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Monstera deliciosa are happy in a range of humidity levels – anything above 40% is fine for them.
However, they can benefit from having higher humidity levels, and if you’re struggling to convince your Monstera to grow, increasing the humidity can give it a boost.
Before investing in a humidifier or misting your plant or anything, get your hands on a hygrometer.
They’re pretty cheap, and they’ll tell you what your existing ambient humidity levels are (and usually the temperature as well).
How much humidity do Monstera deliciosa need?
Monstera deliciosa are native to the rainforests of Central America, and so have evolved to grow in 70-90% humidity.
However, the key to their success is their adaptability, so they’re pretty tolerant of living in humidity levels of as low as 40%, which is the ambient humidity of the average home.
There are advantages of keeping Monstera in higher humidity levels, though, so just because a humidifier isn’t necessary, doesn’t mean it won’t help.
If your humidity is on the low side, but your Monstera is healthy and growing well, then there’s no reason to increase the humidity BUT if your Monstera is struggling, increasing the humidity can help it out in a few different ways.
Ensuring your Monstera has adequate light will have more impact than increasing humidity levels.
Do Monstera deliciosa like high humidity?
Monstera deliciosa do like high humidity, and it can encourage them to grow faster and makes it easier for them to grow aerial roots and climb, which in turn makes them grow bigger, more fenestrated leaves.
In my experience, though, it’s not a silver bullet for a failing plant. Some plants, like ferns and even Pothos, really benefit from having super high humidity. I’ve kept them in terrariums and they grow considerably faster, and have bigger, stronger leaves.
Keeping Monstera deliciosa in 90% humidity doesn’t consistently have any more benefit than keeping them in 65% humidity.
There is some variation from specimen to specimen, but in general, there’s no point in artificially increasing the humidity to levels over 65% for the sake of your Monstera. It won’t make much difference. Other than encouraging incredibly long aerial roots.
When deciding whether to invest in a humidifier, there are a few advantages and disadvantages to consider:
Advantages of high humidity
- You won’t need to water as often
If you’re an underwater *raises hand* then keeping humidity levels high will mean that Monstera can absorb moisture from the air. Monstera are epiphytes, so if they’re not getting enough water to their subterranean roots, they can absorb it through their aerial roots.
Your soil will also take longer to dry out.
- They’ll better attach to moss poles/stakes
Monstera deliciosa have a decidedly messy growth pattern if left to their own devices. The easiest way to keep them upright is to add a stake of some kind. Whilst you can attach the aerial roots and stem to the stake yourself, high humidity levels will allow the aerial roots to attach by themselves.
If you’re using a proper moss pole, the aerial roots will develop into their own subterranean root system, increasing turgor pressure and helping the leaves support themselves and not droop.
- Certain pests will be put off
Take this with a big pinch of salt, because pests aren’t as picky about conditions as we might like to think. Theoretically, spider mites prefer dry environments, and are less likely to set up shop. It doesn’t mean that they WON’T show up, just that they’re less likely. Thrips have no such qualms, and will show up anywhere.
- You may see faster growth
High humidity is one of those things that supercharges the growth on certain plants – Epipremnum in particular really benefit from it.
In the case of Monstera deliciosa, I’ve found that increasing humidity levels can cause an initial growth spurt, but it won’t speed up growth long term. I do think it supports leaves growing bigger though.
- Leaves will unfurl faster and will be less likely to be damaged
In low humidity environments, leaves take longer to unfurl, and the leaf can actually damage itself as it unfurls (which seems like a deign flaw until you realise that Monstera weren’t actually evolving to live as houseplants).
Increasing the humidity not only encourages leaves to unfurl faster, but the leaves also seem a little less delicate.
Disadvantages of high humidity
High humidity is not all sunshine and rainbows, and can do more harm than good, especially in cold weather. I’m more likely to run a dehumidifier in winter than a humidifier.
- It can cause bacterial infections
In cases of super high humidity, water can stay on the leaves too long and create a perfect environment for bacterial infections. This can happen in warm or cold temperatures.
If you have naturally super high humidity, then you can dramatically reduce the chance of these infections affecting your plants by increasing airflow. An open window ar a fan is fan.
