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Moisture Balance
by Ruby Bayan

'Container Plants Grouping' by Ruby BayanMoisture-happy plants, like ferns, violets, and ivy, will not take kindly to gasping for water vapor in the low humidity environments of air-conditioned and heated offices. Many indoor plants require at least 50% humidity, especially those varieties which naturally grow in shady and moist forest areas. For these kinds of plants, steps must be taken to raise the humidity levels in the immediate environment.

Aside from regular and adequate watering, here are some ways to increase humidity levels for plants that require above average moisture:

  1. Set a glass or bowl of water close to the plants. A goldfish bowl or a small aquarium will help a lot.

  2. Spread a layer of gravel, pebbles, sand, or moss on a shallow tray, and set the pots on top of them. Keep the tray contents moist.

  3. Mist the plants (with a spray mister) at least once a day. The trick is to aim at the underside of the leaves, close to the soil. Water staying on the leaves can hamper the natural exchange of gases between the leaves and the atmosphere.

  4. Accentuate while raising humidity by adding a mini fountain or waterfall in the office garden set-up.

  5. Spread sphagnum moss, cinder, or mulch, on top of the soil, to help retain moisture and slow down the drying up of the soil (especially for porous clay pots). Be sure to check the soil itself for dryness to avoid over-watering (lift the moss or push off the mulch).

With the ideal air moisture level, plants grow healthy and flourish. Deprived of the necessary humidity in the atmosphere, plants can stagnate, droop, or even die.

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