A common question I get is, “do philodendrons like humidity?”
Of course, this has to do with the popularity of philodendrons as houseplants.
And I’d always tell them that yes, philodendrons love humidity. So, as much as possible, it is a good idea to keep it in a humid environment.
That said, the plant can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels. But you want to avoid too much or too low humidity because these negatively affect is growth.
For the most part, the problem usually has to do with lack of humidity.
Do philodendrons like humidity? Ideally humidity for philodendron is 60% to 75%. But it will tolerate average root humidity.
So, as long as the humidity in your home is not too low, there won’t be a problem. But for optimal growth, try to maintain humidity of at least 40% and higher indoors.
Note that different philodendron species have varying humidity thresholds. This means some are more tolerant of lower humidity that others.
How does Humidity Affect the Philodendron?
Humidity is a very important part of the philodendrons health and growth. It needs the right humidity for all the processes to work consistently.
As such, balance is very important.
When there is optimal humidity, the plant is able to absorb moisture through the roots. This also lets it take it nutrients from the soil.
Both moisture and nutrients are important to keep the philodendron (and all plants for that matter healthy).
On average, plants are 90% water. Additionally, they need nutrients to grow otherwise you’ll see deficiencies and stunted growth.
So, with proper humidity, the water and nutrients are able to move from the roots and distributed throughout the entire plant.
Water is the main medium of transport which is why both proper watering and humidity is necessary. And without it, the plant will wilt due to lack of moisture and water pressure. At the same time, nutrients are not able to reach the leaves.
Once the moisture reaches the leaves, any excess is released through the pores on the undersides of the leaves called stomata.
This lets the plant regulate the amount of water it has which also helps maintain proper internal temperature of the plant.
Unfortunately, too much or too little humidity can mess up this forever repeating cycle.
If there’s too little humidity, the plant will get stressed. The rate of transpiration also increases which makes the plant lose more moisture and struggle to take in enough nutrients.
This is why you’ll notice leaf tips and edges turn brown.
If the condition persists, the browning will spread as the leaves become dry and crispy as well.
On the other hand, if there is too much humidity, the plant will hold too much moisture as its respiration rate decreases.
The excess moisture makes the environment conducive to mold and other fungal infections.
This is why you see the leaves experience different kinds of diseases.
Do Philodendrons Like Humidity?
Yes, philodendrons are native the tropical Americas. As such, they are used to moderate to warm climates that have humidity.
These are the most common features of the tropics.
As such, humidity usually stays between 60% and 75% on an average day.
It gets a bit drier during the hottest time of summer. And this is where humidity can drop to about 47% or so. But it won’t go much lower than that for the entire year.
On the other hand, during the rainy days, humidity can likewise shoot up to between 85% to 92%.
In addition to the prevailing weather conditions in its native region, most philodendrons are also found in the rainforests.
Thus, they experience rain several times a day.
This makes the environment very humidity which is why philodendron plants are used to high humidity.
And it is also why they tend to grow best when you give them the humidity they want.
How Much Humidity Does the Philodendron Need?
Ideally, Philodendron enjoy humidity between 65% and 80%. The is a good range to maintain indoors if you want the plant to grow optimally.
The benefit of giving the plant ideal humidity conditions it is will grow faster, produce more leaves and the leaves will also be bigger.
Additionally, its foliage will have more vibrancy and luster.
While the plant is not known for its flowers, good humidity will also allow it to bloom better.
That said, the philodendrons are very adaptable.
This is what makes them a favorite among houseplants. Of course, many people also like them for their unique exotic looks and beauty.
In general, philodendrons will do well as long as humidity stays at 40%.
This is a good range to try to shoot for indoors. Although, depending on where you live, it may or may not be that easy.
That said, like other genus, different philodendron species can tolerate varying levels of humidity.
There are some that need a bit higher humidity so their tolerate only reaches 50%. Below that, you’ll see then struggle.
On the other hand, some are hardier.
And they can tolerate humidity down to 25%.
Again, this varies as I’ve seen many that have a hard time going below 30%, while some will experience brown leave edges and tips below 35%.
This is why I like to set the lower limit at 40%. It keeps you safe.
The problem is, once leaves turn brown, they won’t turn green again. So, you need to remove the affected areas.
This would be a waste for such gorgeous foliage.
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How to Measure Humidity in Your Home (Indoors)
Whether or not you need to monitor humidity in your home varies on where you live.
If you live somewhere with good humidity, then you don’t need to bother with this.
For example, if where you live has tropical, subtropical or Mediterranean climate, then humidity won’t be an issue because it is naturally high.
Similarly, if you live in a coastal city or anywhere near a beach, sea, ocean or even a lake, the presence of a large body of water will keep humidity up.
This is likewise true if you keep the plant in a greenhouse.
However, if you live in a desert state like New Mexico, Arizona or Nevada, it is a good idea to keep tabs on humidity.
Similarly, if you live somewhere with very hot, dry summers or cold winters, keeping an eye of humidity helps a lot. That’s because both seasons tend to cause moisture in the air to drop quite a bit.
That said, the best way to measure humidity in your home or any indoor environment is to use a hygrometer.
There are many different styles.
