Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by Grow with Bovees
As a fellow plant lover, I am sure that you have heard of ‘misting’ your plants.
It is said that houseplants love to be misted, especially the tropical kind. But is it actually beneficial to your beloved greens or is it just a myth?
If you are a newbie plant mom or plant parent and not familiar with the term misting, misting plants is a way of increasing the humidity level that surrounds your plant temporarily by simply using a spray bottle to spray tiny water droplets onto your shrubs.
In this article I shall provide you with a complete care guide on how and when to mist your precious indoor plants.
A Care Guide to Misting Houseplants
Misting your indoor plants is, in fact, quite beneficial to their health and growth, and is especially good for those plants that come from tropical regions — which, in all honesty, includes most indoor plants.
Misting plants should be made a part of your regular plant care routine as it provides extra humidity for shrubs and aids in not overwatering them.
It is an efficient method to maintain the air moisture and boost humidity during the dry winter months.
You could look at it in this way, just like outdoor gardens and plants enjoy and benefit from rain, your indoor greens will appreciate the occasional misting.
To mist plants, in itself, is quite a simple task, but like with most care procedures in the world of cultivation, misting can also have its downsides.
There is a wrong and a right way to mist plants and then there are those plants that should not be misted at all.
Misting Plants and Humidity
It is a true fact that misting houseplants raises the humidity around the plant, it does not do so for the entire room.
The increased humidity levels achieved by misting, however, do not last long and are more temporary than one might think and will probably not last the entire day.
But, there are a few tricks that you can do that will help the surrounding moisture to last longer.
Grouping Tropical Plants
Placing your shrubs together in groups and then misting them, will result in the plants creating their own microclimate, which in turn will increase the time that humidity will remain around the plant group.
It will also have a greater impact on your plants. Be sure to leave enough space between the pots so as not to cut off the air circulation around them.
Pebble Tray Trick
Placing a tray filled with pebbles and water underneath your plant pot also aids in adding humidity. This happens when the water starts condensing from the pebble tray into the surrounding atmosphere.
Not only do pebble trays increase the humidity levels, but it also happens to add a lovely aesthetic look to your plant’s pot.
Put Your Indoor Plants Into the Bathroom
The bathroom is a great room to place moisture-loving plants. Misting them along with the regular steam they get from the shower or bathtub will definitely keep their surroundings humid for longer.
Also, misting plants that live in the bathroom is less stressful as you do not have surrounding furniture that can be damaged by the spray.
Placing a spray bottle onto your table of plants, also adds to the aesthetic look and seeing it stand there when you pass by the table, will act as a reminder to mist your plants before humidity levels drop too low.
In the natural habitat of most tropical plants, the shrubs are, on average, surrounded by 88% humidity. It is, however, not feasible to mimic this level of humidity in your home as it may result in the growth of fungus and mold, which in turn can be damaging to your plants and to your health.
Try to, however, maintain a relative humidity of about 40%, this should be enough humidity and your plants will thrive and be happy.
Misting and Dusty Foliage
Similarly to dust settling on counters and other things in your house, so it also settles on your green friends leaves. This layer of dust makes it quite difficult for the plant to photosynthesize.
My point being, misting plants is not only great for adding moisture to the air, but it also helps rid your plants green foliage of dust particles, and maintain shiny leaves.
Misting and Plant Hydration/Cooling
During summer, when temperatures are hot, misting becomes even more important as it provides a cooling factor for your plants due to water evaporating from the leaf surface.
This cooling effect takes place when the mist on your plants leaves turns into vapor. This phenomenon happens when the water molecules receive energy — heat — which is drawn in from the leaves surface, creating a cooling effect as it starts to evaporate.
This results in the entire plant being cooled off via the fluids in the phloem and xylem moving through the shrub.
Misting the Soil
Misting the soil that the plant is in, will not necessarily supply any more water to the plant via the roots, but the slow evaporation of the water from the soil, will add to the time that the air surrounding the plant will carry more humidity.
Frequency of Plant Misting
The amount of times you should mist your plants, will depend on the individual needs of your plant friends. If you are growing tropical plants, which are fond of high humidity levels, misting them daily will be of great benefit to them. If, however, you have houseplants that thrive well at medium or low moisture levels, spraying them once every other day would suffice.
In order for the water to effectively evaporate into the air, make a habit of lightly spraying your plants using spray bottles in the morning hours of your day.
Avoid misting your plant straight after giving it water. Wait a day or two, or else there might be too much moisture in the air.
