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Misting plants may well be a waste of your time, according to house plant experts. Misting your tropical indoor plants regularly is probably the most common house plant care tip there is, and there are all sorts of plant misters available, from simple plastic bottle to fancy glass ones. But does misting actually do anything for your plants and does it give your indoor garden ideas a boost?
Not really, according to plant expert and broadcaster James Wong, who has explained in a recent article (opens in new tab) that although plant misting 'has been recommended for more than a century as a way of increasing humidity for forest species that hate dry indoor air', the amount of misting you'd need to do to make a difference isn't really achievable: 'Trials have shown that you would have to be misting at least once an hour to make a significant change to ambient air humidity and even I am unlikely to do that.'
The paradox of Wong's argument is that although it makes total sense that misting your best indoor plants once or even twice a day won't make any discernible difference to humidity levels around them, many of us actually are in a position to mist them hourly, because we're working from home. Especially if your plants are in your home office, reaching for the mister throughout the day may well still be beneficial for your tropical house plants.
And there are species of plants that seem to particularly enjoy misting. Liam Lapping from Flowercard (opens in new tab) lists Zebra plant, anthurium, fittonia, palms, ferns, Spathiphyllum, corn plants, and arrow head plants as mist lovers. 'A good way to know if your plants need some extra moisture is if their leaves are curling, yellowing or developing brown edges', he says.
However, not all plants like to be misted: 'Plants that should not be misted are generally any plants with fuzzy leaves, as extra water on these leaves can pool and lead to other problems. For these plants you could try using a humidity tray, which places water under the plant so it can draw in whatever it needs another way.'
In fact, if you don't think you can be bothered to mist hourly, even during lockdown, you may well be better off forgetting all about your plant mister and watering all your plants using trays instead. Or, even better, give them a nice soak in the shower.
If you have a serious issue with air dryness, for example because you live in a desert climate, then getting a humidifier is the only way you'll keep your tropical plants happy. It's less wallet-friendly than a mister, but it is a far more effective way to control humidity levels in your home.
Now you're up to speed with plant misting, head over to our indoor plant ideas for plenty of inspiration on how to display your house plants.
Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.
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