Snake plants are super popular partly because they are easy to take care of and difficult to kill. They need sunlight and water, but not a lot of either.
They thrive in most environments. This is why when you are struggling to keep your snake plant alive you might look towards whether too much or too little humidity is the problem.
The snake plant has a preference for humidity to be in the room temperature range of 40%. Although this plant is tough and difficult to kill, it will suffer and not thrive as well as it should if the humidity is too high or too low. There are ways to determine the humidity levels of your home as well as ways to address any problems you have found.
How Does Humidity Affect Snake Plants?
High humidity can adversely affect your snake plant. Here are some ways the humidity levels of your home can affect your plant.
It is not overly difficult to adjust your watering schedule to address low or high humidity content in a home. The problem occurs when you have a set schedule and do not take any additional factors into account.
For instance, if you knew that typically a snake plant only needs to be watered every few days and proceeded watering your plant on this schedule. You could either be under watering or over watering depending upon the humidity that is in the area your plant is growing.
If the humidity content is low, you will need to adjust to water your plant more often. If your humidity is high, you will need to reduce watering.
Humidity is the water vapor found in the air – so if your house is more humid than the average house (tropical climate, homes without temperature control like central air, etc.), your plant needs less water. Overwatering is as much an issue as under-watering.
Slow to No Growth
If there is too much humidity your plant may grow slower or stop altogether. The plant can not transpire enough water as a result normal physiological actives are retarded.
The problem could be a combination of too high humidity and too much water. Some warning signs include leaves that droop, turn yellow, or black. Black leaves indicate root rot.
How Much Humidity Does a Snake Plant Need?
Although it is quite possible to have a healthy snake plant in less than optimal settings, this plant does best in a setting with a relative humidity of 40%.
Relative Humidity is the actual amount of water vapor in the air compared to the total amount of water vapor that could be in the air based on the temperature. Relative Humidity is expressed as a percentage. Warm air can have more water vapor or moisture in the air than cold air.
Relative humidity of 30-40% is typical of what you would find in any home or office that is heated or cooled to about room temperature, or comfortable living conditions. So, as you can see, the snake plant will find an optimal setting in any standard home or office.
Typically, there is more humidity in the air at warmer temperatures. The best range to keep this plant in is 60-75°F/16-24°C.
If your home has fluctuating temperatures (like if you turn the heat down or off when you are not home or when you are asleep and turn it up when you are home), but it will struggle to survive in the extreme cold. It does need some heat and humidity.
How to Measure Humidity in Your Home
If I want to keep this plant in my home, and I know that 40% relative humidity is optimal for its survival, I probably also need to know how to measure humidity in my home!
The easiest way to measure indoor humidity is with a hygrometer. A Hygrometer is simply an instrument used to measure the humidity of the atmosphere.
Most hygrometers measure the temperature and relative humidity. If you do not already own one, they are relatively cheap to pick up. Here is a digital hygrometer that I use in my home.
Here are the normal humidity levels of different parts in home:
|Places Within Home||Normal Humidity Level|
|Bed Room||40% – 50%|
If you would rather not depend on technology or invest any money into a hygrometer you can always use the ice cube test. If you decide to do this test I would do it in the room of the house where the plant will live.
Avoid doing it in the kitchen as vapors from cooking food could alter the results. I would also avoid the bathroom as the bathroom is usually one of the smallest, warmest, and most humid rooms in the house.
Here is how you do the test:
- Take a glass, put water and a few ice cubes in it. Set down.
- Wait 3 – 5 minutes.
- Look at the glass.
- If no moisture has formed on the outside of your glass, the air in your home is too dry.
If water has condensed on the outside of your glass, the relative humidity in your home is too high.
How to Use a Humidity Reader
Although the ice cube test is quick and fun (who doesn’t love an easy science experiment) – you may still be interested in getting a humidity reader. If you want one, you probably also want to know just how to use it!
The good news is using a humidity reader is quite simple, and you will get your reading pretty quickly. Here are the steps you would take to get readings in whatever part of the home or office you would like your plant to live in.
- Find the power button and turn it on. You may need to wait a few seconds to a few minutes as your hygrometer is calibrated for the first time.
- Select what type of reading you are looking for (for instance temperature or humidity.
- Take a reading in the location you want the measurement for.
That is it. You can easily take readings in several spots in your home. In fact, this is something I would suggest especially if you plan to have the plant in direct sunlight sometime, and indirect or no sunlight other times.
You might want to take readings at different times to see what kind of differences exist. For instance, you might want to measure first thing in the morning, peak afternoon, setting sun, and nightfall.
Helping Your Snake Plant Deal With High Humidity
Avoid Excessive Watering
Snake plants are a form of succulents and succulents do not need a lot of water. I know that it can be confusing to understand how much hydration is too much and how much is not enough. Here are a few ideas for you!
- If you are watering your plant-based on a timeline, only water it every couple of days during spring, summer, and fall but in the winter the plant goes into hibernation, and you will only need to water once a month.
- If you live in a tropical or desert climate the humidity will be higher in your home. With a higher humidity count, you will need to water the plant far less. No more than once every week to 10 days.
