Indoor plants not only enrich the room with oxygen, they effectively regulate humidity. Moreover, they regulate, and not just increase. How Do Plants Contribute To Humidity and Which plants are best used to normalize indoor humidity?
Dry indoor air is a serious problem. And this problem most often arises in winter, when heating systems are in operation. Batteries and fan heaters, heating air conditioners, and all types of radiators dry the air.
Why is too dry air in the house harmful?
With low air humidity in the room, if you stay there for a long time, the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract dry out. Because of this, they incompletely fulfill their protective functions. There is a sore throat, cracks on the lips, but the most dangerous thing is that pathogenic bacteria, which are always abundant in the air, easily penetrate inside through dry mucous membranes. This leads to frequent illnesses of acute respiratory viral infections and influenza.
Objects made of natural materials (wood, leather, paper) suffer from low air humidity. They dry out, warp, cracks appear.
For beauty, dry air is also unfavorable: the skin of the face and hands becomes dry, cracks and wrinkles appear.
Causes of dry indoor air
The main reason for dry air in an apartment is heating devices and dry air outside. In the warm season, the windows in the house open, letting in the morning fog or moisture-laden air of a rainy day, and in frosty weather outside the window, the air is always dry. Heating devices of any type dry the air even more.
In single-story houses, humidity is higher because some moisture penetrates from the basement and from the walls, even with good insulation. Wooden and walls absorb moisture better than concrete, and then gradually give it back into the room.
how do plants contribute to humidity?
Everyone knows that most tropical indoor plants need high humidity. In the dry air, the tips of the leaves dry up, the buds fall off. To increase humidity, it is recommended to place pots with homemade flowers on trays filled with wet expanded clay or pebbles, and also spray them several times a day. And all growers know that spraying helps, but wet pebbles do not if the heating batteries are located under the window and warm dry air rises from them.
But not everyone knows that there are plants that feel great in the dry air of an apartment and are able to moisturize it by evaporating moisture from the surface of their leaves. They work like powerful pumps, pumping irrigation water out of the pots with their roots and releasing it into the air. A powerful plant with large leaves (monstera, hibiscus, ficus) can “drink” several liters of water per day. This water is partially consumed for metabolic processes, but most of it evaporates from the surface of the leaves.
It’s important to note that plants don’t just “work” as humidifiers. Rather, they are regulators: when the air is dry, evaporation is intense, when the humidity rises, evaporation slows down. When the air is dry, they need abundant watering.
Many plants have the unique ability to act as a “moisture sensor”. They suggest the approach of rain in droplets on the leaves. Before the rain, the humidity rises, and water droplets appear on the tips of the leaves of calla lilies, anthurium, and Scindapsus. This is explained by the fact that plants “store” moisture in tissues and keep it in dry time, releasing it little by little through evaporation. When the air humidity rises, natural evaporation decreases, there is no longer any need to “store up”, so excess water is released intensively and flows down the leaves.
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Best plants contribute to humidity
First, the big ones. First of all, these are large plants with a large leaf area. Among all large plants, those that are able to adapt to life in the dry air of an apartment are chosen. Ficuses, monstera, hibiscus, shefflers are considered good moisturizers. These plants can reach significant sizes and are unpretentious. And many of them serve as reliable natural air purifiers.
Almost all palms and most dracaena easily tolerate dry air indoors. They grow rather slowly, but if you already have a large plant, then this is a great home air humidifier. These species are native to desert areas, their leaves are tough and adapted to retain fluid in tissues. But with regular watering, they release enough moisture into the air.
First, they are hygrophilous. Plants of tropical swamps are especially good. And the best of them is the unpretentious Cyperus. This is a great natural humidifier in an apartment. This plant should be watered as much as possible, to the point that the roots can be half in the water. A large cyperus bush is able to normalize the air in a medium-sized room.
Tradescantia is also useful. This ampelous plant is very fond of “drinking”. And in good nutritious soil, with sufficient watering, it quickly grows green mass. You can also grow indoor grapes ( Cissus ), it also adapts well to dry air and grows quickly.
Chlorophytum is a completely unpretentious plant, it is easy to grow. It not only moisturizes but also very well cleans the air from harmful substances. This plant has thickened roots in which it accumulates moisture. Even with irregular watering, chlorophytum evaporates a lot of water.