Should I mist my indoor plant?

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When reading this, please bear in mind that I’m anti-misting, so if you have undisputable PROOF that misting helps plants, then I’m all ears. Leave me a comment and CHANGE MY MIND. ***Brief interlude where I research how to make a meme, then make a meme***

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Yeah, I said it

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I mean, it’s probably been done, but it was cathartic, if nothing else.

Why do people recommend misting plants?

The logic behind misting plants is that it increases the humidity in the air around them. I just don’t buy that. It’s not mist, for a start, it’s sprayed water.

And whilst it does increase humidity, as soon as the water settles (a couple of minutes) the humidity is pretty much back where it started.

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How can misting benefit your house plants?

There are good reasons for misting your plants, but it’s not to do with humidity.

Misting your plants does have the beneficial side effect of knocking of some dust and maybe even the odd bug, BUT I highly recommend following up your misting session with a cursory wipe down of the leaves.

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Do misting actually raise the humidity in the room?

Not unless you’re misting a hell of a lot. Even putting your plants in the bathroom doesn’t guarantee constant humidity, and you’re effectively misting them (with actual mist) for as long as the shower’s on for.

I suppose misting your plants could raise the humidity of the room if you have a very small room and you’re misting every half an hour or so. In which case, you’re crazy.

Just…go and buy a humidifier.

If you can’t afford a humidifier, misting your plants isn’t really a decent alternative.

Either don’t buy plants that need high levels of humidity to survive (no Calathea I’m afraid) or choose one of the more effective ways to increase humidity that I talk about in this article.

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Is humidity that important when it comes to the health of your plant?

Humidity is very important for the health of….some plants. Not all of them though.

In order to successfully keep house plants, we need to replicate their natural environment as closely as possible.

A lot of traditional house plants such as philodendron, calathea, and aglaonema hail from the rainforest.

Rainforests are…pretty humid. Some plants are better at adapting to less humid conditions than others, but in my experience, the more expensive a plant is, the less adaptable they are.

Although I could just be helicopter parenting them more, I suppose.

Before giving it all up for lost, I highly recommend that you at least purchase a hygrometer (or borrow one from a friend) – they’re pretty cheap.

Put it where you want your plant to live, and leave it for 24 hours.

Then you can decide on a plant that’s suited to your home’s natural environment. Just be aware that humidity tends to decrease in winter, so you may get some crispy tips.

If you can’t be bothered with the hassle, pick plants that don’t require more than ambient humidity, which is USUALLY 40% or less. Mine’s 60%, but if you live somewhere that’s hot and dry, it could be less.

Ten plants that require 40 % humidity or less

  1. Cacti – excluding Christmas cacti and his easter and Thanksgiving mates
  2. Hoya – though it varies from plant to plant. Prefer 50% but will tolerate 40%
  3. Pothos – just generally hard to kill
  4. Sansevieria – see pothos
  5. ZZ plant – again, hard to kill
  6. Monstera – it would prefer higher, but won’t complain at 40%
  7. Peperomia
  8. Ficus Robusta (Rubber plants
  9. Asparagus fern
  10. Ponytail palm

Stay away from Calathea, ferns, Stromanthe, Ctentanthe, and African violets. Philodendron generally prefer humidity levels of 50%+ but there are a few that would probably tolerate lower humidity – Micans and Scandens apring to mind.

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Can misting my plants damage them?

Technically yes, but it’s probably not something to worry about. Look, if misting killed your plants it wouldn’t be so highly recommended would it?

If you use stagnant water, you could end up giving your plants a bacterial infection. If you let the leaves get too wet you could also end up giving your plant a bacterial infection or some kind of fungus.

It’s probably quite unlikely, but is it really worth the risk if misting isn’t going to benefit your plant anyway?

Some plants will not appreciate having wet leaves, so you shouldn’t mist them – any plant with remotely fuzzy leaves, like African Violets, don’t like having wet leaves (even though African Violets do appreciate high humidity).

You know how prayer plants close their leaves at night? One of the theories about why they do that is that it’s to reduce the amount of water on their leaves.

During the day they open their leaves to maximise the amount of light they’re getting – rain will hit them, but they need the light, so they have to deal with it. But at night, they fold their leaves in (no light, so why not?) so the water drips straight off.

So don’t mist your prayer plants. It’s disrespectful.

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What should I use to mist my plants?

If you’re going to go to the trouble of misting your plants, you may as well help them out. Add a tiny drop of neem oil to the water and stave off any bugs.

I would use rain or filtered water to mist with, just because I’ve found that plants that love humidity don’t love tap water. Also, better safe than sorry.

Don’t bother with those plant mister things, however pretty they look. Or rather, buy one for the aesthetics, and then buy one of these regular spray bottles instead. I love these ones – I keep cleaning products in them too, and I want to get another one for my toner.

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Do I mist my plants?

No. But I know a lot of people that SWEAR it benefits their plants, so if you want to go ahead.

I do have a tiny theory on why misters see results – I think it’s for a similar reason that some people swear their plants grow more if they’re spoken to. If you’re misting your plants, you’re paying attention to them, so you’re more likely to notice if they’re thirsty, need repotting, or have pests.

If you want to mist your plants, absolutely go ahead. But don’t tell me to mist mine.

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11 thoughts on “Should I mist my indoor plant?”

  1. Thank you for this article. I have to say, I think there is merit in misting plants, even if not for humidity. Plants, especially tropical plants, are rained on in nature and this must provide some benefits to their lush leaves. Misting is almost imitating nature.

  2. Excellent point Prue, and a great way to distinguish between plants that might like a mist and plants that really wouldn’t (ferns yes, cactus no). If it suits you, mist away.

  3. Im yet to get myself an air plant! I probably wouldn’t mist it because it wouldn’t dry quick enough and would rot – the joys of living in the UK – but I’m glad it works for you!

  4. I like how you expressing about not misting plants! Haha.. I am ok with misting though. I think misting give plants an illusion of rain or moist especially it’s a terrarium type and make them happy for a short time. Then oh no more.. it happens to normal weather too..
    For sure don’t mist African Violets!
    For air plants, you do need to mist them every couple of days and soak about every 2 weeks for 2 hours. I have air plants and there is time that I don’t mist them. They are definitely not happy. Don’t need to worry about they are not drying. They dry out even after soaking. 🙂

  5. I keep seeing those terrariums with the automatic misters and they look so freaking cool! They’re kind of a cross between a humidifier and a mister so I think they’re more beneficial than just letting loose with a spray bottle. I’m still yet to buy an air plant, but maybe they’ll convert me to misting!

  6. I have been reading a lot of articles on your blog since yesterday, laughing my head off (well almost). Love your style and your straightforwardness. I don’t mist either, it feels wrong to me, and I am worried about fungi, etc. But I am in wet England too (even though it’s Kent, so very dry in the summer). My house is small and dark like yours and it is encouraging to see you can keep so many plants happy ! I have kids and a lot of books, so not enough space for plants, but that’s probably better for my wallet. Anyway, just wanted to say I enjoy your blog a lot !

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