Last Updated on February 15, 2022 by Grow with Bovees
Are you a lover of beautiful tropical houseplants, but afraid that the climate inside your home may be too dry for them to survive?
Why not use a pebble tray for plants — aka humidity tray — to add some extra humidity in a dry environment.
Pebble trays are a great accessory to add to your collection of plants if you wish to add a little moisture. They create lovely and ambient moisture around your indoor plants.
Increased humidity keeps tropical plants happy and thriving, aiding in their growth.
Continue on to learn more about pebble trays, their uses and how you can make one at home.
What Are Humidity Trays For Plants?
A pebble tray is exactly what the word says it is, namely, a shallow dish, low dish or bowl that contains little rocks, stones or pebbles, which are covered by water.
It is used to provide or increase the humidity surrounding groups of plants or single plants. Humidity levels rise, as the water from the pebble tray evaporates around the plant pot.
If you want to create a slightly higher level of moisture around your plant, in a room where there is a lot of airspace or where the temperature is high, use a humidity tray that is the same width or slightly wider than the diameter that your plant’s foliage reach.
Pebble trays can be made or purchased for either a single plant at a time or for larger groups of plants, in which case it would naturally be a much larger pebble tray.
Crafting a tray which boosts moisture levels, is a quick and easy project to take on in the comfort of your own home.
If, however, the air inside your house is extremely dry — like in most houses — a pebble tray may not be enough in order for your houseplants to thrive. In this case, adding other sources of humidity to your home is of importance in order to reach that high level of humidity. Examples of other moisture sources are, misting your plants daily or a humidifier.
Indoor Plants That Benefit From Pebble Trays
If you are new to gardening and unsure of which plants love good amounts of humidity, and would thus benefit greatly from a tray of water and pebbles, if your indoor environment is rather dry, continue on, as we have created a list of examples of plants that need and thrive well in humid conditions.
Humidity Loving Plants
- Citrus plants
- English ivy
- Nertera Granadensis
- Chenille plants
- Insectivorous plants such as Venus flytraps, pitcher plants and sundews.
- Prayer plants such as maranta, calathea and ctenanthe
- Nerve plants
Signs of a Lack of Humidity
There are a few signs that you can look out for in your plants if they are lacking humidity. Make sure that you are not over watering or under watering these plants, as the signs are often similar.
Signs & Symptoms
- Flowers start to shrivel shortly after blooming.
- Leaves start to become yellow.
- The entire plant starts to wilt.
- Leaves may start splitting.
- Dry and brown patches may start to develop on the leaf tips or leaf edges.
- Crispy or dry leaves.
- Flower buds fail to develop, or they drop off shortly after developing.
More About Tropical Plants and Humidity
When measuring the relative humidity in the average household, one will find that it is not nearly as high as that of a natural tropical environment.
Low humidity levels indoors can be blamed on central heating or air conditioning — among others.
Moisture levels that are low are not great for certain plants. They crave humidity and actually need it in order to survive, especially during winter.
Even though plants originating from a tropical environment require a lot of moisture, they are not very fond of their soil being overly wet for long periods of time.
Soil that is too wet, hinders vital oxygen from reaching the plants root system, eventually causing root rot.
Ways To Increase Humidity Around Your Plants
- Place your moisture-loving plants in small plant groups. This way, when they transpire, they create a microclimate together, sharing added humidity levels and creating an area of high humidity around them.
- Place your plants in rooms in your house that generally have a little extra moisture in the air. The kitchen or the bathroom are examples of rooms with a higher humidity level.
- Place a store bought or DIY pebble tray below your plant. This way, the water evaporates from the humidity tray. Evaporating water increases the moisture level, creating a humid local area for the plants that need it.
How To Make a Humidity Tray
Making a pebble tray is a simple and cost-worthy DIY project. One can easily use materials that are lying around the house, to save money.
Materials You Need
- A glass dish or tray that is shallow — about an inch or a bit more — and as wide or wider than your entire plant’s leaf span.
Some ideas of containers you can use to make a pebble tray include a pasta bowl, a pie tin, a ceramic tart dish, top saucer or simply a drip tray used for terracotta flower pots.
- Decorative pebbles or small rocks
Ideas for pebbles include aquarium pebbles, landscaping gravel or pebbles from the beach. Just make sure that the size of pebbles is not too big, as your plant pot requires a base that is somewhat flat in order to stand stably.
- A potted plant that loves humidity.
How To Put the Materials Together To Make Your Own Pebble Tray
Grab the try or container of your choice and fill it with a layer of pebbles no higher than 2-3 inches — depending on the depth of the dish. Make sure the surface is even by spreading out the pebbles.
Next, add water to the tray. Make sure that roughly a half-inch of the rocks are left dry. This is to prevent water from reaching the planter’s drainage holes — plant roots do not like sitting in standing water. And, voilà, you have a DIY pebble tray.
To finish off the pebble tray project, place your humidity-loving potted houseplant into the center of the tray filled with water and pebbles and place the plant in an indoor spot of your choosing.
Taking Care of Your Humidity Trays
More water can be added to the pebble tray whenever you notice the water level dropping. If your area is experiencing super-hot weather, or you have heaters or air conditioners blowing due to weather transitions, water will need to be added more frequently.
Make a habit of rinsing and cleaning your pebbles from time to time. This is to avoid attracting insects, and it helps to wash away any fertilizer residue left in the tray.
This brings us to the end of our pebble tray for plants master class. Easy solution right?
Now, if any of your potted plants at home are of tropical origin, grab a dish, some rocks and water, make that pebble tray for your plants, and provide them with the humidity that they want and need.
Good luck and happy crafting!