Humidifier steaming onto leaves of house plants

In case you didn’t know, plants love water! Humidifiers can be a great tool to keep your plants hydrated and happy, especially if you live in a dry climate. But getting a humidifier for your houseplants often comes with lots of questions and leaves you wondering how often should I use a humidifier for my plants?

This article will answer all your humidifier-plant-related questions so you can take care of your plants properly.

Do You Need a Humidifier For Your Plants?

You may be unsure if your plants even need a humidifier. While many people grow houseplants successfully without one, your plants will likely benefit and flourish in the added humidity.

What’s the Best Humidifier For Plants?

Warm Mist Vs Cool Mist

First off, humidifiers can distribute warm or cool mist depending on the model. But which will your plants like more?

The answer is that both kinds of humidity are acceptable, and have each has pros and cons. A warm mist unit may keep your plants warm and comfortable, but make the space less ideal for you.

And cool mist units may chill the room, making it cold on your plants. Cool mist unit may result in mineral buildups on your plants, which aren’t detrimental to plant health, but also not beneficial.

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers use cool mist to adjust the relative humidity in a room. They have a small fan that blows vapor out to raise the moisture in the air. These must be cleaned frequently to kill bacteria and prevent mold from growing.

If you neglect routine cleaning, the unit will likely grow mold. When mold spores disperse into the air, they may infect your plants and cause serious harm. Mold can kill plants very quickly, and if one plant is infected, it can spread to nearby plants.

Evaporative Humidifiers

Evaporative humidifiers use cool mist to raise moisture levels. These units use less energy. There is a vibrating plate inside that turns water into vapor. But the vibrations can’t kill bacteria and prevent mold, so the unit needs regular cleaning.

If mold spreads to your plants, they won’t be able to refresh the air in your home and may even die.

Warm Mist Humidifiers

Because warm mist humidifiers use a heating plate to evaporate the water, they kill bacteria, so they don’t need cleaning as frequently. As mentioned, a warm mist humidifier will slightly heat the room, fostering a more tropical climate for your green friends.

The downside to these humidifiers is that they pose a risk of burns if you have pets or children. They also use more electricity, so if energy is a concern for you, this may not be the best option.

Best Practices For Plant Humidifiers

How Often Should I Use a Humidifier For My Plants
 Source: Shutterstock

Follow this quick guide to using humidifers to hydrate your plants.

Placing the Humidifier

The ideal place for a humidifier to live is in the center of the room, elevated off the floor. It should be a few feet away from your houseplants but not so close that condensation builds on the leaves.

A small table in the center of the room is the best place for a humidifier to sit so it evenly disperses moisture throughout the whole room.

Running the Humidifier

Knowing when and how long to run the humidifier is important so you can ensure your plants are adequately hydrated.

The best time of day to turn on your plants’ humidifier is in the morning when they absorb the most moisture from the air. Turning it on too late may result in an extra humid room overnight, which is not beneficial to your plants.

You should use your plant humidifier every day to keep your plants healthy and hydrated. If the room feels too humid, you can take a day off, but the humidifier should be a consistent source of moisture.

You can run your humidifier for your plants for between 3 and 5 hours every day. This should be enough time to raise the relative humidity and hydrate your plants. Use your judgment; if the room feels damp, use it for 2 or 3 hours a day. If the room still feels dry after 5 hours, consider bumping it up to 6 or 7 hours a day.

Filling the Humidifier

You must use distilled water when humidifying your plants. Not only will undistilled water cause mineral buildups in your humidifier and on your plants and other surfaces, but can weaken your plants’ health.

Impure water can add toxins and other imperceptible substances that may not be good for your plants. It is always best to use distilled water or at least filtered water.

Cleaning the Humidifier

Humidifiers must be cleaned regularly to safely and cleanly disperse moisture into your space. Neglecting to clean your humidifier will result in bacteria and mold, which are harmful to you and your plants.

Use an antibacterial or antimicrobial substance to clean your humidifier, like a teaspoon of bleach or a cup of distilled white vinegar. Make sure to clean the water tank thoroughly with a warm water solution and scrub off any residue on the inside.

Plants That Benefit Most From a Humidifier

  • Boston Fern
  • Alocasia
  • Air plants (Tillandsia)
  • Bamboo
  • Bird’s-nest fern
  • Orchids
  • Dracaena

Bottom Line

Getting a humidifier for your plants is a wonderful way to keep them hydrated and make your home more comfortable in the process.

If you live in a dry climate, it can be taxing to keep your little green friends well-watered. If you worry your plants aren’t getting enough moisture, a humidifier can be a wonderful addition to your plants’ space.


Can plants get too much humidity?

Yes, you can over humidify your plants. Tropical plants will likely be okay, but plants that enjoy moderate climates may develop a disease if they are in a humid and uncirculated space.

This is why it’s important to buy the correct size and run it at the appropriate times. Is there another way to raise the relative humidity for my plants?

Are there other ways to increase humidity for my plants?

Sometimes you can find places in your home that are naturally more humid, such as your basement. Keeping your plants in these areas can increase the moisture around your plants.

You can also keep your plants on a wet tray filled with pebbles. Water will evaporate and humidify the air, but this is only effective for small plants.

How big of a humidifier do I need?

This depends on how big your plant room is. Humidifiers often come in 30-pints, 50-pints, or 70-pints. You’ll likely require one of the smaller ones if the humidifier is just for your plants. Every humidifier will specify what square footage it can work in.