I like to use the digital ones that are portable. This way, you can move them around the house and they will show you the humidity in large digital numbers in the screen.
These digits are real-time.
So, the will change are the humidity changes. Similarly, you’ll notice the figures change as you move through different rooms in your home.
Of course, because hygrometers are very cheap today, I know some people who have several in their homes. Some also like to use standalone hygrometers or wall-mounted ones.
So, it is really up to you.
Ways to Increase Humidity
Now that you know philodendrons like humidity and that the prefer humidity between 65% and 80%, it is time to learn about ways to increase humidity indoors.
This is important because most homes average between 30% to 50% humidity.
As such, depending on where you live, you may or may not need to do this.
However, if where you live has humidity in the lower end of that range or even below the average range, then these methods will come in very handy.
But before I start with this section, I’d like to point out a few important things.
One, you don’t need to increase humidity in your entire home.
In fact, I don’t recommend it. Maintaining very high humidity indoors can increase the risk of mold and mess up the fixtures or wood in your house.
Similarly, to keep your philodendron happy, there’s no need to maintain high humidity in the entire room the plant is in.
Instead, all you need is to keep humidity up around the plant.
As long as the moisture in the air surrounding your philodendrons is high enough, it will grow optimally.
This makes it easier since you only need to maintain the humidity level in a limited amount of space.
Group Your Indoor Plants Together
One of the simplest ways to increase humidity around your plants is to group them together.
Note that this method only works if you have several plants.
It also helps if you have larger plants. But in general, multiple plants is needed to make this method work.
That’s because plants transpire releasing excess moisture from the pores on their leaves.
When this moisture evaporates into the air it increases humidity surrounding the plants.
Thus, the more plants you have, the more moisture is released via transpiration.
Make a Pebble Tray
Using a pebble tray is one of my favorite ways to increase humidity for plants, including the philodendron.
However, this can get tricky as your plant gets bigger.
Of course, this depends on the size of the philodendron species you own.
That said, pebble trays are very simple to create yourself. And they are very low maintenance. Here’s how to make one.
Get a tray that can fit the pot of your philodendron. Make sure that the tray is big enough and sturdy enough to hold the weight of the plant, the pot and the wet soil.
Then fill the tray with pebbles or rocks.
You want to pile them up evenly a few inches high. Make sure the top or surface of the pebbles are flat.
Place the pot on top of the pebbles. The key is to keep the plant balanced.
Then fill the tray with water. But only half the height of the stack of pebbles. This way, the water never touches the bottom of the pot.
As the water evaporates, it increases humidity around the plant.
And you only need to add water when it gets depleted.
Create a Humidity Tray
If you prefer, you can likewise create a humidity tray instead of a pebble tray. This DIY device works just the same way in concept.
Although, it uses a different setup.
Note that there are humidity trays for sale as well online. So, if you prefer to just buy one, then you can do so.
That said, if you purchase one, I highly suggest getting one that will be able to hold the plant you own once it reaches its mature size.
That way, you don’t need to keep buying a bigger one as your philodendron grows.
In any case, here’s how to create your own humidity tray at home.
Get a tray that’s large enough to hold the philodendron. Then top the tray off with a grate.
Ideally, use a grate with large holes to allow the water to easily evaporate.
You can use a tray and grate from an old BBQ grill if you wish.
The key is that the grate and tray can hold the weight and size of the plant. Balance is important so the pot or plant won’t tip over.
Then place the philodendron on the grate and water the tray through the holes on the grate.
Again, the concept here is that once the water evaporates, the humidity around the plant increases.
Get a Humidifier
A humidifier is the most straightforward way to increase humidity around your plant.
However, unlike the other options in this list, it is not free.
So, you do need to spend some money.
Another thing worth considering is how many plants do you have that need extra humidity.
Not all plants will need the added humidity. But for those that do, you’ll want to be able to get a humidifier that has enough capacity.
The higher the capacity (coverage) of the humidifier, the more expensive it will be.
Another thing worth noting is that there are cool mist and warm mist humidifiers.
For your plants, either works. And it does not matter which one you get.
The reason is that the change in temperature is very negligible for the plant. So, it won’t affect them. Thus, there is no difference in terms of cold and warm mist.
That said, most humidifiers are warm mist.
This means you’ll have more options to choose from.
But, in terms of electricity usage over the long term, a cool mist humidifier is more cost effective.
Mist Your Philodendron
Of course, you can likewise manually mist the plant yourself to increase humidity.
This method requires more effort and time on your part.
And the lower the humidity in your home, the more frequently you’ll need to mist the plant.
This is why I’m not a huge fan of misting. There are lots of downsides.
One is you need to do it a few times a week. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a week will work. But other times, it can be every day.
The effects are also temporary.
Once the vapor is gone, then the humidity will start dropping again.
But the biggest issue I have with misting is that you can accidentally cause fungal infections like mold or leaf spot disease on your philodendron.
That’s because if you mist too much and allow the leaves to stay wet, it can increase the risk of pathogen growth.
Moist, damp conditions are conducive to disease.
So, avoid any excess wetness on the leaves or leaving water spots when you mist the plant.
If you accidentally mist a bit too much, use a paper towel to pat down and dry the leaves.