Air humidity for indoor plants
An indicator such as air humidity is necessarily mentioned in any article devoted to indoor plants and caring for them. This is one of the main conditions for the good development of home flora, so we will consider it in more detail. It has long been known that the humidity of the air for plants is as important as its temperature. Dry air, coupled with unjustifiably high temperatures, harm not only indoor pets, but also people. That is why creating optimal conditions for plants allows their owners to be in a healthier atmosphere.
The behavior of plants with increased requirements for moisture - for example, maidenhair, asparagus - can be an indicator of the level of moisture in the air. If it is too dry, these plants will not please their owners with flowers, shed their buds and stop development, even with proper watering. Let this be a signal to you that it is losing moisture to the air in the apartment. Various methods can help restore and maintain moisture levels. The easiest way is to buy a special humidifier. But a high-quality device costs money, and it may not give the desired effect. Therefore, it is better to use the old proven methods.
The very first is spraying. At a time when the plant is rapidly gaining green mass, it must be processed both in the morning and in the evening. And if the second spraying is completely safe, then when carrying out the first one, it is necessary to take into account the time and location of the flower in the room. If your plant is positioned so that direct sunlight falls on it in the morning, moisturize it before sun exposure. That is, allow the water droplets to evaporate before the sun's rays begin to hit the leaves. Otherwise, having reached the desired humidity in the air, you risk exposing the flower to a severe burn.
Care should be taken to spray plants with drooping leaves (gloxinia, saintpaulia, streptocarpus) and owners of tight-fitting foliage (hippeastrum, amaryllis). Excess moisture can linger on them, which is dangerous by decay. And for novice florists, it is better to heed the following advice - do not spray them at all! The air for such plants can be humidified by other methods.
One of the most common is the use of a water pan. Place the flower pot in a spacious container filled with expanded clay or pebbles. The water level should be below the drainage hole of the flowerpot. Instead of stones, you can take moss, plain or sphagnum, and moisten well. True, this method has a big drawback - although moss perfectly maintains the moisture level, it can become a home for small insects, it will not end well.
And, of course, do not forget the long-proven method of maintaining air humidity in winter - this is a wet towel on the heating battery. A great welcome considering that most of the houseplants are placed on windowsills.
Important rules for maintaining the required humidity level for indoor plants:
- When spraying a flower, use clean water only at room temperature, and previously settled. That is, it should be the same as for watering.
- Everything should be in moderation. An excess of moisture in the air is just as harmful to the plant as its lack. The danger is especially great if high humidity is combined with low temperatures. Such conditions often provoke plant decay.
- When the rules for caring for a plant do not indicate a specific method of maintaining a moisture level for it, but simply recommend systematic spraying, then it means everyday procedures. Spraying, which is carried out periodically, only maintains the purity of the plants; they can be replaced by wiping the leaves.
- Those representatives of indoor flora that require a high moisture content in the air, but do not like an excess of water, can be located near the systematically sprayed plants. For example, it is good to place streptocarpus next to azalea or abutilon. In this case, the process of spraying the latter must be carried out separately, after removing them from the windowsill, and then returning them back. Such plants not only saturate themselves with moisture, but also give them to neighbors.
- Some homely beauties - tangerine, azalea, lemon - regularly require foliar feeding. It is good to combine it with spraying. Important! When carrying out such leaf dressing, be extremely careful. Perform the procedures only in the evening, separating these plants from others. Often, trace elements required by one flower can be harmful to neighboring ones.
- Finally, one more piece of advice. In the summer, in the heat, if you do not have the opportunity to rearrange houseplants from the room to the street, or they do not need it, place them on the floor. Here the plants will be more comfortable, because the temperature below is lower. And in order to maintain the necessary humidity in hot weather, spray water around with a fine spray bottle - moisture will stay near the floor longer. This method is good for Gesneriaceae (Streptocarpus, Saintpaulias).
This is the main thing to know about air humidity when caring for plants. Of course, there are a number of houseplants that require moisture in excess of special conditions. In the tips for caring for them, you will definitely read about their needs and how to satisfy them. Although usually such plants need greenhouse maintenance, so it is better for a grower with little experience to wait with them.
How to maintain the right air humidity for indoor plants
Insufficient humidity in the room is one of the main limiting factors in the development of indoor plants. Meanwhile, in the absence of appropriate values for this parameter, the plant, unless it is a succulent, suffers very seriously: its aerial roots, leaf tips dry out, metabolic processes in tissues are disrupted. Cordilins, dracaena, conifers are especially sensitive to a decrease in moisture.
The decorativeness of indoor flowers deteriorates sharply, the plant is attacked by many diseases (spider mites, thrips), and flowering in such conditions may not occur at all.
