humidifier for plants

Can I Use a Humidifier for My Houseplants?

Can I Use a Humidifier for My Houseplants?

Yes, using a humidifier can absolutely benefit your houseplants! The main reason is that raising humidity levels around your plants helps recreate the tropical environments many houseplants originally come from. In their native habitats, plants thrive in warm, humid conditions. Using a humidifier mimics this environment and prevents issues that can arise when houseplants are exposed to the dry air in most homes and offices.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using humidifiers for houseplants. We’ll look at the benefits increased humidity provides, which types of plants react well to humidifiers, tips for effective use, and what to watch out for. Let’s get started!

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Why Use a Humidifier for Houseplants?

There are several key reasons why supplying supplemental humidity from a humidifier can be advantageous for houseplants:

Mimics Tropical Environments

A large number of common houseplants actually originate in tropical or subtropical regions where the climate is warm and humid year-round. Places like the rainforests of South America or Southeast Asia see high rainfall and moisture levels in the air. Plants native to these areas evolve to thrive in humid conditions.

When we bring these plants into our homes as houseplants, they can suffer from the dry air. Most homes have a relative humidity level between 30-50%, which is quite low compared to the jungle! This drier air stresses plants out as they try to adapt.

Using a humidifier restores moisture to the air and creates an environment closer to what plants are accustomed to. This reduces stress and helps them function normally.

Prevents Dry Air Issues

Dry air can cause a range of problems for houseplants. Lack of moisture often manifests first in the leaves. You may notice the leaf tips turning brown and crispy or the edges drying up and curling. Plants may also respond by dropping leaves at an accelerated rate when the air stays too parched.

All of these issues can be prevented by using a humidifier. Keeping the moisture levels higher around your plants through supplemental humidity helps leaves stay hydrated and healthy.

Fights Pests

Some common houseplant pests thrive in hot and dry conditions. Spider mites are a prime example – these tiny sap-sucking creatures reproduce rapidly when humidity is low. The dry air allows them to establish colonies and spread quickly from plant to plant.

Boosting humidity creates an environment less ideal for these moisture-loving pests. It won’t completely eliminate infestations, but can help keep them at bay and slow down reproduction rates. This gives you a better chance at control.

What Types of Plants Benefit from Humidifiers?

While all plants need some moisture both in their soil and the surrounding air, some varieties react especially well to increased humidity from humidifiers:

Tropical Plants

As we discussed earlier, plants native to the humid tropics thrive when we can recreate similar conditions indoors. Great examples include:

  • Ferns
  • Orchids
  • Bromeliads
  • Calatheas
  • Philodendrons

Plants Prone to Crispy Leaves

Some plants are extra sensitive to dry air and readily show signs of distress like brown crispy leaves. These plants make ideal candidates for humidifier use. Some to look out for are:

  • Peace lily
  • Croton
  • Dracaena
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Prayer plant

Plants that Dislike Dry Air

There are a range of other houseplants that simply don’t thrive in low humidity conditions, even if they don’t show obvious signs of damage. Some examples:

  • Rubber plant
  • Palms
  • Weeping fig
  • Creeping fig

If you have plants that struggle through the dry winter months or you find yourself dealing with mysterious leaf issues, try boosting humidity before taking other corrective actions.

Tips for Using a Humidifier with Houseplants

Follow these tips to use a humidifier effectively and safely with your houseplant collection:

Use the Right Humidifier

Not all humidifiers are created equal when it comes to houseplants! Here are some things to look for:

  • Go for warm mist or ultrasonic models – Cool mist humidifiers can damage some tropical plants not used to cold moisture.
  • Choose a large enough size – Make sure the humidifier’s specs match the dimensions of the room your plants live in.
  • Buy for run time – Look for a model that can run for 24 hours before needing a refill to maintain constant humidity.

Proper Placement

Where you position the humidifier matters:

  • Place near plants – Spot the humidifier within a few feet of your plants so they benefit directly.
  • Avoid dripping directly on leaves – Situate it close but not right on top of plants to prevent fungal issues.
  • Adjust as needed – Move the humidifier around to target problem plants and equalize humidity.

Monitor Humidity Levels

Use a hygrometer to track the realative humidity in the room with your plants. The optimal RH level for most houseplants is 60-80%. Adjust the humidifier’s output to reach this target.

Change Water Frequently

Don’t let water sit stagnant in the humidifier reservoir. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on cleaning and maintenance. Change the water at least every few days.

Watch for Signs of Excess Humidity

While most houseplants thrive in high humidity, too much moisture can cause issues like mold, fungus gnats or root rot. If your plants show any signs of these problems, discontinue humidifier use.

Only run your humidifier when environmental conditions call for it. In warmer months, moisture levels will naturally rise and supplemental humidity may not be needed.


Humidity is a key but often overlooked factor in helping houseplants remain healthy and vibrant indoors. For plants prone to dry air problems or those native to tropical environments, adding supplemental moisture to the air with a humidifier can make all the difference.

Look for signs of dry air distress like brown crispy leaves and then take action. Follow the tips above to effectively use a humidifier to raise the humidity around your plants. With the right moisture levels, your houseplant collection will thrive!


Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @