When we talk about care guides for plants, we often overlook humidity as one of the factors. And that’s where many of us falter. If a plant doesn’t get enough humidity, it panics and fails to open stomata, the small pores found in stems, leaves, and other parts that allow water vapor and gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide to diffuse out. This slows down the process of transpiration, thereby affecting the overall wellbeing of the plant.
Pothos is a tropical plant and needs at least 50% humidity to thrive as a humid environment helps it photosynthesize effectively. Since pothos plants are quite robust, they withstand even low levels of humidity and do not show immediate damaging signs. But if the humidity is too low, the leaves start drooping and browning. So how can you increase the humidity levels for your pothos plants? In this article, we will share some tips to help you increase humidity for your pothos plant. Stay tuned!
What Is The Ideal Temperature For Pothos Plant?
The ideal temperature for pothos plants is 65 to 85°F or 18-30°C and it should always be kept at a temperature above 50°F. As for the humidity, they are at their best when the humidity level is between 50-70%. They can sustain themselves in as high as 85%. However, excess levels of humidity can lead to mold and fungal diseases in the pothos plant. Apart from that, the leaves and stems also develop brown spots. And in extreme cases, excess levels of humidity can lead to root rot, which can prove fatal for your plant.
How Does Humidity Affect Pothos Plant?
Humidity is the amount of vapor that the air can hold. Most people are under the assumption that higher temperatures will release more moisture into the air. But that’s not the case at all. Humidity has been found to be low in high-temperature places as well. That’s because there should be both heat and moisture for humidity to form. So if you want your pothos plant to flourish, ensure that there is a combination of both moisture and heat.
How To Measure Humidity In Your House For Plants?
The humidity of a plant depends on a lot of factors such as heating, weather, and soil conditions. So the best way for you to measure air humidity is by using a hygrometer. These inexpensive little instruments can tell you the room temperature and humidity level in no time. Just ensure that you are taking the temperature of the area near your plants, not just of the room in which you’ve placed it. We personally prefer this Bluetooth Hygrometer Thermometer by Govee. Even you can give it a try.
Signs That Pothos Need More Humidity:
Don’t have a hygrometer? No issue. Below we’ll discuss signs that reflect a lack of humidity in pothos plants.
When the plant is suffering from low humidity, it starts drooping and losing its leaves. That’s because water present in pothos leaves evaporate faster when the air is humid.
Dry Surface Of The Soil:
Dry spots on the soil are a sign that your plant is in need of moisture. Not just the soil, but even the leaves get sunburnt due to lack of humidity.
Curling Of Pothos Plant Leaves:
Pothos plant leaves tend to curl when the air surrounding them is dry. That’s because the water evaporates from the leaves, leaving them thin and curly.
Pothos Leaves Turn Brown:
When the pothos plant is suffering from a lack of humidity, it starts getting dry patches on the leaves, which turns them brown and weak. This usually starts with yellow and then browns the tips of the leaves. The leaves then take a complete brown color and drop off.
Please note that pothos plants are very forgiving, so you won’t notice any such signs and symptoms even if they are experiencing a lack of humidity. Moreover, these signs are not exclusive to this condition. Hence, your best bet would be to check with a hygrometer.
How To Increase Humidity For Your Pothos Plant?
There are a plethora of ways to increase the humidity level for your pothos plants, ranging from simple DIYs to high-tech machines. Below we have discussed the best ways to increase humidity around pothos plants.
Grouping Of Plants:
The simplest way to increase the humidity level around your pothos is by placing it with several plants. The transpiration of all the plants will increase the humidity in the air, thereby creating a mini-microclimate. If you don’t believe me, you can compare it yourself using a hygrometer. And there’s no harm as well. Just ensure that all the plants are free of pests and fungi.
Another easy way to ensure steady levels of humidity is by placing a water or moisture source near the plant. An aquarium or just a water bowl can do the job. There’s a better method as well. Take a deep dish that can hold water hold both water and your plant. Fill the dish with pebbles or rocks and add some water to it. You need to make sure that the pebbles sit slightly above the water. This way the roots of the plant will be able to mingle with the air particles and get the required moisturization. Keep checking regularly and refill the dish if needed.
