There’s one thing all your plants crave during the winter months . . . .
and that’s humidity.
Being the tropical creatures that they are, your plants want humidity levels of 40% or more to be happy.
This can be a challenge in the winter. The problem is your furnace. As it heats the air, it’s also baking out the moisture.
When its cold outside central heating systems push out hot, dry air hour after hour to keep room temperatures comfortable.
Maintaining 40% humidity under these conditions is nearly impossible. Many homes in cold climates have humidity levels as low as 10% during winter months!
Low humidity makes life difficult for all your plants (10% humidity levels are normally found in the desert!).
How to Measure Humidity
Humidity is moisture in the air. Do you know how much humidity your plants are getting?
Guessing humidity levels is nearly impossible. A better option is measuring humidity a device called a hygrometer. Hygrometers are often built into thermometers. I recommend getting a Hygrometer/Thermometer that not only shows the current temperature and humidity, but also the highest and lowest levels over time.
Tip: When buying a Hygrometer/Thermometer be sure to get one that measures the high and low readings over time. They have a manual reset button and will reset only when you ask for it. Cheap versions reset every 24 hours making it impossible to get accurate readings without checking every day – and that simply isn’t practical..
It just so happens we have Hygrometer/Thermometers in our store! I have one and use it all the time! With a Hygrometer/Thermometer you can become a junior meterologist, discovering the micro-climates all over your house.
“Stop guessing and start measuring – you’ll instantly become a better grower!”
3 Practical Ways to Increase Humidity
You don’t need to live in a rain forrest to grow healthy plants. But if your furance blows out hot, dry air to keep your house warm, you should think about raising humidity levels for your plants..
Here are 3 practical ways to increase the humidity.
Warning: Don’t confuse humidity (moisture in the air) with water in the pot. Watering your plants more to create humidity is a sure way to kill them.
1. Using Humidity Trays
Humidity Trays are light weight, plastic trays that display your plants on a grid that sits above a water reservoir. As the water in the reservoir evaporates, the humidity around your plants increases.
Assembling your plants on Humidity Trays creates a micro-climate that increases humidity in two ways. First, moving your plants together naturally increases humidity. In addition, the water evaporating from the Humidity Tray gives the air around your plants a real humidity boost.
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2. Turn Down the Thermostat
Humidity levels are closely tied to air temperature.
Try turning down the thermostat a few degrees, especially at night. Don’t worry about your house being too cold. You’ll be uncomfortable long before your plants will – even the “warm growers”. Most orchids are content with evening temperatures as low as 50-55 degrees,
3. Invest in a Humidifier
A room humdifier is also a very good solution to low humidity.
An evaporative-pad humidifier is better than a mist humidifier, because, unlike a mist humidifier, it doesn’t leave your orchids with a white film (from the minerals in the water being deposited on the leaves).
Unfortunately, misting plants to increase humidity doesn’t do much. The effects of misting are short lived. Unless you mist your plant every 30 minutes – around the clock – misting won’t help.
Using humdity trays, lowering the temperatures at night, and adding a room humidifier is the solution to low humidity.
Both your and your plants will be healthier.
Advantages of Growing with Hydroponics When Humidity is Low
With hydroponics the water in the pot is not only nurturing the plant, but it’s also evaporating into the air, raising humidity levels at the base of the plant – where it does the most good.
Plants also tend to dry out faster in dry air and require more water. This makes watering a real guessing game. With our system, correct watering is easy because the water gauge tells you when (and how much) to water – no more guessing!