How can you help plants survive such a "winter drought"?
It should be said right off the bat that adjusting humidity is much more difficult than regulating temperature. This issue is especially relevant in winter, when, with the connection of central heating batteries, the air humidity in the room decreases from 40-50% to 25-35%, while the optimal values for most plants are 60-80%.
Spraying plants - the simplest and most familiar method for all flower growers. There are quite a few water sprayers, and they are presented in a very different price range, starting from a 15-ruble device that is screwed to any plastic bottle. It is best to spray indoor plants with boiled warm water. Boiling the water will help prevent salt stains on the leaves, and the room temperature will relieve the plant from thermal stress.
It should be remembered that not all plants will be happy with direct spraying... It will be well tolerated by representatives of flora with rather hard leaves and some others. You can safely spray ficuses, philodendrons, monsters, anthuriums, codiaums. Plants with pubescent and delicate leaves are best not directly sprayed, but spray water next to them.
The same should be done with most of the flowering subtropical plants, such as gardenia, camellia and the popular azaleas during the flowering period, since water droplets are detrimental to delicate flower petals. In addition, indirect spraying is necessary for bromeliads and orchids growing on blocks of pine bark or on an epiphytic tree. Winter watering should not be frequent - once a day (preferably in the morning) will be enough.
If you did not spray, and a spider mite managed to attack your plants, then you can take health measures as follows: after the crown has been wetted with water, the plant is wrapped in a transparent plastic wrap, which should press tightly against the leaves. After one to two weeks, spider mites will disappear, since they do not tolerate high humidity.
An excessive number of sprays in combination with a cool temperature can lead to overmoistening of the earthen coma, which in turn creates favorable conditions for the development of small wingless white pests - sugars. Podura damage small roots, germinated seeds, seedlings. To get rid of them, it is enough to lightly dry the earthen lump and sprinkle the soil in the pot with a layer of sand.
Another trick for increasing humidity around the flowers - placing them on a wide tray, into which a layer of drainage is poured, covered with sphagnum. The bottom of the pot should not come into contact with the water constantly present at the bottom. Vapors from such a pan increase the humidity by about 8%.
A fairly efficient way is use of household air humidifiers... In this case, the undoubted benefits of humidification will extend not only to the green inhabitants of your apartment, but will help you yourself. Normal air humidity will help your skin, it will be a good prevention of pulmonary diseases and insomnia.
Humidification devices are classified into "cold steam" humidifiers, "hot steam" humidifiers and the most advanced ultrasonic air humidifiers, which use a thin piezo membrane that throws small droplets of water into the air. With the help of ultrasonic air humidifiers, you can achieve 80% humidity - this humidity is good for tropical greenhouses in a room, it is better to limit it to 60%.
In the absence of such devices, you can put baths with water on the battery, which will gradually evaporate and humidify the air in the room.
Style: How to take care of indoor plants in fall and winter
Is it possible to buy plants now, how to water them and what to do to make them survive the winter
- November 3, 2020
Over the past six months, you for sure made a couple of green friends in the apartment, or maybe significantly expanded the home jungle: in quarantine, flowers have become one of the most popular purchases. Autumn and spring are not the easiest times for indoor plants: the temperature and humidity of the air change, daylight hours are reduced. Now is the time to audit the green wards and check if you are taking care of them properly.
How to prepare indoor plants for winter
Now it is better to reduce watering, because the processes slow down and the moisture evaporates more slowly, but increase the humidity with humidifiers (spraying will not help) and the amount of light - at least we put the plants closer to the window. Stock up on phyto lamps, choose the desired spectrum, lamp size, distance. Do not fertilize those who fell asleep, but reduce the dose for active ones. Protect the pots from the drafts of the windowsill and the hot breath of the batteries.
All this is indisputable, but there are a few more important rules. Make sure the plants overwinter in the correct sized pots. Make pest inspection a daily ritual - zone plants and alternate zones to inspect each day.
Conduct a census of the green population. You will need a pen, notebook and internet. Make a list of your plants, indicating the origin and wintering characteristics. Forums, a Facebook flower group search, and bloggers generously providing care information can help you out. What would a plant description look like in such a list?
"Monstera and liana from aroids". What about the temperature and conditions? "Constantly hot and humid equatorial climate." Yeah. That is, after a warm autumn, the monstera will not be surprised by the winter battery heat, you just have to adjust the humidity. Clearly!
"Lemon, citrus fruits, humid subtropics." We google what the subtropics are. "The subtropical climate is characterized by two seasons: hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters." That is, wintering at a temperature of 12-15 degrees with high humidity and bright lighting. Do I have the opportunity to build my lemon in a moist, light, cool greenhouse for the winter? Why would I need a lemon then?
