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4 Signs Your Plants Need Humidity

Houseplants bring you closer to nature, and just having a little green in your life has been shown to have incredible benefits for mental and physical health. While our plants are busy delivering health benefits to us, we need to ensure that all their needs are being met as well. In this article, you will learn the 4 Signs Your Plants Need Humidity

One problem many houseplants have to deal with every day is the level of humidity. Too much or too little can have dramatic consequences on your plants’ health. 

Fortunately, you can do a lot of things to create optimum humidity levels that will help your indoor plants thrive.

What is Humidity?

As the ground moisture evaporates, it floats about in the atmosphere as water vapor. The higher the concentration of water vapor in the air, the more humid it is.

Water vapor is invisible to the naked eye, but we sure can feel it. Those warm and sticky days you experience after a couple of days of rain are because of high humidity. 

Humidity is also behind rain clouds forming. Cooler air cannot hold the same volume of water vapor as warm air, so when a warm, humid day cools in the afternoon, it can result in afternoon showers.

The cooler air essentially squeezes the excess moisture out as clouds and raindrops. Humid days followed by cooler nights are also why we wake up to dew and fog in the morning. 

Troubleshooting Your Plants

The amount of humidity in the air inside your home can significantly affect the health of your houseplants. The typical home generally sits at around 50 to 60% of humidity. There are many varieties of plants content in such an environment. Plants that enjoy a low humidity environment are identifiable by their thick, waxy leaves. 

Other plants that people enjoy having in their homes prefer higher humidity. If you live in an area that experiences warm, wet summers, these plants will be lapping it up. However, they may struggle when the days get cooler and drier during winter. 

A few popular houseplants that prefer higher humidity levels include ferns, bamboo, philodendron, and orchids, to name just a few. 

Your plant will show signs that its environment is lacking in humidity. Check them regularly for:

Signs Your Plants Need Humidity #1. Shriveling

Shriveled leaves are a sign that your plant is not getting enough water in the soil or the humidity is too low. Low humidity will also prevent the plant from flowering. If it does manage to flower, the flowers could shrivel up and fall off before blooming. Wrinkled leaves are another indication that the plant is drought-stressed. 

Signs Your Plants Need Humidity #2. Scorching

A scorched plant is recognizable by burning or scorch marks around the margins of the leaves. If the plant’s condition is not remedied, the markings will work their way inward until the leaves wither and drop.

Signs Your Plants Need Humidity #3. Browning or Crisping

The tips of your plant’s leaves turn brown and curl upward. The brown areas are crumbly to touch. Plants which thrive in rainforests are susceptible to dry air when brought indoors. 

Signs Your Plants Need Humidity #4. Wilting

Plants wilt when their cells lose rigidity from a lack of moisture. The leaves and flowers will droop, and they are more susceptible to diseases and pests. 

How to Tell if There is Too Much Humidity

Low humidity can be a challenge for some plants, but a high-humidity environment can cause distress as well. Here are a few symptoms you might see because of high humidity.

Mold or Mildew

Mold on a plant appears as a white and fuzzy coating over your plants. It’s a type of fungus that exists everywhere, but low levels are not a problem. In humid conditions, mold can grow in your plant’s soil and cause root rot. 

Mildew and mold are mistakenly thought to be the same thing, but mildew grows on plants as powdery fungus. Mildew presents as a flat pattern spreading over plant parts, while mold grows upward into a rounded shape. 

Fungal Infections

Other fungal infections that can affect your plant during high humidity include:

Black spot

Black spot can show up as ugly black, brown, or gray marks on leaves during high temperatures and high humidity. Spots are always on the tops of leaves.

Rust

Unsurprisingly, rust looks like rust on leaves. It can affect a wide range of plants but is common on daylilies, roses, and hollyhocks. There are more than 5,000 varieties of rust, and each type is specific to a plant. 

Yellowing

Yellowing can be a sign of age, where the lower leaves turn yellow and drop off. Moisture stress or too much humidity can also cause yellowing leaves. 

7 Ways to Add Humidity

1. Humidifiers

A small humidifier placed anywhere near your plants can maintain the humidity in a small space while leaving the rest of the room unaffected. If you have a lot of plants, a larger capacity humidifier may be required. 

2. Fine Misting

Plants that are in brightly lit rooms with good airflow will benefit from light spritzing from a squirt bottle throughout the day. Fine misting isn’t a long-term solution.

Once the moisture evaporates, the humidity will return to its previous level. Misting can help at the start of winter when temperatures have dropped suddenly, and the air is a little drier. 

3. Plant Grouping

Leaves transpire, which releases water vapor into the air. When you group a few plants together, the combined transpiration helps to raise the humidity of the immediate area to create a small, more humid microclimate.

Group plants that thrive in similar humidity levels together. For instance, you wouldn’t want to group your cacti with your philodendrons. 

4. The Two Pot Method

Grab a larger pot than the one your houseplant is in by about 1 – 2 inches. Put the smaller pot inside the larger pot and fill the void with sphagnum moss.

Add water, and the sphagnum moss will soak it up and slowly release it as water vapor through evaporation.

You will need drainage holes in both pots so you don’t have water build-up in the base of the outer pot, where it could lead to root rot.

5. Bottle Garden or Terrarium

Terrariums are tiny little plant kingdoms enclosed in glass and are a great way to create a humid environment for plants that like that sort of thing. However, the humidity build-up in enclosed terrariums can be extreme. You can solve this by creating an open terrarium that allows air to circulate while still keeping humidity levels at an acceptable level. 

6. Glass or Plastic Domes

Like terrariums, domes placed over a plant create a mini humid environment local to the plant but give you more control. Make sure you remove the dome for a few hours to ensure the plant receives adequate airflow during the day. 

7. Wet Pebble Trays

Add a layer of pebbles to a tray large enough to support the pot. Fill the tray with water, but not so much that it covers the stones completely. You want to make sure the pot isn’t sitting in the water. The water evaporating from the pebbles creates a humid microclimate for the plant. 

Plant Humidity FAQs

1. Is heat the same as humidity?

Humidity is water vapor in the air, so it’s not the same thing as heat. However, a hot day can feel hotter, more uncomfortable, and sticky when the humidity is high. Deserts get hot but have very low humidity levels. 

2. Will humidity ruin my home?

Too much humidity can cause moisture buildup on walls and surfaces, leading to mold, mildew, and allergen problems. Humidity monitors and proper ventilation will help you control the levels in your home, so they don’t become excessive. 

3. Can humidity kill plants?

Plants can suffer from humidity that is too high or too low. If a plant is not doing well because of humidity and the situation is not rectified, it could be terminal for the plant.

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