There have been some incredible things that have come out of the invention of the internet. We can watch anything we like, listen to anything we choose, and read to our heart’s content.
And yet, there are a few downsides to this wealth of information that’s accessible any time, day or night. One of these is that a lot of people have a lot of opinions. And these opinions often differ.
It means we know that if you’re here looking to know whether misting’s good for indoor plants, then you’ve probably already heard differing opinions. Some swear by misting for their plants, saying it helps them grow healthy and strong, and others insist that misting is a sure-fire way to kill your plants, not help them.
So, which one’s right? The best answer we can give you is that misting is good for some indoor plants, and not others. And with this article, we’ll break down how you can know the difference between a plant you should mist, and a plant you shouldn’t.
Why do People Mist Their Plants?
Unlike outdoor plants, those that we keep indoors are specially selected because they wouldn’t do well if they were kept outside. These are plants that are usually sourced from tropical countries, where they grow in a natural habitat that resembles a jungle, or a rainforest, or even a desert.
For the plants that originate in tropical climates, humidity is important. Humidity is the water vapor in the air, and is what gives the tropics its heavy, relentless heat. Many house plants hail from lands where the humidity can be as high as 50 or even 60 percent, and they thrive in these conditions.
For that reason, owners of house plants like to recreate the tropical feel in their homes by spraying their plants with a fine mist of water. It adds hydration to the soil and leaves, replenishing moisture that is otherwise lost in dry environments. Our homes tend to carry a humidity of 30 to 40 percent, so misting increases the humidity levels.
It’s the reason some green-fingered people choose to put their most humidity-thirsty plants in the bathroom. A hot shower can cause plenty of steam, where the vapor stays in the air and can make a tropical plant feel right at home.
The more serious horticulturist will probably have a humidity gauge in their house, a little like a thermometer, which tells them about the levels of humidity and whether they need to increase it with a little misting.
What does it Mean to Mist a Plant?
Misting is not like watering, although you are adding moisture to the plant. When you water a plant, you pour water or liquid feed into the soil, which then makes its way down to the roots, and the plant draws the water up.
Misting is a way to apply moisture directly to the leaves and stems. Homes with low humidity can mean that a plant’s leaves become thin and dry, so they snap off as they’re brittle and lifeless, even if the roots are well watered.
Misting doesn’t mean splashing the leaves with water but using a very light spray from a specially designed spray bottle. You are, as the word suggests, applying a light mist around the plant, and replicating the humid conditions it would experience if it was growing in the wild.
For those who see a real benefit to misting their plants, there’s a skill to getting it right. But even the die-hard misters know that there are some plants that should never get the mist treatment. So, when is misting good for indoor plants, and when is it not?
The Answer? It Depends
As with many things in life, the answer to the question of misting differs from plant to plant, so you should do your research! This is because there are so many hundreds of different species of houseplant that you could be concerned about.
It could also be that your location makes a huge difference as to the kind of advice you’re given about misting. Someone who grows plants from their house in the tropics will be given different advice from someone who likes to cultivate their plants from an icy village in Russia. So, it depends.
Should All Indoor Plants be Misted?
No, absolutely not.
While some house plants originate from tropical climes, there are plenty that come from places that might be hot, but not humid.
Succulents and cacti are two examples of indoor plants from hot places that don’t like humidity, and therefore should never be misted. These plants grow well in places like Texas, Mexico, and extremely dry deserts where water is rare. They’re specially equipped to store water in special parts of their fleshy parts to see them through the driest, hottest and most baking heat.
Misting succulents and cacti means that they will receive far too much moisture than is necessary, and this can cause them to rot. The same can be said for African Violets, another plant that likes low humidity and should therefore never be misted.
Which of My Indoor Plants Should I Mist?
A general rule of thumb that’s safe to adopt is that if your house plant comes from a humid place, it’ll benefit from the extra humidity.
By this, we don’t mean house plants that you’ve bought from the garden center or the local DIY store. We’re talking about the country or climate that the plant originates from. Read up to see if it’s a plant that comes from the rainforest, or from the desert, for example. And never mist the latter.
Some plants that thrive from the occasional misting include:
- Ferns, such as the Crispy Wave Fern
- Zebra plants
- Spider plants
- Prayer plants
- Orchids, like the cute Monkey Face Orchid
Misting Without Mist-akes
While your house plants might therefore benefit from the occasional misting, there are some things to remember! And these will determine whether your misting helps or hinders your plant’s growth.
Don’t Overdo It
We’re talking a light misting, here, to complement but not match the regular watering you do for your house plants. The idea is only to raise the humidity in the immediate area and give your plants a light spritzing, not drown them.
You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment. A regular spray bottle that applies a light, fine mist once every week or so will do nicely. You should still look after your plant’s drainage to make sure they’re not waterlogged from watering.
When misting, try and use as natural a water source as possible. Ideally, you should use rainwater, so you’re replicating the natural habitat for your plants as much as you can. Rainwater contains fewer chemicals than bottled water, so get close to the real thing when it’s available. Filtered will also work nicely.
Pick the Time and Place
It’s best to mist your plants in the morning, using water that’s not too cold. Tepid rainwater in a spray bottle first thing in the morning is perfect. The plant will then enjoy humid surroundings throughout the day while having a chance to dry.
It helps if your plants are in warm, areas, too, with plenty of natural light, as long as they’re not in direct sunlight.
It also helps to mist plants on gravel, so that the water continues to rise around the plant and creates a little microclimate all of its own.
Mist Groups of Plants Together
It helps to keep your humid-loving plants in one place so that they’re all in a misty wonderland together. Plants, believe it or not, are sociable things, and they do better when they’re benefiting from each other. Together in one little climate of their own, they nurture one another.
It also helps to keep cacti, succulents and other plants away from the house plants you plan to mist. That way, the plants that don’t like humidity won’t be caught in conditions that can be bad for them.
Don’t Create Too Much Humidity
Humid conditions without the correct airflow and ventilation can lead to condensation and mold in your house, particularly on the ceiling and walls. Mold spores are dangerous so don’t be in a rush to have a humid house. If you can’t be without your tropical plants, consider a dedicated greenhouse.
Use Your Own Judgement
Even plants you think should like humidity might not respond well to misting. Cut back on misting altogether if your plants show signs of rot or disease, or are attracting flies and pests who also thrive in humid conditions.
Misting too often can create too much water in the soil, so your plants can become waterlogged and this can lead to root-rot. If the conditions in your home don’t lend themselves to misting, then don’t do it.
Misting is one of those things that a plant can benefit from, but house plants from tropical areas can still live perfectly happily and thrive without misting as long as you’re taking care of other things like watering, feeding, and giving the plant plenty of natural light.