So you've figured out the secret to healthy plants in winter. My main rule works when working with clients: 90% of success lies in the correct selection of a plant. We grabbed ourselves a eucalyptus on the principle of "want-want" - welcome to hell.
There is nothing wrong with winter, we will survive it, especially if we take plants for the winter, for which we are ready to provide an appropriate wintering. Only not all at once the same, but according to needs.
How to care for plants in autumn and winter
In the cold season, plant care changes due to reduced daylight hours and heating seasons - additional steps will be needed to recreate the conditions of the natural habitat of plants. The first is light. See how much less light you have in your home. If your windows are blocked by neighboring houses or trees, then with a probability of 80% you need additional lighting for plants. If you have a high floor, then the plants will cope without additional lighting, if you rearrange them from the depths of the room closer to the windows. If this is not possible, then you also need additional lighting. When rearranging plants, make sure that they are not in a draft: cold air threatens leaf fall, especially in ficuses. Also, don't plant plants directly next to batteries.
It is important to check which of your plants need supplemental lighting. Absolutely, additional lighting is needed for cacti and succulents (except for aloe and haworthia) - these are the inhabitants of the deserts: dry air is just right for them, but the fact that there is little sun in the middle lane in winter is absolutely not. Without additional lighting, succulents and cacti will freeze in growth or begin to grow, stretching and losing their aesthetic qualities. Ferns and arrowroot may also need additional lighting, but it is more important for them to first adjust the humidity level and proper watering.
The second is the humidity of the air. If your batteries are mercilessly stoked and your houses have palm trees, ficuses, arrowroot, ferns - in general, the inhabitants of the humid tropics - then you need a humidifier to maintain the humidity at 60–70% and above. There are humidifiers with built-in thermometers and hygrometers, or you can buy them separately to monitor humidity levels.
Usually, it is difficult to do with plant spraying alone, because all the sprayed water evaporates in a matter of minutes. But if you like to spray, spray, this is quite a meditative process. If the batteries do not heat so much, then spraying may be enough.
The third is watering. Due to the reduction in daylight hours, the metabolism of plants slows down and they hibernate. But, of course, not all - for example, the Decembrist begins to bloom in the winter. By default, plants do not need to be fertilized during the cold season, and they also need to be watered less frequently. But with watering, everything is not so simple: the rate of soil drying is affected by how much your batteries are heated, whether there is a humidifier. So here it is better to focus on the basic rules for watering individual plants: most often this is either complete drying out of the soil, or drying out of the upper layer
In autumn and winter, it is better not to replant plants unless there is an urgent need: for example, if the plant has signs of a flood and you need to check if the root system is alive and save it.In this case, in the first month after transplanting or transshipment, it is worth watering the plants with zircon or root, alternating with HB-101, this will help the plant to cope with double stress (change of the season of the year and transplant), and the root system to develop faster. If the plant's root system really began to rot, then the plants also need to be treated with an antifungal agent, for example, "Fitosporin-M". In other cases, it is better to postpone the transplant until spring, because there is a risk that the plant will not take root.
How to buy indoor plants in cold weather and care for beginners
Of course, you can buy indoor plants in cold weather. What problems or nuances could there be? Improper transportation to home. Be sure to pack and insulate the plant in every possible way - you can use kraft paper, newspapers, bubble wrap or, our favorite option at Plant Me, a thermal underlay under the laminate. Depending on the temperature outside and the time you plan to spend there, add one or more layers. It is important that too cold air does not reach the delicate leaves and overcooled the earthy lump.
Pay special attention to the warming of the plant, if the soil in the pot is wet - if it is overcooled, it will cause serious damage to the roots and can cause the death of the plant.
Looking closely at a new flower, it is better to make a choice in favor of unpretentious decorative deciduous plants, rather than flowering or fruiting ones. From the latter, buds and fruits are likely to fall off almost immediately. Stalwart comrades: epipremnums, philodendrons, spathiphyllums, zamioculcas, sansevieria, aspidistra, elastic ficus. The place of purchase is also important. This is true for any time of the year, but in the same mass markets there is a much higher chance of taking an already diseased plant, adding incorrect transportation and getting it quickly destroyed on the windowsill. In small local plant shops, sellers will most likely suggest all the nuances of care in the winter, carefully pack or even offer their delivery.