Plants That Enjoy Being Misted
Most plants enjoy a bit of gentle misting.
Here is a list of household plants that not only benefit from being misted, but they also enjoy.
- Zebra plant
- Air plant
- Banana plant
- Spider plant
- Nerve plant
- Peace lily
- Monstera plant
- Philodendrons and Pothos
- Fiddle leaf fig tree (Ficus lyrata)
- Norfolk island pine
- Arrowhead plant
- Indoor palms
Which Plants Not To Mist
If you are a keeper of plants that grow fuzzy leaves or hairy leaves — such as African violets — be sure to avoid misting them. It could potentially damage their foliage as there would be water sitting on the plants leaves.
This causes them to get water stains due to water being trapped underneath the fuzz, which ultimately causes the leaves to start rotting.
Continue on for some examples of plants that should not be misted:
- Green goddess (Echeveria)
- Bear paw jade plant
- Piggyback plant
- African violet plant
- Namaqua crassula
- ZZ plant
Succulents should not be misted because they have the habit of storing moisture in their stems and leaves.
Spraying them would cause them to sit in water, which eventually could lead to root rot.
Is Over Misting Possible?
It is — although not easy — possible to mist your plant too much. In the same way that you can drown your shrubs by means of overwatering, you can also over mist them, causing them to rot.
Over misting also tends to attract pests and makes great grounds for the growth of fungus and mold on pots and plants.
Continue on for some tips on how to correctly mist your plants.
- When spraying plants, be sure that the droplets cover the entire leaves — the top part and the undersides.
- Plants that are being misted frequently should be kept away from air vents and cool drafts.
- As mentioned above, mornings — between the hours of 7 and 9 — is the best time to start misting your shrubs as this gives the water time to evaporate during the day.
- Always identify your plants misting needs in terms of frequency before you start spraying your plants.
- Rain water is the best water to use, but if this is not possible, tap water works as well. As a rule of thumb, be sure to let it sit uncovered for 24 hours before using it. The water should always be tepid water or at room temperature.
- Do not mist your plants if you can see signs of your previous misting on your plants leaves.
- If your houseplant’s leaf edges start to become crispy, it is definitely time to spray your plant again.
- Adjust spraying your shrubs according to the weather and climate. If it is dry and hot, mist more frequently. During the winter, misting does not need to happen as often.
Is It OK To Mist Plants at Night?
It is not okay to mist your plants at night. It is just not the time to mist.
During the night, the water is unable to evaporate from the leaves, which means that the shrub is basically sitting under a pile of water.
This makes the plant more susceptible to the spread of bacteria and fungi, and it also increases its risk of suffering from root rot.
Which Nozzle Setting To Use
Different plants enjoy different levels of misting.
By different levels of misting, I am referring to spraying your plants in such a way, that only fine mist rests on their leaves or spraying them with bigger droplets in order to thoroughly dampen the leaves.
The sizes of droplets coming from the spray bottle can usually be adjusted by turning the nozzle of the container.
If you are using spray bottles that do not have an adjustable nozzle, stand further away from your plants to get finer mist or closer for bigger droplets.
If your tropical indoor plants start developing brown edges around the leaves or if they start to curl, take it as a sign that they are lacking moisture and humidity levels are too low.
Increase humidity levels to fix the problem before it becomes unfixable.
Misting vs Humidifying
Misting your indoor shrubs is a great method to adapt if you want to prevent your houseplants from drying out.
If, however, your house has a generally dry atmosphere — this could be caused by heating vents or air conditioners — misting alone will not last long. In this case, it is a good idea to purchase a small plant humidifier.
Although humidifiers come at a bit of a cost, they are great if you want to create a more humid environment in a room of your choosing. Closely mimicking the natural environments of your beloved tropical plants.
Be sure not to keep the device running throughout the entire day as this may be damaging to surrounding furniture or walls, encouraging the growth of mold.
This brings me to the end of this care guide for when and how to gently mist indoor plants.
As you can see, there is not a lot to the process of raising levels of humidity, but there are, however, a few things that need to be considered in order to maintain the healthy growth of your indoor plants.
Try to come up with a regular misting schedule. This way, your plants will thrive and be happy, even though they are not living in their tropical natural habitat any longer.
When you mist your houseplants, keep them away from air conditioning and heat vents. Be careful of over watering and do not forget to add fertilizer for an extra boost of growth.
Do not forget to always keep an eye on your shrubs. It is the easiest way to find out when to mist your plants, and it also helps in the early detection of pests.