Do Monsteras like humidity? Yes. These tropical rainforest plants like a warm and humid environment, just as it is in their native habitat. Putting them in a less humid place will make their leaves dully, have brown tips and edges, curl, and so on.
We will help you understand what humidity is and why it is crucial to plants or even you. Afterward, we will give you the six best ways to raise humidity for your Monstera and other plants. Everything you learn here works for various Monstera species, including Monstera deliciosa, adansonii, etc.
- Understanding humidity
- How humidity affects your houseplants
- Ideal Monstera humidity level
- How to tell your Monstera needs more humidity
- How to test humidity
- How to raise humidity
- 1. Mist your plant
- 2. Try a pebble tray
- 3. Buy a humidifier
- 4. Group plants
- 5. Move plants to more humid rooms
- 6. Use two pots
- Other ways:
Humidity is a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air. How much air can hold depends on temperature: the higher the water vapor and vice versa.
On the other hand, relative humidity (RH) tells you the amount of vapor present as a percentage of the amount required to saturate the air at that temperature. We measure RH using a hygrometer, and most brands also measure temperature.
How humidity affects your houseplants
Humidity has a profound effect on plants. It impacts the opening and closing of stomata, which will influence things like photosynthesis, gaseous exchange, and water/nutrients pull force from roots.
When humidity is very low, Monstera leaves will lose a lot of water. To help conserve water, they will close stomata and curl or roll up at times.
Remember, plants need carbon dioxide, light, water, and minerals to make food. When stomata close, they cannot absorb carbon dioxide, meaning they cannot synthesis their food. Also, they cannot remove oxygen/gases. So, they will accumulate inside.
That is not all. When stomata close, transpiration stops. Transpiration helps plants keep cool and creates a force to pull water and minerals from roots. So, the net effect will be your Monstera unable to absorb water or nutrients or keep itself cool.
Low humidity isn’t just a problem for plants. Your skin and eyes will also dry, and you will have chapped leaves, an itchy throat, and cold/flu symptoms. Also, your furniture or flooring may warp or have gaps, and caulk will dry, among other problems.
Very high humidity coupled with poor air circulation isn’t ideal either. Yes, the stomata will be open, but water won’t evaporate via transpiration. So, these aroids won’t create a pull force to draw water and minerals from the soil. Also, it will increase instances of some fungal or bacterial leaf spot disease.
Ideal Monstera humidity level
The ideal Monstera humidity level should be average to above, i.e., 50% or more with 60-80% recommended values. These tropical rainforest plants love a warm and humid environment just as it is in their native habitat.
But they can survive average household humidity, often 40% to 60%, with a little misting and other minimal efforts to raise it.
How to tell your Monstera needs more humidity
The telltale signs that your Monstera doesn’t get enough humidity or needs more include the following:
- Leaves will feel dry and have crispy brown edges and tips. At times you may notice brown patches, too, especially in-between veins.
- Drooping and wilting
- Yellowing of your Monstera leaves
- Leaves curling, rolling, or cupping
- Stunted or slow growth
- Increased water needs
- Leaves may fall off or drop
- Dull plant
Most of these signs are similar to plants that don’t get enough water or are under heat stress. So, first, confirm if your plant isn’t thirsty and check that the temperature isn’t so high.
Also, a rootbound plant, those under direct sun, may show some of these signs. But if you recently transplanted or repotted your Monstera, it may be the reason for the symptoms and necessarily low humidity.
How to test humidity
Before trying to increase temperature, the first thing you need to do is confirm if the reason is humidity. To measure it accurately, you need a hygrometer. Most round up as thermometers too. A good brand to buy is AcuRite Digital Hygrometer & Thermometer. If outdoor, buy ThermoPro TP60S Digital Hygrometer.
Another way to tell humidity is low is the ice cube method. Place a few ice cubes in a glass and check if some of it will have water droplets (some vapor condensation) on the outer side. If it does, your level is ok.
How to raise humidity
The way to raise humidity depends on the current condition, i.e., how low it is and where your plant is. For instance, some ways to increase humidity indoors may not work for your outdoor Monstera.
Here are ways to give your Monstera more humidity:
1. Mist your plant
Misting is one of the most common ways of raising the humidity. It involves using a spray bottle to spritz water onto your plant. As the water evaporates, humidity goes up.
We recommend using distilled or filtered water to avoid leaving whitish deposits on your plants’ leaves. Also, do it early when you are sure the water will evaporate before the night. Otherwise, keeping leaves wet for a long time may cause fungal or bacterial diseases.
The con of misting is that the effect created is short-lived. Also, if you keep wetting leaves, they may get diseases, as already seen.
2. Try a pebble tray
To make a pebble tray, take a water tray, put some large pebbles and add water to cover no more than ⅔ of the stones. Next, sit the pot on the rocks and ensure the water doesn’t reach the plant.
As the water evaporates, it will raise the humidity around your Monstera plants but won’t change overall house humidity considerably. Don’t place your plant in a very windy place for best results. Why. The wind will sweep away the moisture.
Not everyone likes this method since your plant must remain standing on a pebble tray. Also, the presence of water may attract some water-loving pests.
And sit your plant pots on the stones ensuring the water doesn’t reach the plant.
3. Buy a humidifier
Perhaps, the best way to raise humidity for your plants and yourself is by buying a humidifier. You will find it handy during winters when air cannot hold much moisture.
Most brands can run for at least a day non-stop, will auto shut when they run out of water, don’t consume much electricity. They will reliably keep humidity high unless there is power.
If you are on a budget, we recommend Pure Enrichment® MistAire. It can last up to 24 hours and is not noisy. Also, it shuts down when it depletes water.
If you want more control and have a larger room go for LEVOIT Humidifiers Top Fill, 6 Liter, Cool Mist. It is app control and it can run for 60 hours continuously. Also you can connect it to third-party voice assistants include Alexa and can automatically adjust mist levels to keep humidity at a set range.
4. Group plants
You can easily create a microclimate with many plants by placing them together. When grouped, your plants will collectively increase humidity around them as they transpire. Also, they shield the vaporized moisture from being taken away with air quickly.
After grouping your plants, you can make things better by putting a small container filled with water at the center. It will further help boost humidity, and you can use it even for outdoor Monstera plants.
The only shortcoming of this method is that it will not work well if you don’t have many plants. Also, it may not be very effective over a large area.
5. Move plants to more humid rooms
The other way to provide enough humidity to your plant is to move them to more humid rooms like bathrooms, kitchen, laundry rooms, and so on. But you need to ensure they are well-lit.
While effective, we don’t like this method because it forces you to place plants in locations you may not like. Most people love having plants in their living or bedrooms.
6. Use two pots
This method involves placing your plant pot into another one at least 2 inches wider in diameter and filling the in-between space with sphagnum moss. As moisture evaporates, the area around your plant will be humid.
It works like the pebble tray. But we love this method because it retains aesthetics. Just ensure your cachepot is taller than the one with your plant.
Besides the above methods, here are more ways to provide adequate humidity to your Monstera or other plants
- Use a terrarium or greenhouse cabinet: Make or buy an enclosed or partially enclosed plant terrarium. Considering the size of Monstera, it may not be the best option since you will need a colossal terrarium.
- Bath your plants: While it will help raise the humidity, there is the risk of overwatering your Monstera unless you do it without wetting the potting mix. Also, these are not the best and easiest plants to give a bath.
- Cover with a transparent plastic bag: You can cover your plants with a plastic bag if you are in arid areas. Just ensure the bag doesn’t cover