The best way to increase humidity for your pothos plant is by placing a humidifier in the room where you’ve kept it. Humidifiers are designed to add moisture to the air, which helps plants absorb it better. Humidifiers come with an inbuilt thermostat and hygrometer. All you need to do is set them and they will operate when the humidity level starts dropping. We found a highly acclaimed humidifier for you. You can buy this excellent humidifier by LEVOIT from amazon.com
There are some conflicting views when it comes to misting plants. Some experts believe that misting does nothing for plants, especially when the environment is too humid. Moreover, there is also a risk of pest infestation that results due to the leaves being too wet. Even the plant returns to its former condition as soon as it dries up.
Others are of the view that misting is essential, especially on tropical plants. It mimics the natural environment of the tropical plants, such as pothos, and makes them look fuller. The best choice for you would be to mist but not go overboard with it. And ensure that the misters have fine spray so that water droplets do not sit on for long on the leaves.
Here’s a plant mister with raving reviews that you can consider buying from Amazon.
The indoor greenhouse is another excellent way to humidify your plants indoors. These are basically terrariums that keep plants in enclosed glass walls or plastic wall space. Confined spaces make it a lot easier to maintain the level of humidity for plants. You can even create a DIY terrarium by putting a clear plastic bag around your plant. Take a look at this indoor greenhouse from amazon.com
Moss pole can also be used to create extra humidity for your pothos plant at home. Moss pole absorbs and retains water and then slowly evaporates to increase the relative humidity around the plant.
Proper placement can go a long way in ensuring a steady humidity level for your pothos plant. Put the plant in places where they can get natural humidification, such as doorways or windows, but not on the windowsill. Pothos cannot take too much direct sunlight. You can even keep your potted pothos in the bathroom while taking a shower. This is one of the best ways for your pothos to get natural humidity indoors.
How To Help Pothos Plant Deal With High Humidity?
In some cases, you may end up providing excess levels of humidity to your pothos, even above the required levels. If you have a hygrometer, you can easily check the humidity level. But how will you deal with high humidity? We’ll tell you how to combat excess humidity surrounding your pothos.
First things first, stop overwatering your pothos. Excess watering will build up moisture in the potting, with water droplets evaporating into the surrounding atmosphere. This will increase the humidity as well. So the best way to avoid and reverse this problem is by following the correct watering routine. Pothos can tolerate low water levels, so let it dry completely before watering. Poke your finger in the soil. If the top two inches of the soil feel dry, you can water your plant. If dryness has reached lower levels of soil, you can try soaking your pothos in water. Just make sure that you let it drain completely before placing it back into the pot.
Avoid Adding Too Much Moisture To The Soil:
While planting your pothos plant, use a good quality compost with proper drainage. Materials like peat or coconut husk hold too much moisture, which can lead to high humidity. To increase drainage of compost, mix 20-30% grit or perlite into the potting mix before planting. Avoid using bigger pots for pothos as they like living in a tight spot. A pot that’s two inches larger than the plant would be more than enough.
Lack of air circulation could also increase humidity levels around your pothos. So never place pothos in a packed room. Keep some windows or doors open to bring down the humidity level and increase air circulation. Even a few hours of proper airflow can do a great deal of benefits to your pothos.
Use Grow Lights:
Another way to reduce humidity is by using grow light. These artificial lights are great at replicating sunlight. They increase evaporation and extend the growing time with every passing day. Grow lights come in handy in places where days are shorter. While picking grows lights, pick those that you can aim directly at your plants. And do not go overboard with these lights. Just a few hours of it is more than enough, especially for pothos that likes being cloaked in the darkness.
This grow light from amazon.com looks excellent. Check it out.
Pothos are quite hardy houseplants and can grow well in low humid areas as well. That shows how adaptable this plant is. So unless and until you live in an excessively dry region or if your pothos has started showing signs of low humidity, we would suggest you leave it alone. If required, you can try the time-tested methods of gravel tray and clustering of plants. Hopefully, it will solve the problem. Remember, pothos may be an easy-to-grow plant, but do not take them for granted. A little effort towards them will help them flourish and grow in no time.
Source: Evapotranspiration and the Water Cycle
Aiza Siddiqui is one of the content providers in Gardener’s Toolbox. From a very young age, Aiza has been passionate about gardening, which explains her choice of major in studies. She holds a BSc Degree in Botany from the University of Calcutta. Aiza is a green thumb through and through and owns more than 100 different types of plants. Every article that she contributes to Gardener’s Toolbox is written by doing extensive research and from her own experience with planting and gardening. Hoping that you will find her articles on different houseplants helpful.