All About When & How to Increase Humidity For Houseplants

Many of our common houseplants come from tropical climates. And what do tropical climates have? Lots of humidity! In winter, the dry heating air can be problematic for many houseplants which is why you should increase the humidity levels at home.

In winter, heating lowers indoor humidity levels to 20-40% while healthy levels are at 50-60%. Humidity levels for houseplants are best increased by using an electric humidifier or radiator evaporator, installing pebble trays or plant terrariums as well as through diverse water-related household tasks.

Good humidity levels are not only healthy for houseplants, they are also healthy for humans. Knowing how to increase the humidity in your home is therefore practical general knowledge. I have gathered the most common ways to increase humidity at home in this post. Enjoy reading!

What Level of Humidity is Good for Houseplants?

Except for cacti and succulents, most other indoor plants originally come from tropical or subtropical climates and prefer humidity levels of 60-80% or even more. Cacti and succulents prefer humidity levels of 20-40%.

Now, for us humans as well as for our houses, humidity levels above 60% are not recommended as it can cause mold issues which are detrimental to our own health. Hence, I recommend staying within 50-60% of humidity throughout the year.

Rule of Thumb: Aim for 50-60% of humidity throughout the year. This is a compromise that suits all plants as well as yourself and your house.

In summer, a humidity level of 50-60% is usually naturally given, except if you are living in a desert, arid region. In winter though, as soon as the heating is on, humidity levels indoors often drop to 20-40%. This is not only too low for most indoor plants, but it is also unhealthy for you.

Air that is too dry can cause skin and hair problems as well as dry out our mucous membranes, all of which harm our immune system and gets us sick more easily.

This is why many people use humidifiers in winter to raise the humidity levels in their homes. If you are not doing this yet, I recommend you get that water vapor going when the next cold season comes around!

Tip: Measure the humidity levels in your home by placing a hygrometer in each room. This way you can always check what the humidity levels are.

To raise humidity levels for plants, using a humidifier is only one of a couple of clever options. Let’s find out what else you can do for your plants!

Ways to Increase Humidity Levels For Your Houseplants

What is important if you want to raise the humidity levels for houseplants? Houseplants are creatures of habit. They like stable environments so that they can adapt and respond to them adequately. It is best to choose a way of increasing the humidity in a constant rather than a temporary fashion.

Some of the methods mentioned here will raise humidity levels consistently while others are more of a once-in-a-while extra humidity boost. It is best to combine two or three methods.

Use an Air Humidifier in Winter

The most common air humidifiers you can buy are electric humidifiers. There is a huge range of products available in all sizes, shapes, and styles. Depending on what you are buying, they can be expensive but it is definitely the most effective way of keeping your indoor humidity at a stable level.

Also, with electric humidifiers, you can regulate exactly what humidity level you want to have. There are also plenty of humidifiers that diffuse scents as well. I really like the natural aesthetics of some with the wooden bits on them. Here are two humidifiers that I find look amazing:

There are also passive humidifiers that you can hang up on your radiators and refill whenever the water has evaporated. Those are called radiator humidifiers or radiator evaporators and are quite effective as well as low-cost. If you have never seen such a product before, here are some links to radiator humidifiers on Amazon:

Group Humidity-Loving Plants in Your Kitchen or Bathroom

The kitchen and the bathroom are usually the most humid rooms of a home. An easy way to increase humidity for your humidity-loving houseplants is to group them in those more humid rooms.

Just make sure they also have adequate lighting. If your bathroom has no windows, then it is obviously not an option to put plants in there.

Want to know what light conditions you have in different spots of your home? Get yourself a plant care app and find out by using their integrated light meters. Check out my post for the best 7 free plant care apps available!

Place Your Plants on a Pebble Tray With Water

Another way to increase the humidity right around your plants is to place them on a waterproof tray with pebbles and fill it with water. The water will evaporate and create a more humid atmosphere right around the plants. Refill whenever the tray dries out.

As an alternative to pebbles, you can also use expanded clay or any other material that can take up a lot of moisture and that a plant pot has a solid stand on.

Make an Indoor Greenhouse For Humidity-Loving Plants

For smaller plants, you can buy many decorative greenhouses with which you can create a mini tropical environment. Often, they are also labeled as indoor plant terrariums such as this table plant terrarium on Amazon.

Once you spray some water into the terrariums and then close them, the humidity will remain higher in it than outside of it.

For bigger plants, creating their own greenhouse effect can be more complicated. There are greenhouse shelves with plastic zipper bags that you can buy but very tall potted plants probably still won’t fit in there.

Technically, you can also wrap your plants in a plastic bag, mist them thoroughly, and then seal the bag. This will create a greenhouse effect as well. It just doesn’t look very pretty at all. In my opinion, this is a good option to keep your houseplants hydrated when you are on vacation. But keeping them in bags for months in winter? I think there are better ways to increase humidity for your plants.

Looking for more ways to keep your plants watered when away on vacation? Check out this post linked here for six easy ways how to water your plants when away including many helpful preparation tips!

Do Not Overheat Your Home

The main reason why our indoor air is much drier in winter is our heating. The more you heat, the drier the air will get. Hence, try not to overheat your home. Instead, try to keep your rooms a little cooler. This will keep humidity levels at a higher level than with full-on heating.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to walk around in your ski suit and freeze your fingers off. It just means that creating a tropical home all winter long might not be ideal, either. Just be reasonable about your indoor temperatures.

Most plants are also in a phase of rest in winter, cooler temperatures are good for them, too.

In winter, it is best not to place any plants directly on the heating

Place Bowls With Water Close to Your Heating

Another low-cost way of increasing humidity at home is to place bowls filled with water on your heating. Whenever the bowls are empty, refill them with water. This can raise humidity quite consistently but it is not as effective as using an electric humidifier.

If your indoor air is very dry, then I would recommend using the humidifier instead.

Leave the Bathroom Door Open When You Shower

Instead of opening the window after a shower, just open your bathroom door and let all the humidity distribute in your home.

This is also more of an extra humidity boost than a consistent rise of humidity. It can be well combined with using a humidifier.

Dry Your Clothes Next to Your Houseplants

Another temporary way of adding some humidity is to hang your clothes to dry next to your houseplants. This is not the most effective but it can add to a more humid atmosphere and is free of cost.

Mist Your Plants For Temporary Refreshment

You can also mist your plants regularly in winter to give them some humid refreshments. Please keep in mind that this is a very temporary increase in humidity and is best combined with a more consistent method such as using a humidifier.

For misting plants correctly, here are some tips:

  • Mist in the morning, never in the evening
  • Use a misting bottle with a fine spray
  • After misting, wipe the leaves dry with a clean cloth
  • Do not mist cacti, succulents, or any plants with hairy leaves

Misting is one of these miracle plant practices today and enjoys great popularity. Unfortunately, the misting effect does not last as long as you’d think. Read more about why misting is more a myth than the real deal in my post linked here!

Further Questions

How to Water Your Indoor Plants?

Humidity is only one element in a happy plant life. Far more essential than humidity levels is how you water your houseplants. There are some common watering mistakes that you can easily avoid if you know about them. Become a watering pro by reading my complete guide on how to water your indoor plants!

What Kind of Light Do Plants Need?

Do all plants need sunlight or can plants live with just artificial lighting? Find out all about what kind of light plants need as well as helpful tips to figure out if your plants get enough light in my post. Enjoy reading!

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