- Water can get trapped in the leaves
When new Monstera leaves emerge, they’re rolled up into a tube, and unfurl over time. If you have really high humidity, then moisture can get trapped in the unfurling leaf and lead to makrs on the leaf.
Again, ensuring adequate airflow will counter this.
- It can lead to colder temperatures
This is important in winter. As I said in the advantages section, humidity can help soil to stay damp for longer, which is great in summer, but can be an issue in winter. The plant isn’t growing plus the shorter hours of cooler light can result in root rot.
As well as root rot, the high humidity makes it more difficult to heat rooms, so it’ll take longer (and cost more) to raise the temperature.
How to balance light, humidity, and temperature
In my experience, Monstera deliciosa don’t grow much in winter, unless you’re running a full gamut of grow lights, heat pads, and humidifiers.
Don’t try to increase your humidity unless you’re also increasing the light and the warmth to your plants, otherwise you risk root rot and bacterial infections, due to low temperatures, lack of light, and high humidity.
If your light levels are low, your humidity levels should be too. In winter, my humidity levels stay around 65% and it gets pretty cold, even inside, so I try to run my dehumidifier to reduce humidity levels further.
My Monstera don’t grow in winter, but they don’t deteriorate either.
Are Monstera deliciosa ok in low humidity?
Monstera deliciosa can do pretty well in low levels of humidity. It can vary from plant to plant, but in general, it doesn’t hinder their growth.
I have noticed that Monstera are less likely to produce aerial roots in low humidity, because aerial roots need high humidity to adhere to whatever they’re climbing. If they can’t climb, there’s no point in them producing aerial roots. They’ll still grow new leaves though, albeit a little slower than if they were in higher humidity.
Signs your humidity levels are too low:
- Rips in new leaves
High humidity can plump leaves up, and makes them a bit thicker and stronger – especially if you forget to water. When Monstera are producing a new leaf they can go through water much faster than usual, and run dry without you noticing. If your humidity is low, this can lead to the new leaf getting dehydrated make it more at risk of tearing.
- Crispy edges to the leaves
Low humidity can draw moisture from the edges of the leaves too quickly, and result in your Monstera getting brown edges.
- Lack of aerial root growth
As I explained before, Monstera don’t grow aerial roots necessarily, so if the humidity is too low for them to climb, they won’t grow.
This varies a LOT from Monstera to Monstera. Some love producing aerial roots for no reason.
- Slow growth
Low humidity can slow growth down. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s just a thing. If your house is small then it can even be a good thing.
How to increase humidity for your Monstera deliciosa
If your humidity is below 40%, or you’d like to increase it to help your plant grow there are a few things you can do:
Humidifiers one of the few sure-fire ways of increasing the humidity levels around your plant. Place it as close to your Monstera as possible, because the closer it is, the less often you’ll have to run it.
The humidifier I recommend is on my resources page. The Levoit humidifier is commonly used for houseplants because it has a large tank and you can set it to come on automatically when humidity levels are too low.
To get any real benefit from your humidifier, you’ll need to keep humidity levels to your desired level for about eight hours a day. How long you need to run the humidifier for will vary depending on the size of the room, the existing humidity, and the efficiency of your humidifier.
Group plants together
Plants produce moisture as they photosynthesise, emitting water vapour from their stomata. Grouping plants together creates their own little humidity bubble. Water evoporating from their soil also increases the humidity.
Grouping plants together to take advantage of their transpiration emissions (what a weird sentence) won’t have any real effect on ‘true’ high humidity plants like Calathea unless you keep them in a tiny space but it can give a boost to plants like Monstera.
If you group together dozens of plants that can increase the humidity by about 5%, but it’s more likely to be 1 or 2% if you only have a few plants.
Put plants in a smaller space
A cloche or a terrarium is ideal, but Monstera are a bit big for terrariums really. However, just moving your all plants to a smaller room can help keep the humidity up.
A lot of houseplant people keep their plants in indoor greenhouses or grow tents over winter so they can easily keep the light and warmth up without having to keep their entire house warm and lit with grow lights.
The only downside to this is that if you get pests, they’ll spread quickly. Only put all your plants together in a small space if you’re also going to use grow lights and keep them warm. Cold, light-starved plants are a beacon to houseplant pests.
How not to increase the humidity for Monstera deliciosa
There’s a lot of misinformation about how to increase humidity around houseplants. Humidifiers are the only reliable way to go, unless you can score a big terrarium.
