Learn to manage humidity for your houseplants with Senior Horticulturist Leslie Hunter.

Humidity is a measurement of water vapor in the air (and is usually the culprit of bad hair days), but it’s very important to plants, especially houseplants. Houseplants appreciate a humidity level between 60 and 80%, which would be difficult to maintain for an entire house—even more in the winter when the heat is on.

Luckily, there are ways to keep both you and your plants happy without having thermostat wars.

How Leslie Created a Humidity House at the Garden:

A humidity house is an enclosed cabinet where humidity levels, light and temperatures can be maintained for specific plants. Learn how Leslie built one at the Garden.

  1. I first found an enclosed cabinet on Facebook Marketplace for a reasonable price, and then proceeded to convert it to my specific needs.
  2. It already came with small metal halide lights (these bulbs tend to create heat), and I also added some LED grow light strips in full spectrum (which are white instead of the blue or red you sometimes see).
  3. For air circulation, I used small-case cooling fans—normally used for computers—to help circulate the air within the cabinet. Remember: We want humid air but not stagnant air, where fungi and bacteria would grow.
  4. To help create more humidity, I placed gravel trays in the bottom of the cabinet and filled them with water.
  5. The final step was placing the plants. By grouping my plants together, they create more humidity through transpiration.

If creating a humidity house is not plausible in your home, there are a few simple things you can do to help keep your plants happy:

  • Group your plants together, as they create humidity through transpiration (plant “sweat”).
  • Place plants on top of gravel trays filled with water.
  • Use a humidifier inside the room with plants.
  • Mist plants with room temperature water daily.
  • Keep plants in more humid rooms of your house, like a kitchen or bathroom.

If you are not sure what humidity levels your plants need, consider the natural habitat of those plants. Plants from tropical locations—such as ferns, orchids, philodendrons, fiddle leaf figs, and air plants—will appreciate more moisture. Others, like succulents and cacti, need less.

How do you adjust humidity for your houseplants? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!