Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

A Natural Humidifier for your Houseplants

novembre 17The air in our homes is often very dry during the fall and winter months. And the colder the weather outdoors, the drier the air indoors. If so, your house plants can suffer from browning or drying leaves, leaf drop, lack of flowers, etc. One way to remedy this is place them on a humidity tray.

Fill a waterproof tray with pebbles, gravel or clay pellets and place your plants on it. Note that they will not need a saucer in the coming months: the tray will catch any excess water. Now, whenever you water, pour a bit extra into the tray. The goal is not to cover the stones with water (you don’t want the bottom of the pot to be soaking in water), but simply that their base sits in water. The water will then rise by capillary action and evaporate, providing beneficial humidity your plants.

Note that this effect is very localized: it really only helps plants growing right over the tray. Also, the humidity tray will be especially efficient in homes where the air is very dry. If you use a home humidifier to maintain a good indoor humidity, the humidity tray won’t make much of a difference.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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