humidity trouble

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by leaf kotasek, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    bc, canada
    i just moved into a small place that has turned out to be poorly insulated. my millions of houseplants have been keeping the humidity up pretty high--- we discovered a mold problem behind furniture and under the bed last week. we've removed the mold and are going to keep the furniture away from the walls. we also bought a dehumidifier and have it on all the time; it's set at 55% humidity.

    my question is if 55% humidity is too low for most houseplants. i have quite a variety of plants (african violets, succulents, philodendrons, herbs, dracaena, maranta, bromeliads etc.)... i've heard of humidity trays, but i don't think i can find enough trays or enough gravel for all my plants. i've got my plants crammed together; will this help keep the humidity up around their leaves? thanks! any help will be appreciated.
     
  2. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,626
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Yes, grouping plants together can help raise the humidity some. Most of the plants you mentioned adapt very well to low humidity and won't need higher humidity to do well. The ones that need a little more should be ok as long as the rooms aren't really dry and overly warm. Cooler rooms means higher humidity. The majority of houseplants can do well with humidity levels around 50 to 70 percent, although in my house, the levels are much lower and they plants don't seem to mind much....
    You can set around anything that holds water such as, tupperware containers, cooking pans, trays, jugs or whatever you have handy. I use a table top fountain in the winter months that's set on a table directly underneath my hanging boston fern.
    Old terrariums/aquariums would work well too:)
     
  3. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    bc, canada
    thanks, bluewing! that's heartening... i was really worried about the long-term effects of low humidity on my plants.
     
  4. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    3,286
    Likes Received:
    253
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Perhaps you could mist the ones that do like higher humidity.
     
  5. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    most philodendron like high humidity levels - either group them all together or use pebble trays or spritzing daily/every other day. or even a combination of those three - depending on which phil's you have.
     
  6. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    3,286
    Likes Received:
    253
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Hey, joclyn---did you see lorax's Neoregelia concentrica? Beautiful!

    I think that my plants do better when near one another. Of course, one must be vigilant about mold, fungus, and the loathed scale insects getting started and spreading...I take 2-3 hours on my day off from work (PAID work, I mean!) and haul everything out of its spot, and look each plant over closely.

    Hmm. I always thought that cold air held less moisture than warm air. ???
     
  7. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    bc, canada
    i'll definitely try pebble trays for my philodendrons. ...thank god i don't have any ferns!
     
  8. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,626
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    You are right togata:)
    Although lowering the temperature will increase the relative humidity, it doesn't cause there to be more moisture in the air.
    I have a handful of plants I keep in the garage that just don't do well indoors during the winter with forced hot air and I'm sure low humidity levels. I can't recall the name of of it at the moment, but I have one those plug in humidity collector gadget in the garage that collects water from the air which helps keep certain things from rusting.
    It's plugged inside the garage once a week, just overnight, and collects from one to two inches or so of water. Indoors, I don't think it would collect that much.
    I do believe lowering indoor temps does help "as far as keep them in drying forced hot air" which can cause some leaf damage to certain plants otherwise.
     
  9. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    togata, i went looking for that post of lorax's. wow!! WHAT a gorgeous brom it is!!! thanks for commenting - i missed the post when she originally put it up...

    yup, plants do tend to do better when grouped together - they 'feed' off each others' outputs and the humidity levels are higher right near the plants...that's a totally non-techincal comment...i may not know the whys/whatfors about it; i just know it works!

    if the excess of humidity being created by the plants is causing a problem, set up a fan or two to run around the clock - the movement of the air will help to reduce build-up of mold, mildew and fungus. (and will also help to keep bug issues at bay as things like spider mites like calm/quiet and dry conditions). if it's just one room and you can put in a ceiling fan, that would be much better than multiple (and smaller) fans around the room. so sorry, i should have commented that earlier!!

    if the majority of the plants like and do well in more humid conditions, then you really don't want to do anything that would reduce that too much - especially if the area is cooler than what would be preferred by the plants! at the least, they'll have something of the basic good-growth requirements. again, i apologize, should have said that earlier!

    bluewing, cold air can hold just as much moisture as warm air. lowering the temp or increasing the temp doesn't have much effect other than it will feel different - more oppressive in warmer temps than cold.

    forced hot air heat systems DO dry out the air, regardless of where you set the thermostat. even if you have a humidifier system attached to it, the air in the building will have a much lower humidity level than a building that is heated with radiators. buildings with hot water radiator systems will have less humidity than those with steam systems.

    is the garage unheated? if so, then, whatever plant you have out there probably doesn't like the lower humidity levels inside the house if you've got a forced-air system (especially if you don't have a humidifier unit on it). if you want to keep it inside, rather than in the garage, i'd try a pebble tray and some misting every couple days...and keep it somewhere that isn't in direct line of any air vents. also keeping it surrounded by other plants might be helpful.

    i'm wondering, tho, what IS it?? you've got such a wonderful variety of plants (with different needs) that i find it hard to believe you need to keep something in the garage over winter!!
     
  10. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,626
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    The garage is "semi" heated, meaning, it has one heating vent that is behind a utility cabinet thats pulled out a bit to let more heat out.. In the dead of winter when it's REALLY cold outside, the garage gets no lower then 45 degrees. The thermostat needle pretty much stays between 45 and 55.
    The handful of plants in the garage are, (have been there every year for many yrs) Cycas revoluta (sago palm) Cordyline australis, calamondin (miniature orange tree) and Ledebouria socialis. They are close to one another right up to a north window. Lower light in the winter doesn't effect them ar all. I did have a Christmas cactus out there too, only because the flowers lasted longer (until May) and there were a LOT more of them to boot!
    The first three plants mentioned showed signs of failing health due to forced hot air indoors. Leaves would get a little crispy, yellow and/or drop.The poor orange tree was almost bare when kept indoors one winter, not attractive! I moved my mini lemon into the garage too late after trying to keep it indoors on winter, it never fully recovered so it was tossed:(
    With the cooler air, the "garage plants" all stay healthy now, no browning, yellowing, or leaf loss. In the spring they will go back outside for the summer.
    The garage is attached to the house right off the kitchen, so I do see them everyday and check them daily for their watering needs.

    All the other indoor plants do well over the winter and don't seem to mind the dry heat, maybe just a little crabby the boston ferns will get, but it's only temporary thank goodness!
     

Share This Page