Plant humidifiers! If you live in a tropical country, such a device might be unheard of. After all, it’s warm, humid air 24/7. In other parts of the world, however, that ideal humid climate is rare. That’s fine for most people, but if you’re a burgeoning plant collector, you should know that a lack of humidity in your home poses a big problem.
Many of the fabulous indoor leafy plants we love seeing on social media and in people’s houses are tropical plants! Most often, these plants’ natural environment is the rainforests. If you haven’t visited or been to a rainforest, let me tell you this, it’s pretty darn humid. There are huge trees that create canopies all over the plants, blocking most light from coming through. The canopies also catch moisture from the rain and stay on the ground.
Does that mean you can just keep your plants moist? No, no, not really. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. The more water vapor in the air, the higher the humidity will be. It means that it can be extremely sunny (hot) and at the same time, feel wet outside.
In contrast to a tropical climate, deserts have hot air, but low humidity due to little water availability. The arctic has cool air, and high water availability but still, not humid. As you continue your green thumb journey, you’ll discover that most plants that require higher humidity also require a higher temperature. Some plants like epiphytes (air plants) get all their water supply not from the ground but from their surrounding environment. That means they can only survive in high humidity environments.
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How Do I Know if my Plants Need More Humidity?
Instead of providing you a list of humidity-loving plants, watch out instead, for tell-tale signs that your plants need more humidity. You’ll know when the leaves and their tips turn brown. Plants begin to wilt and droop, they also shed more dry leaves than usual. Touch the soil, if the top layer is dry or does not appear moist, they might need more humidity. If the foliage is crispy when you touch them, that’s another symptom to watch.
Ways To Increase Humidity For Your Houseplants
Before we dive into the world of the best plant humidifiers, let’s first look at other solutions to raising the humidity levels in our homes. If you’re not fully sold out on the idea of purchasing a humidifier to support your plants, you can try these methods.
Misting Your Plants
Many new plant owners make the common mistake of misting all kinds of plants. I was one who thought we should be misting every day! Here’s what I’ve learned the hard way: don’t ever mist plants with hairy leaves. Or any leaves for that matter that tend to hold the water in place. This leads to diseases and causes spots on the leaves. Misting plants like orchids can help raise the humidity but only for a short time.
Bathe Your Plants
Have you heard of plant pool parties? It’s a fun way of saying that you’re putting all your humidity-loving plants in the tub or under the shower and giving them a thorough bath. This can be done during the winter months when they need that extra moisture. Use lukewarm water for this, and while you’re at it, clean out all the dust accumulating on the foliage.
Make Your own Humidity Tray
Another easy DIY project you can do is to create your own humidity tray. Use pebbles to layer in a tray and add water. Set your plant on top. As the water in the tray evaporates, it increases the moisture in the air directly to the plant. The roots won’t rot because they’re not directly sitting on the water.
Grouping Your Plants Together
Grouping your plants isn’t just a styling tip, but there’s an actual benefit in doing this. Placing several plants together create a pocket or bubble of humidity. You can put a dish of water or a jar in the middle. The moisture this produces will be trapped in your plant microclimate – just like the canopies in the rainforests!
Put Plants In High Humidity Rooms
One final “DIY” project you can do to increase the humidity level of your tropical plants is to place them in more humid rooms. We’ve got a Plants Spark Joy article of the best plants that will thrive more when placed inside the bathroom. If there’s any part of your house that’s more humid than the rest, this is the best place for your houseplants.
All these great tips are sure to improve the quality of your plant’s life. But they have their limits. If you truly want an effective and better way to increase humidity, a plant humidifier is the way to go! We can try and do more convincing, but the list of humidifiers and what they can do below will hopefully inspire you to buy your own device.
How To Choose The Best Plant Humidifier According To Your Needs
When you’ve tried all the other ways to increase plant humidity, you’ll eventually realize that getting a plant humidifier is the cheapest, easiest way to go. Instead of starting this section with the brands you should go for, the better way is to first take into consideration your home and your needs.
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We now have a better understanding of plant humidity, now, we should consider the following:
Types of Humidifiers for Plants
Humidifiers are basically categorized in three ways: warm mist, ultrasonic, and evaporative.
Warm Mist Humidifiers are the most popular types found for sale. It’s a simple mechanism that involves boiling water up to a temperature that releases water vapor.
Ultrasonic Humidifiers are interesting pieces of engineering. They use high-frequency sound vibrations to increase the evaporation of water in the water tank. The result is a mist that is fine quality air that is wispy. Of the other types, the ultrasonic humidifier has a more quiet operation. There is no filter that needs constant cleaning for this type, and it does not use hot water. While that means it doesn’t consume a lot of energy, it also means that bacteria have a likelier chance of being present in the machine. Should you choose this humidifier, make it a habit to disinfect.
