Misting Your Houseplants
Many of us love to mist our plants. There's a joy in spritzing and it creates time to check in and connect with our plants. But the reality is misting isn't doing much to help humidity. That isn't to say it's not an excellent tool and something you should be doing regularly, but the primary benefit of misting is actually in cleaning leaves and pest management, not in increasing humidity.
When you mist a plant you're temporarily increasing the humidity around the foliage, but only for a matter of minutes before the water begins to evaporate. Most houseplants grow best in 30% to 60% humidity, although some like it even more humid. This is because most houseplants naturally grow under the jungle canopy of tropical rainforests. So while a high quality Mister can help temporarily increase the relative humidity of surrounding a plant, it is not the best tool out there to create a healthy environment for humidity loving species. If you want to increase the relative humidity in your space on an ongoing basis, it would be better to invest in a humidifier. We like this one from Honeywell as it's easy to refill and holds over 1 gallon of water for a long run time.
An Essential Tool
This said, a good mister is still considered an essential tool for houseplant longevity. That's because misting is one of the best ways to keep your houseplants clean and healthy. Over time dust settles on leaves making it more difficult for light to be absorbed for photosynthesis. Misting regularly in combination with wiping down the leaves with a clean microfiber cloth will keep your leaves free of dust, and also help mitigate any emerging pest problems. Misting and wiping your leaves once a month is one of the most effective ways to combat common houseplant pests, spider mites.
One of the other important uses of a mister is to deliver pesticide treatments to infested plants. Depending on your pest (and check out our handy article on ID'ing common pests if you're not sure who your enemy may be) you can add home brews, insecticidal soap, neem oil, and/or other treatments to your mister and use it to battle infestations. One of the reasons we love our Airless Fine Spray Mister is its ability to move 360 degrees, meaning it can spray sideways and upside down to get to hard to reach spots like the underside of leaves and the leaf axle (the spot where the leaf meets the stem).
How to Mist Your Plant
Our Spray Mister produces a fine and continuous mist with repeated actuation. Simply pull down on the level and watch the aerosolized water form a soothing cloud of mist over your plant. Misting is highly recommended at least once a month, and more often with species that enjoy it (see full list below). Be sure to spray the top and underside of your leaves, and if using for cleaning your leaves, wipe the leaves down with a cloth after misting to remove dust.
Signs of Low Humidity
Even though misting isn't the best tool to increase humidity on a long term basis, it can help short term and it's important to know what the signs look like so you can determine if you need to take measures to bring more moisture into the air surrounding your plants. If you want to track the humidity of your space, a hygrometer is a great tool to set up near your plants. This inexpensive instrument will give you ongoing temperature and humidity readings for your space and is a worthwhile investment for anyone with a large houseplant collection. Some of the signs of low humidity include:
- Brown edges or tips on the leaves of plants
- Yellowing leaves
- Curling or dried leaves
- New growth has difficulty unfurling and sticks or tears as it tries to open
Which Plants Most Appreciate Regular Misting?
- Birds of Paradise