A moldy, damp, and musty atmosphere around the home is quite uncomfortable to be in. This often occurs in warm areas or during summer time, which is why people who often live in environments as such would invest in having a dehumidifier around. With the right plants however, you can absorb humidity, cut on the electricity bill from using a natural dehumidifier, and beautify your home with greenery.
There are dozens of indoor plants that crave moisture and would be excellent in absorbing the humidity within your home. Some of the more popular choices are: Peace Lilies, English Ivies, Parlor Palms, Boston Ferns, and Spider Plants.
Some of these plants are also really good choices for low-light apartments or rooms that don’t get direct sunlight.
Since humidity often occurs in low light environments, these plants offer a more bang for your buck.
Plants as a Natural Dehumidifier
Having plants in the house are quite beneficial to homeowners everywhere. They are known for doing a variety of things that help make your home a better place, such as absorb aerial toxins and chemicals, and improve overall air quality. There have been various researches made on the benefits plants provide. Even NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) had a say on the topic with their study in 1989 on how plants can improve air quality.
One of the lesser known benefits of having plants indoors is their capability of absorbing humidity. Most plants, in general, crave for moisture. Some harvest moisture from the air, through their leaves, but not all plants are able to do so efficiently.
When moisture is high in a certain space, or when it is humid, there are a number of things that can go wrong such as respiratory issues, mold formation, and structural damage. With plants that can absorb humidity through the leaves, we can decrease the moisture in the air.
Through the plant’s foliar uptake, it is able to absorb the surrounding moisture like dew, fog, or even just really heavy air particles. It absorbs this through the stoma in their leaves, and this moisture travels down through the xylem, all the way down to the roots of the plants.
What Plants Absorb Humidity and How to Take Care of Them?
If your ultimate goal is to lessen the damp air in your home that contributes to most of the mold and mildew, but you don’t want to splurge on a dehumidifier, plants are a better and a more economical option. Here are some of the best plants for the job, and a few tips on how to care for them:
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)
These tropical evergreens thrive on the forest floor where it is shady, cool and quite damp. Being able to replicate these conditions in your home will definitely make your peace lily thrive better in your home. With ample lighting and nutrition, peace lilies produce white flowers during the summer and would continue to bloom throughout the year. They can grow up to 16 inches tall indoors, and are quite adaptable to pretty much any condition. To take care of a peace lily efficiently you must:
- Keep the soil moist but avoid over-watering your plant. Too much water will cause the roots of the plant to rot. When the leaves start to brown, you need to rehydrate your plant as soon as you can.
- Avoid using tap water for peace lilies. It is quite sensitive to salts and chemicals in tap water such as fluoride and chlorine. As much as possible, use room temperature distilled or filtered water.
- Because they love humidity so much, misting their leaves every now and then really makes a difference.
- Avoid direct sunlight. The harshness of the sun’s heat will burn the leaves. Indirect sunlight by the window is the most ideal spot for them.
In addition to being able to decrease the amount of moisture in the air, NASA was able to prove that peace lilies improve the air quality by eliminating formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, and benzene.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
There are actually several ivy varieties but we have chosen the English ivy because it is more common. Ivy plants are not hard to grow and maintain indoors. It’s just a matter of providing the plants its basic needs and you’re all set.
The English Ivy, absolutely loves light. It will thrive in a well-lit space, but be forewarned, direct sunlight can burn the leaves. It also enjoys humidity, which is why it would work best in a moist environment. Here are some points to remember:
- Let the top soil dry-up before watering again. They do enjoy moisture, but sitting in water is a whole other thing.
- Fertilize your plant at least once a month to keep it lush.
- It is extremely toxic to cats and dogs. If you have pets, be sure to keep this out of their reach.
- Use airy potting soil with a good drain.
- Trim the vines when they do get long. These vines have tiny roots on them and would easily attach to surfaces that may cause damage to your walls or furniture within close proximity.
The English Ivy is an aggressive and fast-growing plant that would need a little bit more attention in terms of maintenance, but is not as complicated to take care of compared to outdoor plants.
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Due to its long life, there have been families who pass these plants from one generation onto the next. It is quite small in size for a palm, ranging from 5 inches up to 3 feet. It is native to the rainforest and is therefore fond of high humidity. For optimal growth:
- Must be situated in indirect sunlight.
- Optimum temperature should be at least 50 degrees F.
- It is quite sensitive to overwatering. You should keep in mind that when the seasons change, the rate of watering will also vary. More water during summer, and less during colder seasons.
- Weekly misting must be done to promote growth and prevent infestations.
- You would only need to fertilize your plant about once a year, with water-soluble fertilizer.
- During its dormant phase, the leaves must be pruned for maintenance.
Being able to create a perfect balance between the two spectrums of dry and wet soil will ensure that your parlor palm will grow as nicely as it should be.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
These plants love high humidity and indirect sunlight. They are quite common as indoor decor since it’s quite simple to take care of versus other plants in the market. The Boston Fern’s hassle free maintenance are easy to follow:
- If your home isn’t humid, adding additional humidity can do wonders for your fern. You can do this by setting your fern’s pot in a container that contains pebbles and a few inches of water. You can also mist their leaves every now and then. If the humidity isn’t enough for them, their leaves turn yellow.
- They enjoy humidity, but they aren’t too keen on living in water. Which is why you must check if the soil is damp or dry. Be sure to keep everything in balance.
- Fertilizer is not a requirement, but can be added once per year if your plant shows signs that it is lacking in nutrients.
These plants thrive easily in indoor conditions with minimal care. Just give them a right environment and monitor for signs of stress and your fern should last a long time.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
One of the most adaptable house plants, the spider plant is one of the easiest to take care of. They are not too picky with the environment they are in. They can grow in a variety of conditions and would have no issue with most indoor environments. They’re great for beginners since they are quite resilient. Here are some general tips that may be handy in keeping your spider plant happy:
- They enjoy bright light, but would prefer to be in indirect sunlight. An approximate 4 to 6 hours should enough exposure per day. Place your plants near your window and you’re all set.
- Like all plants, they need water, but do not overdo it. Moist soil makes the plants happy, but soggy soil will rot their roots. It would actually be better to only water your plant when there is evident drying on the soil, otherwise, leave it alone.
- Keep your spider plants in cool ambient temperature. 55 degrees F to 65 degrees F is quite ideal for these plants. In the event you cannot control your environment to be cooler, you can mist the leaves to freshen it up.
- These plants however, are very sensitive to fluoride. This chemical causes salt buildup in the soil. It would be more ideal to use distilled or rainwater for plants instead of tap water.
During spring, the spider plant seems to multiply and have little spider plants around the base of the soil. These spider-ettes can be repotted and grown separately once they are ready. You will know if your plant is ready to be repotted when the fleshy roots are highly visible.
There are plenty of plants you can choose to decrease the humidity in your home. In fact, most houseplants actually prefer to live in a somewhat humid environment.
Give them the right amount of light, water, and nutrients in their soil, and they will happily absorb excess moisture and humidity from your home.
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