Evaporative Humidifiers follow the same principle as placing a jar of water in the middle of a plant grouping. Moisture naturally evaporates into the air. But what the evaporative humidifiers do is speed up the process by using a fan. It’s fascinating how this plant humidifier works. A wet mat or cloth is placed on the water reservoir. A fan then forces the air out of the wet cloth material, and the fan produces the cool mist.
It’s often a common mistake for plant humidifier buyers to get just any size device. This is one of the most important considerations you have to make before deciding on a brand or type. A plant humidifier’s moisture output must match the size of the room it’s in. If you get a smaller size, you won’t achieve the desired effect and dispersion level. On the other hand, a large humidifier in a smaller room will just add too much moisture to your plants. Most of our houseplants need a 60% humidity level. A room that measures 300 square feet will need a small plant humidifier.
Medium-sized plant humidifiers are ideal for rooms that are 399 to 499 square feet. And for rooms that measure 500 square feet, the larger plant humidifiers are in order. Considering the rooms help you regulate and decide on the appropriate size of humidifier for your plants.
Of course, you’ll also have to keep in mind where you should place your plant humidifier. These devices have fans used to rotate the moisture produced. If you place it near plants, you’re drying out the air instead of adding moisture. The plants will wilt and you’re back to square one. Ideally, the distance between the plant and the humidifier should be at least 6 feet away.
If you’re planning to put your humidifier where you sleep or work, you’ll have to consider the level of noise you can take. Some plant humidifiers are just loud. Again, that’s because of the fans that rotate to expel moisture. There are some units like ultrasonic models that have quiet operation. Evaporative humidifiers are on observation, noisier.
Water Tank Capacity
Considering your water tank capacity is just as important as the room size. The bigger the water tank, the longer the plant air humidifier can run uninterrupted. Once the water level is low, you’ll have to shut it down and refill. If convenience is the goal in getting an air humidifier, constant refilling can be quite inconvenient.
Mist Output Temperature
While mist temperature isn’t critical to your plants’ growth (they won’t mind), it is a consideration for you – the person that pays the bills. A Warm Mist Humidifier and Cool Mist Humidifier have some differences for you to consider.
Warm mist humidifiers are generated by evaporation, water is boiled and therefore it releases a purer mist. Cool mist humidifiers on the other hand consume less energy which means they can run for longer and are easy to maintain.
The one thing you don’t want to do is release too much or not enough moisture. Choose models that can gauge the temperature and ambient humidity levels in your room. Once you identify that crucial information, make the necessary adjustments to your machine settings.
A plant humidifier often comes with humidity settings: low humidity and high humidity. Depending on the unit of your choice, you can adjust the mist output accordingly. Note that really low humidity levels will cause your plants to dry faster. High humidity levels keep the room damp. Both extreme conditions lead to bacteria growth, and that just spells disaster for your plants!
The Best Plant Humidifiers For Your Home
If you’re decided on getting one, this list will help you identify which plant humidifier best suits your lifestyle.
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1. Honeywell HCM350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier
I’ll be honest with you, this isn’t the prettiest humidifier on our list. The design is a little obtrusive and it takes up a decent amount of space if you have a small room. But that’s really the major cons this humidifier has. This device gets the job done, it’s more affordable, and effective. That’s why we’re starting with the Honeywell HCM350.
Humidifier Highlights: Built-in Humidistat, cool mist, weighs 9.55 pounds, runs up to 24 hours, quiet operation.
If you’d like to be able to sleep through the night or go about your day without second-guessing the water tank level of your humidifier, this is the best humidifier for you. This unit can function for up to 24 hours before it needs another round of filling. It has a quiet care technology design which means the Honeywell HCM350 has lower noise levels compared to other units. It has a top-fill design that makes it easy to clean. We’ve covered all the awesome features of this unit that make it the best humidifier for your comfort.
Now, let’s look at how your plants will enjoy this device. For starters, it has a three-speed setting, which allows you to control and adjust the amount of moisture output in your room. The ideal humidity level for most houseplants falls between a range of 40% to 60%, with the Honeywell HCM350, you’ve got the built-in humidistat.
If you’re conscious of germs in the air, like me, you’ll be happy to know that this device has a chamber that uses ultraviolet lights to kill germs that are in the water. They won’t be released into the air and cause molds to grow. Another problem you won’t be encountering with the Honeywell humidifier is white dust. The device has a wicking filter that absorbs all the minerals from water, what you get instead is a clean, cold mist that’s perfect for your plants.
2. TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier
When we choose a new addition to our homes, appearance is often the first thing we take into consideration. But when it comes down to it, performance and price always become the top factor in decision making. That’s the common sentiment users and reviewers have over the TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier. Its 4-liter large water tank may be too big for some nightstands, its utilitarian design may not mesh well with your houseplants, but with warm or cool mist options, LED display light, and all its other highlights, it’s a sure win.
Humidifier Highlights: Automatic Humidity Monitoring, Warm or Cool Mist options, Timer, and Remote Control, 360-degrees nozzle.
I’ve found that this cool mist humidifier could be the best humidifier for plants in the bedroom. This device utilizes ultrasounds which gives you a silent operation. You can keep the humidifier on while you sleep soundly and comfortably. Depending on your choice of mist level, you can keep the plant humidifier on for 12-30 hours. The device comes with a timer that can be set for up to 24 hours, there’s also an auto-shutoff option when the water level is too low. Besides the quiet operation feature, you won’t be bothered by LED display light flashing in your bedroom because the 3 mist levels come with a nighttime and sleep mode. You can say goodbye to dry air at night and stay completely pitch black dark in your room!
This cool-mist humidifier also has many other functions, that really make it a bang for the buck. It doesn’t leave white dust. It has a 360-degree rotatable nozzle that helps you direct the moisture you want inside your room.
3. Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
For a humidifier that’s small, this unit has a large water tank. While it does have a feature that may not sit well with some light sleepers (there’s a light from the power button that won’t turn off), this unit does deserve to be on our list of the best humidifier for plants.
Humidifier Highlights: 360-degree mist nozzle, Auto-shutoff, silent operation, optional night light.
The Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is a fan favorite because it is aesthetic, has a sleek base that makes it perfect for smaller spaces, has a long runtime, and it has all the good features to be a reliable plant humidifier. You’ve got a 360-degree nozzle that helps you control the mist in the air. It’s safe because it comes with an auto-shutoff safety feature. One feature that makes it different from the other humidifiers in this list is the optional night light which releases a soothing glow.
4. Evergreen Pet Supplies Humidifier
To round up our humidifiers for plants list is a brand that’s designed for pets but also does wonders for your indoor plants. We don’t want you to think this humidifier is a feature here because of how it looks, but we really do need to take a moment to appreciate the beautiful design.
Humidifier Highlights: Ultrasonic, cool mist humidifier, no-spill valve, large capacity of water tank, auto-shutoff.
The unit features an hose you can adjust and attach to the gadget, so you can fully control and focus the output direction of the mist. It features a suction cup, and you can bend it any which way you like. Like the others on this list, you have the auto-shutoff feature, keeping your mind at ease. One of the most mentioned feature in most reviews is the no-spill valve. And we can really test that of all the humidifiers in this list, the Evergreen was the easiest to refill. No spills, no mess!
This roundup of the best humidifiers we’ve tried and tested should give you an idea what to look for in increasing the humidity level of your room for your indoor plants. Always start by taking into consideration your needs, your capacity, and your situation. Once you’ve got a better picture of that, revisit this list and identify which humidifier best fits the bill.
FAQs on the Best Plant Humidifiers:
Before we go, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions on humidifiers.
Are humidifiers good for plants?
Humidifiers help indoor plants retain more moisture which is beneficial and necessary for their growth. Adding a plant humidifier to your home is the best move you can do as a responsible plant parent.
There are other available ways to raise the humidity levels in your house, but a humidifier is the best and most effective option. Manually misting houseplants can raise the humidity level but it’s only effective for a short time. For this process to keep up with a humidifier, you would need to mist every 30 minutes!
What kind of humidifier do I need for plants?
The best plant humidifier for you depends on different factors. Generally, you’ll want to look for the following features:
- 12-24 Hours Run Time – It’s a convenient feature! You don’t need to be constantly refilling the water tank (and making spills).
- Auto-Shutoff – generally, home devices should give us a peace of mind. This feature simply turns off the device when the water levels are low. And that’s safety you should have!
- Easy To Use – It shouldn’t feel like you’re launching a spaceship to Mars. Simple buttons, easy to set-up, easy to control.
When should you use a humidifier on plants?
For your plants, a fast rule is to avoid turning on the humidifier at night. Without sunlight, water won’t evaporate. This will cause the soil to sit with too much moisture leading to bacteria and organisms to thrive. Mist your plants in the morning and provide ample hours during the day for them to dry out.
Can you use a diffuser as a humidifier for plants?
No. A diffuser’s primary function is to release a mist made up of essential oils and water. While they do add an amount of moisture into the air, their purpose is not to increase the humidity level. The moisture these devices produces is not high enough for a plant’s needs.