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Horticultural Myth: Misting Your Houseplants

Misting your houseplants is a waste of time.

The myth that you should mist your houseplants daily throughout the winter has been circulating for a long, long time. I remember running about my first apartment with a spray bottle, misting all my plants’ leaves every day so they’d be able to enjoy the humidity they needed. And if I missed a day, I felt guilty about it.

Water stains on leaves: is that what you really want?

Then I read a bit more about the subject in a now-defunct houseplant magazine (anyone remember House Plants and Porch Gardens?) with statistics to show that it didn’t make an iota of difference, that the effect of all that spraying only lasted for about 5 minutes, depending on the season, bef0re the humidity dropped to its previous level. And 5 minutes of temporarily improved humidity didn’t even give the plants enough time to open their stomata just a bit wider to reap the bonanza!

So I’d been doing all that spraying, not to mention spotting the walls, the furniture, and even the plants’ own leaves with water stains, all for nothing?


Well, you can bet I immediately stopped misting my plants daily… and true enough, it made no difference whatsoever.

I still mist plant leaves when I need to remove a bit of dust, but that’s only very occasionally. I now humidify mostly by… having a lot plants!

For information on how to really improve the atmospheric humidity for your plants, read High Humidity = Happy Houseplants.20161207a


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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