There are three commonly recommended things that not only don’t increase humidity, but can actively make the environment worse for your Monstera.
(Though tbh Monstera are pretty adaptable, and won’t be harmed by these things, other plants can be, and if your Monstera is a little under the weather, you can make things worse).
Pebble trays don’t increase humidity by any real amount. I know a lot of people swear by them, but I tried them out over the summer, and they made no difference to the humidity levels directly above the tray, never mind around my Monstera.
If you live somewhere VERY HOT, where the water will evaporate quickly, then you can give them a try, but they’re unlikely to make a meaningful difference.
Misting doesn’t increase humidity. Humidity is water vapour, misting is water droplets. It’s the difference between rain and fog.
I’m not saying misting doesn’t help Monstera. I don’t think it does but thousands of people swear by it, and they can’t all be wrong.
But misting doesn’t increase humidity.
It just makes your leaves wet, which can increase bacterial infections and make your plant cold in winter.
Putting Monstera in the bathroom
I keep one of my Monstera in the bathroom, because he loves to have thrips, and needs to be kept away from the rest of my plants. It’s got a big south-facing, frosted glass window, so it *should* be perfect for it.
It’s fine in there, but the humidity isn’t particularly high, unless someone’s actually taking a shower. As Monstera are pretty adaptable when it comes to humidity, it’s fine for them, but it’s not consistent enough for something like Calathea.
Bathrooms are also cold, so even if it did have high humidity, any benefits that the high humidity brings are negated by the cold temperature.
Obvs if you live somewhere warmer than where I do (not hard) then your Monstera might be fine in the bathroom, but bathrooms are NOT automatically high in humidity. I recommend you check the humidity with a hygrometer.
Do Monstera like to be misted?
So we’ve already established that misting does NOT increase the humidity around Monstera, but surely it must do some good if so many people swear by it?
I’m a bit of sceptic but I do have a few theories on why misting helps Monstera:
- People who mist spend more time caring for their plants, so they’re more likely to spot issues like pests earlier
- Misting knocks off dustso the leaves are better able to photosynthesize
- Misting with foliar sprays can increase nutrients and reduce pests. I have an orchid one that i quite like.
Is misting good for Monstera?
Misting isn’t good or bad for Monstera.
I’ve done a lot of research into this, and have come to the conclusion that Monstera don’t really care either way about being misted. I don’t think it has negative ramifications, so the points above, like keeping the leaves clean, are beneficial.
If you want to mist go ahead. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re cleaning the leaves every month or so.
There are some occasions when misting can harm your plants:
- When it’s cold – it’ll just make it even colder, and increase the chance of your Monstera getting a bacterial infection
- When your Monstera is unhealthy – plants don’t photosynthesise when their leaves are wet, so you can make the issue worse by reducing your plant’s ability to feed itself. Remember that anything that causes stress to the plant can increases the chance of it getting pests as well
- If your Monstera is in low light – it is possible to keep Monstera in low light, but you need to maximise the hours it can photosynthesise. If you do want to mist it, do it when it’s dark so you’re not interrupting photosynthesis.
How often should you mist Monstera?
In the middle of summer when it’s hot and dusty, you can mist your Monstera as often every day or as infrequently as never – as long as your Monstera is healthy.
Outside of midsummer, I wouldn’t recommend misting your Monstera more often than once a week, to make sure it can photosynthesise as much as possible.
If your Monstera is outside, you can hose it down every day – it’ll be getting a LOT more light than it would be indoors and will dry out much faster. Again, you don’t need to mist it if you don’t want to. As long as it’s getting adequate water to the leaves and you’re dusting the leaves occasionally.
Do Monstera like to be showered?
I have a whole article on showering Monstera here. As with misting, it’s up to you what you do with a healthy Monstera. It won’t care about being showered, and it can be a good way to clean the leaves quickly. Showering is NOT the same as high humidity.
And that’s all I have to say about Monstera and humidity. To recap:
- Monstera are happy in a variety of humidity levels
- High humidity can speed up growth and increase leaf size/fenestrations if it’s also bright and warm
- You’ll need a humidifier or a small, enclosed space to increase humidity
- Misting doesn’t increase humidity
Before you go, here are a few articles you might find useful: