Air humidity Gardening Houseplants Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

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


Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

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