Spider plants can be a little picky about the humidity they live in. Whenever I look at my spider plants that are sitting in my living room window, I know they are living in the humidity that they grow in best.
These gorgeous lush plants can be a low-maintenance addition to any home. But how do you know if the humidity around your spider plants is enough? Keep reading to find out!
Spider plants love humidity. While these plants can be forgiving in low humidities, they do their best in nice humid environments. Dry air will cause the leaves of the spider plant to turn brown curl. An occasional light misting will keep the air around your spider plants humid enough to grow lush beautiful plants.
How Much Humidity Does Spider Plants Need?
Spider plants do fine in low humidity but will thrive in higher humidities. Ideally, you want to keep the humidity around your plants around 40%-60%.
Most homes sit around 30% to 40%, and this may be fine but keep an eye on your plants. They may not thrive in this lower range and will be slow growers.
If the humidity in your house drops below 30%, you will start to see signs that your plants are drying out.
How Does Humidity Affect Spider Plants?
In essence, humidity is what helps a plant “breathe”. Plant leaves have tiny openings in them called stomata. During photosynthesis, the stomata open and close to let carbon dioxide in, and let oxygen out.
When the air is dry and has low humidity, this air exchange will quickly suck the moisture from the plants and dry them out. When there is high humidity, the water in the air keeps plant tissues from losing too much water.
Like most plants, if you have good humidity then they will grow quickly into healthy lush plants. If you do have humidity problems, however, it is more likely that your humidity is too low, rather than too high. Thankfully there are very clear signs when your spider plant needs more (or less) humidity.
When the air is too dry, or low humidity, in other words, the tips of the spider plant’s leaves will dry and turn brown. There is nothing you can do to save the leaves once they turn brown, so just pluck them off. Don’t worry though, since the rest of your plant will still be fine.
It is very difficult to create an environment with too much humidity for a spider plant. On the off chance, there is too much humidity, there are a couple of ways the spider plant will react.
As high humidity would make it difficult for excess water to evaporate away, the greatest threat is stress from overwatering. Symptoms of overwatering include:
- Root rot.
- The leaves turn black.
- Higher chances of disease spread such as powdery mildew.
Signs Your Spider Plants Need More Humidity
The easiest way to know that your spider plant needs more humidity is by the leaves. In a dry environment or low humidity, there are a few ways to tell the plant needs more moisture:
- The leaves will dry out and turn brown. The brown tips will have an almost crispy texture. When this happens, there is nothing else that can be done but remove the dry leaves and let new ones take their place.
- As leaves dry, they will curl. This is most prominent at the tips of the leaves.
- If the humidity is low due to excessive sunlight, the leaves will scorch.
- When there isn’t enough water in the plant to support the plant tissues, the leaves will droop and the plant will appear wilted.
Signs Your Spider Plant Has Too Much Humidity
Spider plants are sensitive to too much water more than anything else. With high humidity, any excess water won’t be able to evaporate away and will create similar stress as overwatering.
While it’s generally accepted that plants need water, they also need air. Overwatered spider plants are basically drowning.
The ways you can tell your plant is experiencing too high humidity include:
- The most common cause of water stress is the leaves turn black.
- Excess water makes the plant a breeding ground for fungal infection.
- Moisture will encourage mold to grow on the soil or plant.
How To Measure Humidity in Your Home
There are several ways to measure the humidity in your home. The simplest method is to simply purchase a humidity meter, also known as a hygrometer.
A basic hygrometer can be found at most hardware stores or anywhere plant supplies are sold at a fairly low price.
If you don’t have a hygrometer on hand and still want to test the humidity, there is a method known as the ice cube method.
- Place four or five ice cubes in a glass of water and leave the glass in whatever room you want to test the humidity.
- Walk away for five to ten minutes.
- When you come back, touch the glass. If there is very little condensation, then the humidity is too low in that room. If there are excessive amounts of condensation, then the humidity is rather high.
How To Use a Humidity Meter
A humidity meter is very simple to use and is a powerful tool for creating the perfect environment for your plants.
