estimate the day’s moisture, a hygrometer can measure humidity in a certain area, which is more helpful than a general forecast.

We suggest getting a digital hygrometer with a built-in thermometer for the best results and ease of use.

The humidity in your home will vary depending on the season, but 30%–60% is the safest and most comfortable range to be in.

Higher levels indicate more humidity, and during the winter it’s expected for the humidity levels in your home to be at around 30%–40%, which may be enough to keep you warm but not enough for your plants.

A humidifier is your best friend

A humidifier is your best friend

If you want the best and easiest way to create a humid environment in your home, getting a humidifier would save you from any more tedious steps.

Humidifiers come in different shapes and sizes, and you should choose the appropriate size relative to your plant collection.

Regardless of size or capacity, however, we highly recommend purchasing humidifiers that have humidity control, although these units will be more expensive.

You may be looking to spend anywhere north of $150 for a humidifier with humidity control, but if it’s within your budget to get one, a hygrometer will not be necessary anymore.

Group your plants together

Group your plants together

It would be counterproductive to keep the humidifier running if your plants are all in different places in your home! 

It may not be the ideal interior arrangement you prefer, but keeping your tropical plants together is essential to creating and maintaining a humid environment in your home.

All plants transpire, and when they do, it’s best for the water vapour they exhale to go to their plant neighbours.

Just remember to keep your tropical plants together and keep the plants that require less humidity like succulents and cacti away, as the latter will not react well to more humidity.

Bring your plants to the bathroom or kitchen

Bring your plants to the bathroom or kitchen

Yes, we know this may sound a tad strange. But hear us out: steam coming from your cooking will create humidity, and it’s a bonus if you’ve got a kitchen window where you can place your plant by.

As for the bathroom, don’t worry. You don’t have to place it there permanently especially if your bathroom doesn’t have adequate sunlight.

However, if you place your plants in the bathroom right after your shower, they will benefit from that post-shower steam. 

Another way to take advantage of the vapour in the air is to place your plants by your laundry as the clothes are drying, and once they’ve absorbed all the vapour in the air, you can take them back to their usual place.

Create a humidity tray

A humidity or a pebble tray is supplementary in maintaining a humid environment at home, and we don’t recommend relying on this sole step to increase the humidity levels in your home.

It’s an inexpensive step, and all you’ll need is a shallow tray, some small pebbles, and water. 

All you do is place the pebbles on the tray, pour water to a level where the tops of the pebbles are still above the water, and place your plant on top of it.

The water will evaporate through the pebbles and around the plant, giving it some vapour.

That said, this is only suitable for small plants, as bigger and heavier plants will not get the vapour it needs from a minute amount of evaporation.

Use a terrarium

Use a terrarium

Terrariums come in two main kinds—open and closed. It would depend on your specific plant which will be most suitable, so additional research will be needed.

You can have a large terrarium, but these are costly and will take more effort to set up. Thus, we can only recommend setting up your own terrarium for small to medium plants.

A terrarium is beneficial for all the water vapour it releases, which is then recycled by the plant.

You can purchase a terrarium that’s already been set up, or you can create your own, which would be cheaper. 

How to Set up Your Own Terrarium

You will need 

  • soil, 
  • pebbles, 
  • activated charcoal, 
  • a glass bowl or container, 
  • and lastly, your plant.
  1. You will first put a small layer of pebbles at the bottom enough to cover the whole bowl.
  1. Add activated charcoal next. This is to avoid bacterial growth in your terrarium.
  1. Lastly, you’ll add some soil that’s just enough for your plant. 

You can of course add some decorative flair by layering it with pebbles on the top or putting in some small ornaments, but this is an optional step.

Take it easy on misting

Take it easy on misting

You may think that frequently misting your plants throughout the day will help them with humidity, but we don’t recommend that you do this often.

Misting your plants will have negligible effects on the humidity, as the water only stays for a couple of minutes before evaporating into the air.

If you rely on misting for humidity, you will most likely end up having to mist your plants every 10–15 minutes, which is simply not realistic for anyone.

Furthermore, too much water on your plants’ leaves can cause damage and even fungal growth. This is definitely not something you want for your plants, so it’s better to play it safe and only mist them minimally.

Watering your plants on a regular schedule with the desired amount should be enough. Overwatered plants will have droopy leaves with their colour turning yellow, or the leaves completely falling off.

Signs Your Plant Has Low Humidity

With all that said, you may be wondering about the signs your plant has low humidity.

Some signs are 

  • brown edges on leaves, otherwise known as leaf scorch,
  • leaves turning dry and becoming overly crispy,
  • shrivelling or curling leaves,
  • and lastly, wilting leaves and stems.

Wilting, of course, can also be caused by overwatering, so it’s best to check if your plan shows no other signs of overwatering such as root rot, fungal growth, and soft stems.

At this point, you may be thinking that keeping a plant alive takes a lot of work—and for certain plants, they do. This is why it’s vital that you choose a plant that works for you, your environment, and your commitment level.

Keeping tropical plants healthy all year with the kind of climate Australia has will have its own challenges.

If you’re unsure of whether you can care for a plant that requires humidity, you can opt for near-kill-proof plants like snake plants and the ZZ plant. 

And if all else fails, you can go for the safest option—succulents and cacti.

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