5 Ways to Create Perfect Humidity for Your Houseplants

The air in most homes is too dry for plants to thrive. Use these simple tricks to raise the humidity around your plants.

If your home has central heating, you'll stay toasty during the fall and winter, but there's a downside: Your indoor air will most likely be very dry. The same is true during the summertime if your air conditioner runs a lot. This is bad news if you have an affinity for houseplants. While cacti and succulents thrive in dry conditions, most tropical plants don't. A common way these humidity-loving plants show they need more moisture in the air is browning leaf tips. Climate-controlled spaces demand one of two approaches: Exclusively grow plants that like dryness (or at least tolerate it) or raise the humidity in your home. Here are 5 ways to boost humidity around your houseplants.

wooden shelving with plants
Carson Downing

1. Invest in a Humidifier

A humidifier is the most obvious solution to dry air. But are humidifiers good for plants? Yes—the added moisture benefits most houseplants (and people, too). If you don't want to install a whole-house humidifier, place a small room humidifier or vaporizer near plants instead. Even if you use a humidifier, you may also want to pair that with one or more other methods for increasing humidity around your houseplants.

2. Give Your Plant a Friend

Grouping plants also helps because moisture released by one plant can benefit the plants next to it. Keep in mind, though, that plants also need good air circulation to discourage certain diseases. Leaves of individual plants should not touch. This isn't always possible, but you should try to give each plant a little breathing room.

3. Mist the Leaves

Spray your plants frequently with a fine mist of tepid water. Mist both the tops and bottoms of leaves in the morning so that plants have a chance to dry off more quickly while temperatures are likely warmer during daylight hours. (Warning: Misting at night when temps are cooler means water tends to evaporate more slowly, which encourages diseases.) Besides increasing the humidity right around your plants, spritzing your greenery also helps deter some insect pests, especially spider mites. However, never mist plants with fuzzy or hairy leaves because they tend to hold onto the water longer, giving diseases more of a foothold.

4. Use a Humidity Tray

orchid plants along window sill
Peter Krumhardt

A humidity tray is easy to DIY. Just place an individual plant or group of plants such as your prize orchid collection on a shallow tray filled with a layer of clean pebbles or glass beads. Fill the tray with water until its surface is just below the bottoms of the pots. As the water in the tray evaporates, it will create humidity around your plants. Just be sure the water doesn't touch the pots or it could keep the soil too wet and cause root rot.

5. Nest Two Pots

To give your houseplant a more humid environment, you can use a technique called double-potting. Place your plant's pot inside a larger cachepot that doesn't have a drainage hole. Fill the gap between the pots with moist sphagnum moss. Add water as necessary to keep the moss damp. As the moisture evaporates, it will create a pocket of humidity around your plant. Plus, double-potting allows you to show off your plant in a more decorative planter than what it may already be in.

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