Humidifier For Houseplants: A Complete Guide on How To Use Them and Important Tips

Because most well-liked houseplants are native to tropical climates, some of them can tolerate high levels of humidity. However, if the air inside your home is dry, as it often is in the winter, your plants could surely benefit from the usage of a humidifier. Keep reading as we talk about humidifier for houseplants.

humidifier for houseplants

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A humidifier will offer a more consistent humidity level for your tropical houseplants than misting or utilizing a pebble tray.

Run the humidifier for your plants between dawn and noon each day for the greatest benefits. Your humidity-loving plants should be in the same room as the humidifier but not too near that moisture begins to condense on their foliage.

If you’re unsure of the humidity level in your house, use a hygrometer to acquire a precise reading. Although various plants have distinct ideal ranges, the majority of them will thrive in a range of 40% to 60% relative humidity.

In this article, we will show you how to properly use a humidifier for your houseplants so that you can have healthy, thriving, happy plants!

Main Reasons Why Houseplants Need Humidifiers

Many common houseplants flourish when there is more moisture in the air, with the exception of succulents and cacti. Many plants, like peace lilies and Monstera, are used to tropical climates, including orchids and aroids.

These tropical plants aren’t utilized to reduce humidity, unlike succulents, which retain water in their fleshy leaves. However, there are a few ways for plants to take in moisture from their surroundings, and depending on the climate where they come from, these techniques can differ greatly from one plant to the next.

Here are some of the main reasons why you should ought to use a humidifier for your indoor greens.

1. Less Vigorous Root System

A plant absorbs water mainly through the soil via its roots. Desert-adapted plants have developed strong root systems that allow them to benefit from any available water.

Tropical plants, on the other hand, don’t actually require such a strong root system because there is constantly water where they are from!

Epiphytic plants have developed to take in moisture from the atmosphere. Typically, this type of plant will climb or grow on other trees or plants. Orchids, tillandsia (air plants), and Monstera are a few epiphytes that are well-known.

These houseplants range in root structure from structured aerial roots to completely lacking roots. Because of this, epiphytes require greater humidity levels to flourish.

2. Thinner Leaves

Have you ever wondered where does water go once it is absorbed by plants? Although there are a number of intricate biological processes at play, the water essentially travels up to the leaves, where it is either stored or released into the atmosphere.

Cacti and succulents store water in their leaves for times when there may not be any. They are, thus, exceptionally tough plants.

Due to the constant humidity and rainfall, tropical plants don’t have any places to store water in their leaves and never have! These plants may leak surplus water from their leaves through a process known as guttation since there is typically a lot of water available.

Stomata, or the pores in leaves, essentially allow plants to breathe. They let out water vapor and allow in carbon dioxide.

Depending on the humidity level, they may either open or close. However, if they remain closed for an extended period of time due to dry air, it feels like the plant is holding its breath.

3. Lower Humidity Level Indoors

Now that we have a better understanding of how various plants develop in their native environments, let’s take a closer look at the environmental conditions within your house.

Your home will maintain a relative humidity between 40% and 60% when the weather is warm and pleasant. This is ideal for the majority of houseplants. However, that can fall as low as 10% relative humidity in the winter while the heater is running.

Your tropical plants suffer because they need more moisture in the air, much like you might get dry skin and a scratchy throat from this dry air.

4. Pebble Trays and Misting Are Not as Effective

It’s a widely held belief that misting your plants would assist the humidity level rise. Unfortunately, it’s not particularly effective.

The leaves of your plant will experience a brief, modest rise in humidity after misting. However, you would have to spray this item every 30 minutes in order for it to be useful.

Furthermore, the residual droplets from misting plants in direct sunlight can function as tiny magnifying glasses and burn marks on the foliage.

Additionally, excessive moisture throughout the night might take too long to drain and can serve as a breeding ground for mold and fungus. 

All misting is good for is strengthening your forearms, and that’s about it.

Another popular way to raise relative humidity around your plants is to place a pebble tray with water in it nearby. They function by adding water to the vicinity of your plants. The relative humidity in that location rises as a result of the water evaporating into the air over time.

Pebble trays are more effective than misting, although they fall short than using humidifiers.

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How To Choose The Best Plant Humidifiers For You

How To Choose The Best Plant Humidifiers For You

When all other methods of increasing plant humidity have been tried, you’ll realize that purchasing a plant humidifier is the simplest and most cost-effective solution.

As opposed to starting this part with the brands you should select, the optimum strategy is to first examine your home and your needs.

The following points need to be considered now that we have a better understanding of plant humidity and choosing the best humidifiers for plants you own:

1. Plant Humidifier Types

The three main types of humidifiers are warm mist, ultrasonic, and evaporative.

Warm Mist Humidifiers

Warm Mist Humidifiers

The most widely available humidifiers are ones that emit warm mist. It is a simple process that involves boiling water till water vapor is emitted from it.

