For Healthier Houseplants, Put Down the Mister — Try These 3 Free Things Instead

updated Feb 15, 2021
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Credit: Viv Yapp

Does your home feel like the indoor equivalent of a desert right now? You’re not alone — winter’s combo of cold weather and dry heaters can zap all of the humidity out of your indoor air.

If your tropical houseplants are suffering from a lack of humidity, you might have gone looking for help on the internet. A quick Google search will prompt you to pull that old, dusty spray bottle out from under your kitchen sink. A few bursts of mist and your plants will be set, right?

Not exactly.

Misting your tropical houseplants is one of the least effective things you can do to raise the humidity level in your home. Spraying the foliage with water will create a temporary bubble of humidity around your plants, but as soon as the droplets evaporate, the humidity falls back to its starting point. 

In all reality, misting plants is better therapy for the plant parent than the actual plant. 

Of course, there are a few simple things you can do that will actually increase the humidity around your plants — and some of them are free.

Group your plants together.

Grouping your tropical plants together naturally increases the humidity levels! Plants naturally release moisture through their leaves through a process called transpiration. One plant will release moisture and it’s neighbor will soak it up. Think of it as creating a mini-climate for your plants.

Put your plants in a tray.

Get a large tray that is at least 2 inches deep. Fill it with pebbles or rocks. Set your plants right on top of the rocks — make sure they’re balanced and won’t tip over — and then fill the tray with water. As that water evaporates, the plants will bask in the humidity. 

Give plants a weekly shower.

It’s never a bad idea to give your tropical plants a good soaking — though note that this method should only be used if your pots have drainage holes. Once a week, collect your plant-babies and set them in your shower. Turn the shower head to a lukewarm temperature and let you plants sit in the “rain” for 5 to 10 minutes. Not only does this increase the local humidity around your plants, but it also washes the leaves and takes care of your weekly watering obligations. Fiddle leaf figs and monsteras especially love this method!

And if you have money to spend, buy a humidifier. 

Of course, if you want to shell out a few dollars, you can always buy a humidifier. Buy just one, or buy enough to put one in every room — no matter what you do, every little bit helps your tropical houseplants make it through the dry (non-tropical) winter months.