We’re often told humidity is important for plants, but having it at optimal levels can benefit not only your green pets but also the whole household.
Unless you live in the tropics, humidity tends to be lower indoors, so a humidifier is a must, especially if you use air conditioners and heaters or live in a dry climate. This device will help your tropical plants thrive and minimize the side effects of eczema, asthma, sinus infection, chapped lips, and even stop your dry wallpaper from peeling. So it’s a win-win for you and your green friends. Let’s take a look at how these thingamajigs work.
Warm mist humidifiers are like a mini quiet sauna. They evaporate warm water, so your tropical plants will be having a blast, and if you’ve been under the weather, it’s great for sinuses and extra warmth. Be mindful, though—the hot vapor can be quite harsh, so keep the humidifier away from children and don’t place it too close to your plants; within 2–3 ft (0.6–1 m) will do. Although this option won’t be as pricey, it will definitely consume more energy in the long run.
Cool mist, or impeller humidifiers, are pretty hefty and are the most common and cheapest option you can get. They evaporate a cooling mist and generally come with a filter to trap impurities and minerals. Their Achilles heel is that they are the noisiest option, and if you’re not in a warm climate, they can make it seem colder. They also tend to be on the larger side (such as whole house humidifiers that can hold around 5 gal (19 l) of water) and require routine filter maintenance, although there are certain smaller models without filters.
Similar to cool mist, this is a popular device that pulls moisture through a wet wick or material, making it more hygienic. Evaporative humidifiers often contain several speeds and are considered the safest and pretty affordable option. Having said that, the noise might be an issue, and they’ll still need regular cleaning.
The ultrasonic humidifier is the new cool kid on the block. It’s a more modern but pricier option too. The device consists of vibrating disks which eliminate the need for filters and make the humidifier practically soundless. It can produce both cool and warm mist, although we recommend the former as a child-safe option. Having said that, you’ll still need to rinse out and clean its water tank to prevent bacteria.
These big boys are built-in devices integrated into the central ventilation or air conditioning systems and are used to humidify entire houses and buildings. They’re definitely pricey, require professional installation and routine maintenance; so unless the climate is unbearably dry and your green pets inhabit several rooms like a greenhouse, stick to a smaller, portable device.
Most indoor plants come to us from tropical environments. If you have Philodendrons, Monsteras, Marantas, Epipremnums, Anthuriums, orchids, and ferns, a humidifier will help them thrive. Although there are incredibly fussy plants, such as Monstera obliqua which requires 90% humidity, they’re typically grown outside and aren’t suited for an indoor environment. But if you’re a proud owner of succulents and cacti, just forgo a humidifier altogether.
It’s best to use boiled, settled water or, ideally, demineralized water. Most tap water is hard and contains lots of minerals that can worsen allergies and build up in the humidifier. Therefore, going the extra mile will not only benefit your health but will also extend the life of your gadget and simplify the cleanup.
Cleaning & Maintenance
No matter which device you choose, it’s important to keep your humidifier clean to prevent allergen and bacteria growth. With daily use, we recommend to clean it with rubbing alcohol or any other available disinfectant at least every 3–4 days and make sure it’s dry before storing it away. Keep in mind, high humidity may also lead to lung issues, fungi, the spread of harmful bacteria, and an uncomfortable dampness in the air. The general rule of thumb is to keep humidity around 40–60%.
We hope this was an insightful read that helped narrow down your choice of appliance. Keep in mind, there are thousands of possible options and other than providing humidity, these gadgets may also have additional features such as night lights, remote control, aromatherapy, built-in clocks, humidity control, and hygrometers. A humidifier won’t solve significant health issues, and your plants won’t die without them (probably), but its numerous benefits make it an attractive addition to any house.