About the transfer after purchase. If the soil in which you bought the plant looks ok, there are no pests in it, the plant is visually healthy, the roots do not come out of the pot, then you can postpone the transplant until spring. If you need or "really want to", then the main rules: use a sparing transshipment (without disassembling an earthen lump) and after transplanting, provide the plant with comfortable conditions - good natural light or correct lighting with a lamp, high humidity, exclude drafts. After transplantation, you can treat with an anti-stress drug, for example, "Epin". We transplant plants all year round, but after transplanting, we must keep them under lamps and observe for at least two weeks how the engraftment process is going.
The main problem in winter is short daylight hours and excessively dry air due to central heating. Therefore, we place the plants as close to the window as possible (but make sure there are no drafts) and additionally humidify the air. Someone uses cans of water, dancing with spray guns, I recommend buying a humidifier once and please not only the plants, but also yourself. If you manage to keep the humidity in the region of 40-50% - that's great. For example, heating can dry the air up to 10% in winter, which is very bad for everyone.
If you are too lazy to bother with all this, but you still want plants, choose sansevieria or zamiokulkas - they will survive everything. If you are a keen gardener and are ready to do the plants well, you can purchase supplementary lamps. It is important that the plant receives at least 8-10 hours of constant light. You can purchase a timer into an outlet and set up a schedule to turn on / off these lamps.
Pay special attention to watering. On the one hand, with a decrease in daylight hours, the plant consumes less moisture, so watering should be reduced. On the other hand, excessively dry air can dry out the soil in a pot in a couple of days so much that the next time you water the soil, the soil will simply not be wetted. Therefore, observe the plant and soil, you can check with the usual "poke method" with your finger, or purchase a special soil moisture sensor.
Even dry air activates such an unpleasant pest as a spider mite. Examine the leaves of plants, especially from the back side, the presence of cobwebs, dots, moving insects is a clear sign of sounding the alarm. A good preventive measure will be a hot shower: the plant is placed in the bathroom and the entire ground part is actively washed under a stream of almost hot water (this applies to decorative deciduous plants with smooth leaves, it is important not to get on the buds with flowering plants).
Plants develop more slowly in winter, so there is no need to ask too much of them. There is no need in any way to try to speed up the process of fertilizing, this can provoke its growth, but in the absence of enough light, the shoots will stretch ugly, and the leaves will shrink.
You can increase air humidity in other ways:
- we put the plant on a pallet, in which there will be wet sand, moss, peat or expanded clay. We use containers with water, which we place between the flower pots. We use a humidifier.
- we keep small plants in special aquariums, spherical in shape. Cover the bottom with sphagnum or other material that will keep moisture. For example, perlite.
Ideal humidity can be obtained using special greenhouses, in which the climate is automatically regulated.
For spraying plants - use soft water. It should not contain salts, it leaves stains on the leaves of plants. The temperature of the water for spraying should be a couple of degrees warmer, room temperature. Plants on the sunny side should be sprayed with water close to the temperature of the leaves. The temperature difference causes burns on the leaves.
In bright sun and low temperatures, spraying is prohibited.
In winter, spraying is best done before lunchtime. Transplanted plants need spraying. We spray the transplanted plants for two weeks.
Spraying has a good and beneficial effect on the leaves. This is with regards to decorative deciduous plants. But for flowering plants, the ingress of moisture on the inflorescences is especially harmful. The trapped moisture will damage the inflorescence. It is better to cover it when spraying.
To improve the well-being of the plant, not only spraying will help. But also washing and cleaning. Household dust settles on the leaves of plants. Timely cleaning of dust from plants is a concern for their health and beauty. In nature, plants take care of their own cleanliness. Precipitation and wind help them in this. Dried leaves fall off and are processed in the soil. At home, this is difficult. Therefore, independently carry out the removal of dry leaves and shoots, and also treat the plants from dust. Tap water is not suitable for washing leaves. Use demineralized water or use a lime neutralizer. Plants with smooth leaves can be doused with a shower to remove dust on the leaves and increase the humidity.
Those plants for which wet cleaning is contraindicated (cacti) - clean with a damp brush. If your plants have stubborn dirt, a soapy water solution will help wash it off. Soap solution is also used as pest prevention at an early stage. Try to keep soapy water out of the roots. Flower pots every five years - rinse thoroughly with hot water. This can be done during plant transplantation.
By meeting the moisture needs of your plants, you will get good and healthy plants. When growing indoor plants, moisture plays an important role. You can control it yourself by spraying the plants or using air humidifiers. Good luck to you.
If the irrigation water is too hard (tap, spring, well), the pH of the soil changes towards alkalization. This leads to a disruption in the absorption of phosphorus, iron, manganese, boron and other important elements by plants.