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers are an excellent example of an engineering marvel. To hasten the water evaporation found in the tank storage, they use high-frequency sound waves.

An airborne mist that is thin and wispy is the end result. More so, this type of humidifier is quieter to use than the others.

This kind does not utilize hot water and does not require regular filter cleaning. Hence, it consumes lesser energy resources. But this can also put the gadget at a higher risk of having pathogens inside. So make cleaning a habit if you opt to use this humidifier.

Evaporative Humidifiers

Evaporative Humidifier for houseplants

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The idea behind evaporative humidifiers is similar to that of placing a water jar in the center of a cluster of plants. Naturally, moisture evaporates into the atmosphere. However, the evaporative humidifiers use a fan to accelerate the process. 

The operation of this plant humidifier is intriguing. First, the water reservoir is covered with a wet pad or cloth. The air is then forced out of the damp cloth material by a fan, which creates a cool mist.

2. Room Size

Purchasing any size of plant humidifier is a frequent error made by purchasers. One of the most crucial factors to take into account when choosing a brand or kind is this.

The moisture output of a plant humidifier must correspond to the space it is in. Therefore, a lesser size won’t provide you the required impact or amount of dispersion. 

On the other hand, a sizable humidifier in a tiny space can simply give your plants too much moisture. Most of our indoor plants require a humidity level of 60%. Therefore, a modest plant humidifier is required for a 300 square foot space.

Medium-sized plant humidifiers are best for rooms that are 399 to 499 square feet in size. And the bigger plant humidifiers are required for spaces up to 500 square feet.

You may manage and choose the right size of humidifier for your plants by taking into account the rooms.

3. Location

Naturally, you’ll need to think about where you should put your plant humidifier. The moisture generated by these units is rotated by fans. If you put it close to plants, you’re removing moisture from the air rather than supplying it.

As a result, the plants will wilt, and then you will start over. Ideally, at least 6 feet should be between the humidifier and the plant.

4. Level of Noise

You must consider your noise tolerance if you intend to place your humidifier where you work or sleep. Some humidifiers for plants are just noisy.

Again, this is due to the rotating fans that remove moisture. Some devices, such as ultrasonic versions, operate quietly. On observation, evaporative humidifiers are louder.

5. Capacity of a Water Tank

The size of the space and the size of your water tank should both be taken into consideration. The plant air humidifier can run continuously for a longer period of time with a larger water tank.

However, as soon as the water level is low, you must turn it off and replenish it. Constant refilling of an air humidifier might be rather annoying if convenience is your main concern.

6. Mist Temperature Output: Warm and Cool Mist Options

Although your plants won’t care about the temperature of the mist, it is something you should take into account since you are the one who is responsible for paying the bills.

You should think about the distinctions between a warm mist humidifier and a cool mist humidifier.

Warm mist humidifiers provide a purer mist because the water is heated before evaporation takes place.

On the other side, cool mist humidifiers use less energy to generate cold mist, allowing them to operate longer and require less upkeep.

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7. Moisture Levels

Release of either excessive or insufficient moisture is the one thing you do not want to do. Select appliances that can measure the room’s temperature and relative humidity.

Once you have located that important information, change your machine’s settings as needed.

There are typically two humidity settings on a plant humidifier: low humidity and higher humidity. You can modify the mist output in accordance with the unit of your choosing.

Be aware that extremely low humidity levels can hasten the drying process for your plants. The space is kept wet by high humidity levels.

Both of these severe situations encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi, which are terrible for your plants.

8. Maintenance of Tank System

You should think about getting a humidifier that is simple to disassemble and clean as you will need to do so regularly.

If there are too many intricate pieces, you won’t clean them as frequently as you should, which might result in dangerous contaminants entering the air.

A bigger tank is preferable to a smaller one because you won’t need to replenish it as frequently. In addition, some units include a practical top-fill design that makes refilling very simple.

9. Design

The aesthetic design of the humidifier is the last thing you should check at when choosing one for your plants. Don’t buy something you don’t want to see because it will be displayed in a prominent location in your room!

When Should You Use Humidifiers?

When Should You Use

Let’s examine when you ought to provide your plants with a humidifier. When should you turn it on during the day? What about the time of year or the season? What role does the room condition play? The most crucial question is: How much humidity is too much?

The Best Time To Use It

The window in the morning between dawn and midday is the optimal time to operate a humidifier for your plants. You may turn it on before breakfast and off after lunch.

Your plants will have plenty of humidity, thanks to this!

You may leave the humidifier run a little bit longer into the afternoon if your humidity is still a touch low after using a hygrometer to measure it.

Try to avoid running it after sunset or too late at night. The normal transpiration mechanism of your plants will be hampered by excessive nighttime moisture (their way of breathing).