Simple electronic hygrometers will have a small screen to show you at least the humidity level, and the temperature. More complicated hygrometers will show a variety of other readings that may include a humidity range or a comfort level.
An electric hygrometer will do all the work for you. When you set it up for the first time, it is generally recommended to keep the hygrometer about a meter off the ground, such as on a table or shelf. Allow the hygrometer to work for at least three minutes before you try and take a reading from it.
The meter will need that long to properly detect the temperature of the room and calculate the humidity.
It is important to note that there will be different humidity levels within even the same room. For a truly accurate reading, consider taking a humidity reading in several spots around the room and take the average of those readings.
Helping Spider Plants Deal With High Humidity
While it is difficult to expose a spider plant to humidity that’s too high, it’s not impossible. Thankfully there are plenty of ways you can help your spider plants if they find themselves in this situation.
The number one way to create an environment too wet for your spider plants is to give it too much water. This problem only gets worse in high humidity when the excess water can’t evaporate away. It’s best to let your spider plant mostly dry out between waterings.
Avoid Watering The Leaves
Connected to the previous point, take care to add water directly to the soil rather than pouring water all over the spider plant leaves. Excess water sitting on the leaves creates a perfect environment for fungal infections to develop.
Improve Air Circulation
Adding something like a fan or opening a window can help the air in a humid room move around and for the humidity to go down. This will let excess water evaporate away from the plant.
Place Your Spider Plants Near The Windows
It’s no secret that plants love the sun. Placing your plants near a window will not only give them plenty of sunlight, but the heat can help dry up that excess moisture.
A word of caution, however, spider plant leaves will scorch in too much sunlight. If you notice this happening, remove the burned leaves and move the spider plant back from the window a bit more.
If you don’t have access to good sunlight, then a grow light could be an excellent alternative. However, take care when choosing a grow light.
Spider plant leaves will scorch in too much direct sunlight so you may want a grow light with lower intensity or do not put the spider plant directly under it.
Use The Right Type of Soil
Different plants have different requirements for soil. Spider plants do well in general-purpose potting soil. This type of soil will hold the water the plant needs while letting any excess drain away.
Use The Right Pot
No matter what pot you choose for your spider plant, it needs to have proper drainage out the bottom to prevent excess water sitting around the roots.
Additionally, spider plants grow very quickly in the right environment and will become root-bound when you’re not paying attention.
Methods For Improving Humidity Levels
There are several ways to improve the humidity around your spider plant that will keep it from getting too dry.
Often all a spider plant needs is a simple misting of water to bring the humidity up. But there is a risk of misting the leaves, it attracts fungal growth if the temperature is high.
Keeping several plants together rather than having a single spider plant by itself will slow the amount of water that’s being evaporated away.
Think of how much cooler a forest feels as opposed to a single tree in an empty field. Together the grouping of plants creates an artificial microclimate.
Since photosynthesis naturally releases water into the air, together the plants will raise the shared humidity around them.
Pebble trays or gravel trays are a low-tech way to increase humidity. It’s simply a low tray filled with gravel or pebbles and water.
The spider plant pot can sit right on top of the pebbles and as the water evaporates the plant will benefit from the added moisture in the air. It also can double as a drip tray for when you water your spider plant.
If you need a lot of extra humidity, then a humidifier is the way to go. Simply put, a humidifier adds moisture to the air.
There are several different types of indoor greenhouses but most are shelves covered surrounded by clear walls. The shelves themselves can be made from wood, plastic, or metal.
The covering can be a plastic tent or have glass sides. An indoor greenhouse can create an environment that traps warm humid air inside. This combined with something like a gravel tray can create a rainforest-like environment.
Humidity is a strong factor in how healthy your plants will be. Thankfully when it comes to spider plants, this is an easy factor to manage.
With the help of a humidity meter, you can monitor the environment that your spider plants are living in to make sure they are living their happiest and healthiest life.
The main takeaway is don’t let your spider plants stay in low humidity. Keep the air nice and humid for them and they will thrive.
Depending on your home, no set method may work for you. You should experiment with your spider plants and find a way to provide them with the best humidity in your home.