Monstera plants are super hardy! These evergreen tropical vines can survive a degree of neglect and less-than-optimal humidity with very little fuss.
That said, if you want to see your Monstera grow beautifully and live longer, then providing it with the right humidity will go a long way, especially if your indoor climate is dry. Humidity is essential to maintain its unique and delicate foliage, and hence should not be overlooked!
The most controversial question, asked by novice and experienced growers alike, is this: Should I mist my Monstera? If you are looking for answers to clear the air, then read on!
Do Monsteras like humid environments?
Monsteras are humidity-loving plants, so the answer is definitely yes – these tropical vines thrive in humid environments similar to their rainforest home in Central America. If you are in love with their beautiful foliage and want to own one at home, you should at least know a bit about their native habitat so that you can provide the right care.
Humidity is just one of the basic requirements for a Monstera to grow vigorously. Unfortunately, the indoor climate in our homes is far different from the conditions of their native environment, and not all growers understand the importance of humidity for plants like these.
Another problem is that, when moisture-deprived plants show signs of distress such as drooping and browning leaves, the natural response would be to give them more water – but this can lead to overwatering, which will cause a whole new set of problems!
Monsteras are generally hardy plants, which makes them quite easy to care for. They are adaptable and tolerant of low humidity, which is a common indoor condition in many homes. But keeping your vining plants in less humid environments than they are used to will not be beneficial in the long run. Monsteras, like other tropical houseplants, require humidity levels of around 60 to 70 percent to flourish and live longer.
How does humidity actually affect the growth of your Monstera?
As with other tropical plants, humidity plays a key role in your Monstera’s transpiration, which is a process similar to sweating in humans. When the environment is humid, the tiny pores on the plant’s tissues open up to transpire or breathe. These pores are called stomata, and one of their basic functions is to cool the plant down during warm weather. The stomata also facilitate gaseous exchange during photosynthesis by releasing oxygen into the air.
So, if you want your Monstera to grow to its full potential, you need to take its humidity requirements seriously! But remember that other factors, such as sunlight exposure, temperature, water, and soil nutrients, should also be taken into account to foster healthy foliage. If any of these are lacking, your plant will start to look sad and unhealthy – and no grower wants a dying plant!
Signs your Monstera lacks humidity
Plants often show visual signals when they are not receiving enough humidity, but it is important not to confuse these signs with other problems, such as inappropriate watering or root damage.
If your Monstera is showing signs of distress despite proper watering, then you need to investigate the humidity in your growing area. Is it within the ideal range for this plant?
One way to measure the humidity level indoors is through the use of a hygrometer. We highly recommend a digital hygrometer like this one from Govee for faster readings and greater accuracy.
Some indicators of Monsteras struggling with low humidity are as follows:
- The leaves turn brown, especially around the tips and edges.
- The leaves look dry and crispy.
- The Monstera develops a drooping or wilted appearance.
- The leaves begin to curl.
- The new leaves become yellow.
If you think that a lack of humidity is the culprit, there are several things you can do to correct and prevent the issue.
Should I mist my Monstera deliciosa?
Since humidity is so important for plant growth, a lot of gardeners believe that misting can help. While it is perfectly fine to mist your Monstera from time to time, this method is not the best option for achieving the appropriate indoor humidity, especially if you live in an area with humidity levels below 50 percent. This means that your indoor climate will likely be dry and warm most of the time, and giving your plants a quick spritz will not make a huge difference.
As previously mentioned, Monsteras are tropical plants that originated from humid regions. While misting might be a short-term solution to replicate the conditions of their native habitat, you would need to do this literally every few minutes to actually see results. This is because your warm, dry indoor environment will evaporate those tiny water droplets very quickly.
Inversely, if you live in a region with high humidity, misting can be very bad for your Monstera. If the humidity level is above 60 percent, the water droplets can stay on its leaves for too long, and this can encourage root rot and pest infestations. The problem can be further exacerbated if the indoor air circulation is poor.
The pros and cons of misting your Monstera and other houseplants are summarized below.
Pros of misting:
- Temporarily boosts humidity
- Gets rid of dust and dirt off the leaves
- Can be mixed with neem oil for pest control
Cons of misting:
- Misting the leaves can promote fungal growth
- Misting can spread pests and plant diseases
- The effects of misting only last for a few minutes
So, should you mist your Monstera? The safest answer would be yes, but only if you do it in moderation and as a temporary solution. Moreover, you should never rely on misting alone since there are other excellent options to maintain a humid environment indoors.
That said, misting your Monstera is often not necessary. Provide it with all the necessary basic care and it is likely to thrive even without misting. However, for some gardeners, misting their houseplants is an enjoyable and relaxing thing to do, which is completely understandable.
How often should I mist my Monstera?
If you want to temporarily save your Monstera from a dry environment, then misting once or twice a week should usually suffice. Avoid misting your plants daily as this can attract bacteria, molds, and pests. However, if you live in an area with low humidity and your Monstera’s leaves are turning brown and crispy, you might need to mist them more frequently.
Make sure not to mist the leaves if your goal is to humidify your plants. Instead, spray on the soil and around the plants. If you want to clean the leaves, spray a bit of water and wipe the leaves right away with a soft, clean cloth.
The most important thing to keep your Monstera hydrated is to establish proper watering habits. You should also keep in mind that misting is not the best solution to increase humidity.
Other ways to humidify your Monstera
So, if misting your Monstera is not necessary, then what are the other options to boost humidity?
Below, we have summarized some practical tips to keep your Monstera and other houseplants thriving in a dry climate:
- The best and most effective option to beat dry air is to use a humidifier. Sure, it might cost you some money, but this solution will give you the best results and hence save you from unnecessary heartbreak.
- On top of a humidifier, you can also enhance your indoor climate by placing a small aquarium in your room. As the water in the tank evaporates, the humidity will be slightly increased, creating the ideal growing conditions for tropical plants.
- Group your tropical plants together in one location. Each plant releases a bit of moisture into the air as it transpires, so they can all benefit from each other when grouped together!
- Use a moss pole to support your plants and enhance the humidity level indoors.
- Consider placing a tray of pebbles filled with water in the room. Just like the fish tank, the water in the tray will slowly evaporate and increase the moisture in the surroundings.
Dry air can be problematic for your Monstera, even with proper watering! Low humidity can damage the foliage and make your plant look sick. While misting is a popular tactic to combat low humidity levels, this is not the best or most practical solution for your plants.
There are many excellent ways to boost humidity indoors, and by far the most reliable option is to use a humidifier. Truly, your Monstera and other houseplants will thank you!
Image: istockphoto.com / Dima Berlin