Place Your Snake Plant Near Windows
If the temperature outside is lower than inside, typically the humidity will be lower outside. You can open the window a few inches to let some cooler air in which will lower the humidity in the house.
What can you do in the warmer months? If you have central air and use it, this will create a cool, dry environment, perfect for your snake plant to thrive in. If you do not have central air you could use a window unit or a portable room unit. You can also open a window, but only at specific times.
Usually, early in the morning and late at night the air will be cooler outside than inside. You can always open the window for a short amount of time to lower the humidity temporarily. Placing your plant near windows, regardless of the season can certainly help with the higher humidity.
Use The Right Type of Soil
In high humid conditions, your snake plant does not need much water since it can not use much water through transpiration. So excellent drainage capacity soil is essential for thriving your snake plant in high humidity.
However, if you have had your plant for a while and are unsure I can certainly help with that! The snake plant does the best in well-draining soil.
Do you have a hands-on approach to your plants and gardening? Instead of buying readymade soil or if you can not find any in your area, you can always make your own.
Making snake plant soil is quite easy – just mix the following: 2 parts sand, 1 part garden soil, and 1 part peat. The reason why this soil is 50% sand is for drainage.
When the window is open you will increase air circulation. Even when the window remains closed, a slight breeze will be created when the temperature fluctuates throughout the day.
Give Your Plants Room To Breathe
Grouping plants together can be beneficial for the plants and look nice, just make sure they are not on top of each other. Plants need a little space for comfort, just like us humans do!
Use a Fan
You can use a floor model or a ceiling fan. A fan will help circulate the air through the room. Do not feel like it needs to be aimed directly at the plant, just close enough, so the air around the plant is not stagnant.
Using Grow Lights
In some instances, it is necessary or easier to use grow lights to help your snake plants along. The problem with this is that the extra heat of these lights can cause additional humidity in your grow room.
If you are utilizing a small room as your grow room you can solve this problem with a dehumidifier. If you have a medium to the large room you may want to use a portable air conditioner. Ventilation and air circulation are a must when using grow lights.
Signs Your Snake Plant Needs More Humidity
If your plant becomes too dry you will see warning signs. You will want to watch out for the following 6 warning signs to make sure your plant remains healthy:
- The Soil Is Dry – While it is true that you do not need to water this plant a lot, the soil should not be bone dry.
- Yellowing of Leaves – When your plant is not getting enough water and humidity, the leaves will begin to yellow.
- Curling of Leaves – There are multiple things that can make the leaves on a snake plant curl – these include low humidity, under watering, low temperature, and lack of light.
- The Leaves are Falling Over – If you see the leaves falling over or dropping, you might need to address humidity and watering issues.
- The Leaves are Beginning To Wrinkle – Besides dropping leaves, they might also start to wrinkle.
- The Tips are Browning – if there is not enough moisture in the air, the tips of the leaves will begin to brown. This is because the moisture content is not high enough to deliver nutrients throughout the plant.
Methods For Improving Humidity Levels
If you have discovered that your humidity level is too low in your home, this does not mean you can not have plants!
All this means is that you will need to find a way to improve the levels of humidity, so your house will be more plant-friendly. Here are some ideas on how to accomplish this.
Grouping Plants Together
Believe it or not, this is a super simple solution for when you need to create more humidity in your house. If you have multiple big leafy plants you can group them together which will result in a process called transpiration.
The plants release moisture through their leaves. When the plants are all grouped closely together, that specific area becomes a lot more humid due to the plants all experiencing transpiration.
Place Your Plants on Gravel Trays
Gravel trays are a way to both help prevent excess water from being trapped inside the pot and increase the humidity. A basic gravel tray is a tray with a thin layer of gravel in which plants are placed on top.
If there is any excess water in the pots, the gravel tray layer can assist with drainage instead of keeping the water trapped. Now the gravel and water will mix together to create additional humidity for the plants to use in their growth and survival.
Use a Humidifier
If you know that you need to raise the humidity level in your home, and you do not want to try things like gravel trays you can always just purchase and use a humidifier. This is a quick and efficient way to raise the humidity level in your home.
Create an Indoor Greenhouse
An indoor greenhouse is certainly a great solution if you are looking to control the humidity levels of all your plants.
However, this can be quite a pricey solution depending on the scope and size of the greenhouse, if permits are needed where you live and whether you are using a prefab version or having one built.
Most greenhouses have a humidity between 50 – 70%, but some are more in the 60 – 80% range which is still an acceptable range to grow plants in.
Misting Your Plants
One final way to boost humidity is simply misting your plants. Misting your plants is a temporary way to raise the humidity level.
You can do it when it is an emergency for the plant to raise the humidity level. I don’t recommend misting plant leaves very often because it can encourage fungal growth.
This article certainly covered a lot of important information regarding snake plants and humidity. There are many ways for you to control the amount of humidity in the air around your plants, which methods you choose to employ are up to you. Here are some key takeaways to think about:
- Snake Plants do well in relative humidity (40% – average room temperature).
- There are ways to counteract high humidity such as using the right soil, placing near windows, and utilizing proper airflow.
- This is an easy plant to grow and care for. As long as you are watching the health of the plant, you should be able to save it if a problem ever arises.