Room Environmental Condition

Varying plants want different levels of humidity to be comfortable. Using a hygrometer, you may check the relative humidity of the air in your house to determine if it is within the acceptable range.

Usually, you have to operate the humidifier for the plants if the humidity is below 40%. However, you can switch off the humidifier when the air is over 65% humid.

Season & Weather Changes

Although every place has its own unique climate, in general, summers are hotter, and winters are quite cold.

Chemistry and physics have a role to play in some of this. For example, more water vapor can be held by warmer air, but less vapor can be held by colder air.

Due to the cold, there is less ambient moisture in the winter, and when the air in the home is heated, the relative humidity drastically decreases.

If you reside in a climate with low humidity, you should run a humidifier for your plants in the summer as well as during the dry winter months.

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What Humidity Level Is Too Much?

What Humidity Level Is Too Much?

For any plant, a humidity level exceeding 80% is excessive. In addition to making it difficult for your plant to properly “breathe,” an excessive amount of water vapor in the air can also cause problems like fungal and mold infestations.

By increasing ventilation with a fan and relocating the humidifier a few feet away from your plants, you may reduce excessive humidity.

Some humidifiers include a built-in humidistat that makes it simple to assess the relative humidity of the space. If yours doesn’t, you should invest in a hygrometer so you can periodically double-check the humidity level in your room. Your plants will appreciate it.

How Frequently Should a Humidifier Be Used?

The humidifier for your plants would work best if you used it every day. Check the amount of moisture in the air in the morning with a hygrometer. It’s time to switch on the humidifier if the relative humidity is below 40%!

This is more likely to happen in the winter, when the temperature lowers and the heaters absorb all the excess moisture in your house, as was previously indicated. In the summer, you might not need a humidifier as frequently for your plants.

How Long Should a Plant Humidifier Run?

Every day from early morning until lunchtime, you should leave your humidifier on for at least 4 to 5 hours.

Running it too late into the afternoon increases the likelihood of mold or fungus growing since the plant won’t be able to absorb as much moisture overnight.

Where Should You Put the Humidifier?

Humidifier for houseplants

It would be beneficial to put the humidifier in the middle of the room, ideally a few feet from your plants.

If you place it too close to the plants, too much water may condense on the soil and foliage. Mold and fungus are welcomed by excessive amounts of water on the leaves!

Place the humidifier on a table or desk that is raised a few feet from the floor. Do not place it near porous surfaces, such as wood or cloth drapes. When exposed to excessively moist air, these porous surfaces are more susceptible to developing mold.

Never set the humidifier down on a carpet or other soft surface. A carpet or rug would obstruct the bottom air intakes on many of these devices.

Which Type of Water Should You Use?

Using filtered or distilled water in the humidifier for your plants is the finest approach. This will make sure that your house is only receiving clean water as vapor.

Additionally, utilizing distilled water will delay the formation of bacteria and algae in the water tank, lowering the need for frequent cleaning.

It’s important to be aware that if you use tap water in your humidifier, scale accumulation may ultimately result from the minerals. You may prolong the humidifier’s life and reduce the frequency of cleanings by using filtered or distilled water.

Regular Humidifier Maintenance

You will need to regularly clean the humidifier for your plants. This can be the result of mineral accumulation in the water or bacteria and algae that are drawn to moisture.

Long-term bacterial accumulation in your humidifier will result in disgusting stuff that you do not want to be releasing into the air in your house. Hence, every week, give your humidifier a thorough cleaning.

Vinegar should first be added to the base and let to soak. The water tank should next be cleaned with weak bleach or peroxide to get rid of any sludge or odors. Finally, clean the components with tap water before rehydrating them for everyday usage.

Water filters are available in certain humidifiers. These will require routine replacement. Remember that because every product is unique, you must review the details of your gadget.

Plant Humidifier FAQs

  1. Can I use a regular humidifier or an oil diffuser for plants?

There is no humidifier advertised exclusively for plants, so you can definitely use a conventional humidifier for your plants.

You could use an essential oil diffuser. However, it wouldn’t provide as many advantages as a full-size humidifier.

Oil diffusers typically require regular refills because of their relatively lower water tank capacity. Unless your plants are extremely fragile, the oils released into the air should not be enough to harm them.

  1. Do humidifiers contribute to the growth of mold?

If humidifiers are used in close proximity to porous surfaces like wood or when humidity levels are raised too high, mold growth may result.

However, you shouldn’t need to worry as long as the space is well-ventilated and a hygrometer is used to monitor the relative humidity.

  1. Are plant humidifiers beneficial?

Humidifiers help with greater moisture retention, which is beneficial to and necessary for indoor plants. Installing a plant humidifier in your home is the finest thing you can do for your plants as a responsible plant parent.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been considering installing a humidifier in your house to keep your humidity-loving plants looking their best, then we say go for it.

We know how much your home plants mean to you. Therefore, investing a little money to maintain their best health is always worthwhile.

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