Do Indoor Plants Need Humidity?

Most of the indoor plants that we have in our homes originate from tropical environments and to thrive they require a little help with humidity.






With winter just a month or so away, many parts of South Africa will be heading into a dry season as far as rainfall is concerned. Those who love to have indoor plants in their homes should know that many of the plants we keep indoors require a little assistance with humidity for them to flourish and be healthy, particularly those from tropical environments. Here are a few tips to ensure that your indoor plants remain green and healthy throughout the year.







What is Humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air and the level of humidity increases and decreases per the weather in a particular region. KwaZulu Natal is well known for its high humidity and the lush tropical plants that grow in the region and this is because KZN lies in a subtropical region where warm humid air flows down from Mozambique. Other regions in South Africa are humid during hot weather when rainstorms are prevalent, but these same regions are dry and lack humidity during the winter months.





Why do Plants need Humidity?

A humidity level of around 50 to 60% is ideal for indoor house plants of a tropical variety and these plants tend to show signs of  stress when humidity is low resulting in leaves with brown or dry edges, leaf wilt and drop and leaves that turn yellow. Humidity supplies plants with additional moisture through the leaves that regular watering does not provide. This is why when purchasing particular plants or reading up on their care you will often see that 'misting' is recommended.



How to add Humidity to Indoor Air

There are two simple and very effective ways of adding humidity to indoor air and we discuss both these options below.





1. Misting

When misting plants is recommended, a fine spray of tepid water should be sprayed over the leaves regularly to make up for the lack of humidity.

  • Purchase a spray bottle that will only cost around R19.99, and fill this with tepid water - that means the water should not be cold nor warm but sort of in-between. I normally use water from my filtration system and wait 30 minutes for it to reach room temperature before I use it.
  • Position the plants outside, in a sink or on a bench where it will be easy to spray them all around and the drips run off. Cover all the leaves unless it is only recommended that they receive a light misting, in which case hold the spray bottle about 30 cm away from the plant before misting.
  • Repeat this process once a week for healthy plants during winter.



2. Humidifier

You can purchase a decent humidifier for well under R200 that will work well in a bathroom or when placed close to tropical plants. Once filled with clean water, the humidifier emits a fine - non-wetting - mist that plants love. If you want all the benefits of an indoor humidifier, purchase a larger model suitable for a whole room.

  • Fill the humidifier with clean tap or filtered water, the latter being the better option as contaminants are removed.
  • Switch on a low setting to allow continuous mist to emit from the humidifier and absorb into the surrounding air.
  • Other than being filled when almost empty, nothing else is required and your plants will flourish with this additional care.

If your indoor plants show any symptoms of stress as mentioned above, you now have two solutions to the problem and can remedy the situation to ensure healthy flourishing plants.







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