To mist, or not to mist? This is a common question that cycles through the heads of many plant owners. Some sources say get out your trusty spray bottle and give your houseplants a good spritz now and then. Yet, other sources say not to spray.
So, let’s talk about why people mist plants, if it’s helpful, and the proper way to do it.
Why Do People Mist?
Many houseplants typically grown indoors are native to tropical forests and jungles, where the humidity levels are incredibly high. The environments in our homes are often considerably drier than these humid climates, so plants are naturally are at a deficit when it comes to moisture. Misting them creates a micro-climate similar to their native habitats.
The cells inside plant leaves are full of water, creating a relative humidity of almost 100%. Water is lost through the stomata when the air holds less moisture than the leaves to equilibrate the moisture between the two spaces.
If too much water is being lost to evaporation, the plant closes its stomata in self-defense to minimize water loss. The problem with this is when the stomata close, photosynthesis halts because the plant isn’t absorbing carbon dioxide. Plants will also increase water uptake through the roots, potentially taking in more nutrients than they need, creating toxicities.
Misting the plant leaves increases the humidity, and less moisture is lost to the air.
In turn, leaf stomates stay open, the plant continues to photosynthesize, and it doesn’t expend extra energy taking in more water and possibly too many nutrients.
Does Misting Help?
Whether or not misting helps your plants is a highly debated topic. Many online sites recommend raising relative humidity levels around the foliage, and many sites recommend not to mist your plants. The common reason not to mist your plants is that it can increase problems with fungal diseases if done incorrectly.
In my opinion, misting is helpful, but you need to be very mindful if you do it to increase the relative humidity.
How to Mist Your Plants
The goal when misting your plants is to keep water from sitting on the leaves or dripping down and collecting where they attach to the plant’s stem. Try to spray upward into the air above and around your plant instead of spraying the foliage directly. It’s always easier to go light-handed and mist again than mist too much at once.
- When misting your plants, it’s essential to have the water released as a fine mist instead of large droplets.
- Work your way around the plant, making sure to reach the bottoms of the leaves where the stomata are located.
- Always mist in addition to watering regularly. Your plant needs more moisture than the water misting provides.
Types of Misters
If you choose to mist your plants, many different types of misters are available. You can purchase a dedicated plant mister, use a standard spray bottle, use a mister common for haircare, or spend the money for a pressurized mister. These products vary in price and aesthetic, so choose one that fits your taste, needs, and budget.
- Plant misters are classy looking and add an air of elegance to your plant care. Often found with brass, copper, or tinted glass, these beauties are meant to be left out on the counter instead of tucked away under your kitchen sink.
- Squeeze nozzle misters are your run-of-the-mill spray bottles, or you can purchase specialized ones for plants that only deliver a fine mist. To work, you need to squeeze the mister’s nozzle repeatedly. Remember, the goal with misting is to release a fine mist, so the typical squeeze nozzle mister oftentimes releases droplets that are too big.
- Hair misters build pressure as you squeeze the lever, releasing a fixed output without requiring you to pull a nozzle multiple times. This type provides the benefit of an aerosol spray without any harmful propellants.
- Pressurized misters are excellent if you have numerous plants. This type comes with varying capacities, and you pressurize the tank by pushing downward on a pump. Once pressurized, press the trigger to release the mist.
Plants that like misting
- Zebra plant
- Arrowhead plant
- Peace lily
Plants to avoid misting
- African violets
- Piggyback plants
- Fiddle leaf fig
- Ponytail plant
- Spider plant
- Jade plant
- ZZ plant