Should You Mist Your Houseplants?

hand uses glass mister to refresh and add moisture to ficus houseplant

Dmitry Marchenko / Getty Images

Some houseplants love mist, others not so much. Here's what to know.

There are two kinds of houseplant keepers in the world: Those who mist and those who do not. And believe it or not, it's a topic of hot contention. Team Mist says that houseplants from tropical climes like the mist since they are humidity lovers; Team Don't Mist says that misting doesn't actually increase humidity, and may in fact lead to other problems like the spread of pests and pathogens.

I have swung both ways, and have found that my misted plants thrive. And it's good for us humans too; there are bona fide health benefits from interacting with houseplants, and misting is a nice way to spend some quality time with your plants.

In the end much depends on the type of plants you have and the climate you live in. But in support of misting, here is what you should know.

Should you mist your houseplants?

Many popular houseplants hail from jungles with moist air and do well when the humidity is between 30 to 40 percent. Many homes are drier than that – and while most houseplants can handle it, adding some moisture can help them thrive. Leaf curling, yellowing, and leaves with brown edges and tips are all signs that plant may not be getting enough humidity.

Which plants like moisture?

leafy green and white veined caladium plant outside in planter

Treehugger / Lindsey Reynolds

Some plants don't need extra moisture, but here are some that love it: Zebra plant (Aphelandra squarrosa), anthurium, orchids, fittonia, palms, African violet (but see next point), ferns, philodendrons, spathiphyllum, corn plant (Draceana fragrans 'Massangeana'), ctenanthe, banana, schefflera, arrowhead plant (Syngonium), pilea, caladium, croton (Codiaeum) and begonia.

Who not to mist

hand touches leaf of purple flowering African Violet houseplant on tray

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Do not mist plants with fuzzy leaves, like African violets and piggyback plants (Tolmiea) – water on their leaves will lead to permanent spotting. Here you can use a humidity tray. Fill a tray, plate, or bowl with pebbles, river stones, et cetera and fill with water just below the top. Place the plant on top, being sure that the water isn't touching the pot.Also, don't mist plants that don't require a lot of moisture, like succulents, dragon tree (Draceana marginata), fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata), yucca, pothos, ponytail plant (Beaucarnea recurvata), cissus and spider plant.

How to mist

  • Use tepid water and mist in the morning so that the leaves have a chance to dry out during the day.
  • Mist on the top and undersides of the leaves; they should look as if there has been a light dew.
  • Some plants can be misted daily, others only need it once or twice a week
  • Keep humidity-loving plants away from drafts, windows, doors and heating and air-conditioning ducts.

Group your plants

Putting plants together in a little huddle can also help them create humidity for one another. You can place small plants together, as long as they have enough space between them for a little air circulation. You can also groups small and large plants together.

In addition to misting, you can give your plants a gentle shower in the bathroom or outside with a hose, once or twice a year; this will clean the leaves and help prevent spider mites.

Lastly, moisture loving plants thrive in the bathroom (as long as there is proper light).