Sometimes especially when the indoor temperatures are high, the indoor air can be quite dry. Very few houseplants can tolerate dry air; most houseplants require the surrounding air to be moist for optimum growth. Houseplants need less warm air and more moist air. Papery leaved houseplants need more air humidity than houseplants with thick, leathery leaves. The humidity problem can be solved by placing houseplants in moist spots in the home like the kitchen, bathroom or a terrarium. However, you can still have your houseplants in any space in your home by raising air humidity. Various techniques can be employed to create a micro-climate of moist air around the plants while the rest of the room remains dry.
Using a mister with a fine spray deposit a coating of small droplets of water on the leaves. Ensure you cover the entire plant including the underside of leaves. Use tepid water and mist under cool conditions. Mist in the morning so that the foliage can dry before night fall. Do not mist when the foliage is exposed to bright sunlight as it can lead to sunburn on the foliage. Apart from raising the air humidity, misting also has a cooling effect on hot sunny days. It also discouarges pests like red spider mites and aphids. Misting also reduces dust settling on the plant foliage.
Use a waterproof outer container to hold your potted houseplant and fill the space between the pot and the container with moist moss. Keep this layer of moss thoroughly and continually moist so that there is always a layer of moisture to evaporate and raise the air humidity. This set up does not only raise the humidity, it provides a moisture reservoir for the houseplant below the pot and also it insulates the soil in the pot from sudden temperature changes.
Growing houseplants in a Pot Group or in an Indoor Garden has the benefit of increased moisture arising from damp soil and the foliage of surrounding plants. The air trapped between the houseplants has a higher air humidity than the air around an isolated houseplant. This technique has some disadvantages in that too much humidity may lead to the onset of fungal diseases. For more on the Pot group and Indoor Garden, read on how to display houseplants.
Using a water-proof shallow container (tray) about 2 in. high, place 1 in. of gravel (pebbles) in the bottom of the tray and keep the bottom of this layer wet at all times. Place the houseplants on this layer of gravel (pebbles). As the water evaporates into the air, the air humidity around the houseplants is increased. This pebble tray allows you to use pots with drainage holes without worrying about excess water run off; the overflow will collect in the tray and replenish evaporated water. However, the water level should not be allowed to cover the top of the gravel (pebbles) to prevent the soil in the pots from drawing up excess water which may result in soggy soil. To clean the tray; remove the pebbles, wash the tray as well as the pebbles with mild soap, rinse, replace and refill with water.
Signs of too little humidity;
Signs of too much humidity;