Spraying a houseplant

How to raise humidity for houseplants

Take a look at some of the ways you can raise the humidity indoors, for houseplants.

Many of our popular house plants originate in tropical regions, so they like warmth (usually above 7°C) and humidity.

However, in winter, when we turn on the heating, the air in our homes often gets very dry, and this can cause their leaves to turn brown or shrivel, especially around the edges and tips. This lack of humidity also encourages infestations of red spider mite, which feed on sap, leaving yellow mottling on the leaves and weakening the plant.

Most indoor plants suffer in dry air, but species with thin leaves are at greatest risk. If you grow indoor ferns such as the maidenhair fern (Adiantum raddianum), palms such as Chamaedorea elegans, or prayer plants (Calathea, Maranta), then check them regularly over winter and follow our tips to keep them healthy.

Discover how to raise humidity for houseplants, below. 


Avoid hot spots and draughts

Don’t stand house plants near radiators and other heat sources. Not only will any leaves that touch a heater get scorched, but humidity will also be at its lowest. If you have underfloor heating, raise large plants off the ground and onto a small table or plant stand. Don’t place plants near doorways or corridors, as draughts lower humidity.

Spray with water

The easiest way to increase air humidity is to spray plants with a fine mist of water. Try to use rainwater, which doesn’t contain chemicals or lime, and make sure it’s tepid before spraying. It’s best to move plants to a sink or bath when misting them, as moisture can damage wooden furniture and soft furnishings.

Stand plants on gravel

If you stand plants in a gravel tray, this creates a damp microclimate and, as the water evaporates, the humidity increases. Choose a large tray or shallow ceramic bowl, add a layer of gravel and stand the plants on top. Water it to keep the gravel moist, but not so much that you can see the water, then top it up regularly.

Use the bathroom

Hot showers and steaming baths create a naturally humid environment in the bathroom, making it the ideal location for growing the more delicate exotic plants. Consider moving ferns and other plants into the bathroom, especially during the winter, and they should thrive without the need for supplementary misting.

Grow under glass

For delicate plants you want to protect over winter, consider putting them in a terrarium. These glass containers trap moisture, forming a humid environment. Use a second-hand aquarium, or a large glass jar with a lid for smaller plants. Water once when the plant goes in, and you shouldn’t need to water again for several months.

Feature by Dr Ross Bayton

Hot showers and steaming baths create a naturally humid environment in the bathroom.


Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Cacti and succulent terrarium

Is dehumidifier water OK for houseplants?

How to plant up an indoor hanging basket

Related offers


Heather offer

Save on heathers

Inject some colour into your winter and spring planting schemes with this beautiful collection of hardy heathers from only £2.55 per plant. These ericaceous plants make brilliant weed-suppressing ground cover and look fantastic with spring bulbs. Order now and your plants will be despatched from February 2018.

Order now


Subscriber only content Save on in-the-green collection

Save £46 on spring bulbs in-the-green

Buy a mixed collection of 200 bulbs in-the-green and receive 50 free Anemone blanda bulbs worth £12. Collection includes English bluebells, single and double snowdrops and winter aconites.

Unlock now


Save 10 per cent

Save 10% on beautiful viburnums

Viburnums bring sweet scent and a welcome splash of colour to winter gardens. Save 10 per cent on selected varieties at Thompson & Morgan starting from £9.99. Includes Viburnum opulus, the guelder rose, which bears vibrant berries in winter and beautiful white blooms in early summer.

Order now