The high content of calcium and magnesium salts in water leads to the fact that these elements are converted into compounds inaccessible to plants, and the absorption of iron, which is necessary for photosynthesis, is blocked. Indoor plants fall ill with chlorosis - the leaves brighten, then turn yellow and die off. The soil can give off an unpleasant putrid or sour smell, which indicates root rot. In this case, be sure to transplant the plant into a different soil, removing the decayed roots.
Watering with hard water also results in the formation of a white crust on the surface of the soil and white streaks on the walls of ceramic pots.
Hard water is especially harmful for aroids, ferns, camellias, orchids and azaleas.
Features of standard agrotechnical techniques for caring for indoor plants in winter
- Watering. In winter, the watering regime changes. If the room is hot, the potted soil will dry out faster and the plants will need to be watered more frequently. If it is cold on the windowsill, then the earth will remain damp for a long time, so in this case you will have to water less often.
In any case, before watering the plant, you need to inspect the condition of the soil and water only when the top layer of the earth looks dry.
- Transplant. In winter, it is best to avoid replanting plants, tearing the root system and grafting.
The complex of factors that we have in winter are either not favorable for plants in general, or some plants are dormant in winter. Attempts at reproduction and transplantation will not find their "understanding" in this phase of the life cycle. The exception is the purchased "Dutch", which will have to be handled with partial removal of the native greenhouse soil. But this is a necessary measure, and it is advisable not to get carried away with this.
- Fertilizer. For plants that do not show signs of active growth, it is advisable to abandon feeding altogether in winter. Mineral salts that are not assimilated by the plant will only salt the soil and can make it completely unsuitable for roots - they may die.
Plants growing actively all year round can be fertilized in winter, but preferably less frequently than in spring and summer.
Blooming and recently purchased plants: on the one hand, it would be logical to feed them, so as not to create new problems for them, in addition to those that already exist. On the other hand, the long journey of plants from the greenhouses of Western Europe to our cold Russia, their long standing in the store in search of a new owner is already stressful. Therefore, many plants stop growing and stop blooming accordingly, fertilizers will be inappropriate here.
- Trimming and pinching. It is better to postpone these events until March-April.
- Reproduction. Except when you really want to share a cutting with someone, it is better to leave plant propagation in the spring.
- Pests. In autumn, plant pests are activated, for which dry air is more favorable. These are ticks and worms. The most effective remedy for ticks is currently "Neoron", against other insects - "Aktara" and its analogues.
In autumn and winter, pests become "more visible" for one simple reason: the growth of many plants slows down, and the reproduction of pests does not stop. Therefore, it seems that there are more and more of them.
- Diseases. In winter, plants may develop various rots of fungal and bacterial origin. For mushrooms, low temperatures are much more favorable than high temperatures. Therefore, if it is cold on the windowsill, the soil in pots with plants will dry out for a long time. This creates very good conditions for the development of soil fungal microflora, which significantly increases the risk of root rot. This problem is especially relevant for cacti and other succulents (lithops and other mesembriantemic plants), as well as for crotch (for example, stocks) and euphorbia.
Control measures are not to water plants that have wet soil. And water succulents only when the stems or leaves become lethargic: once every 2-3 weeks, or even less often. Do not water cacti and lithops in winter at all.
- Buying indoor plants in winter ... Most of the plants sold are grown in greenhouses using intensive technology, including optimal conditions for light, temperature, humidity and mineral nutrition.
Not only in winter, but during the rest of the year, plants brought home from the greenhouse (and even if they have undergone long transportation from distant countries and stood in the store for a long time) are stressed by the deterioration of the surrounding conditions. In winter, this situation only gets worse.
This does not mean that you do not need to buy plants in winter. But it must be borne in mind that the acclimatization of plants to the conditions of an apartment will be more difficult and longer than in spring and summer.
- Artificial lighting. This is a separate big topic. If you decide to supplement the lighting of the plants exactly and only in winter, the plants will only be grateful to you. But you need to take into account the minimum illumination rates for various indoor plants.
For example, for different types of tubular fluorescent lamps, the minimum illumination level sufficient for plant growth will be no more than 15-20 cm from the light source. And incandescent lamps have not only insufficient luminous flux, but also greatly heat the air. By supplementing the light with the plants, you increase the temperature in the crown area and decrease the relative humidity, in addition to the battery.
As far as plant groups are concerned, lighting makes some sense for tropical herbaceous plants that grow year-round. For cacti and other succulents, it will not be useful, because the luminous flux of common light sources is insufficient for these plants. For subtropical plants, lighting is probably not needed - they want a cool wintering on the windowsill.
Pyotr Lapshin, Cand. biol. Sci., Institute of Plant Physiology RAS (Moscow)
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