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How to Increase Humidity for Happier Orchids

How to get enough humidity for your orchids, while protecting your home from mold.

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humidity for orchids

It’s no secret that orchids love humidity, but finding the right balance for you and your orchids can be tricky.  But, it doesn’t have to be.  

Although orchids require humidity to thrive, the amount they need varies.  My recommendation is to purchase one of the many house-happy varieties.  When buying an orchid, ask the seller if the orchid needs a greenhouse, or if the orchid will thrive in your home. If they can’t tell you, then find another seller. 

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In winter months, especially when the furnace is running, air can be especially dry. Chapped lips, split lips and static electricity all indicate dry air. Or, if you’re like me and live in an arid climate, you may need to increase the humidity level in your home year round.  That said, it’s important not to over humidify. 

Although many orchids prefer humidity levels between 50-80 percent, the recommended humidity for our homes is between 30 to 50 percent. Find the sweet spot where you can live peaceably with your orchid and without encouraging any sporing friends. Most orchids will do just fine with lower levels of humidity.

Humidity Tray

One popular way to increase humidity is to use a humidity tray for orchids. Simply fill the tray with gravel then pour water into the tray until it is about halfway full.  This will ensure that the orchid pot will sit on top of the gravel and not in the water.  If an orchid’s roots sit in water they will rot and die. The idea is that water evaporating around the orchid will provide a micro climate of humidified air.

I hate to say this, but in my personal experience a humidity tray for orchids did absolutely nothing at all to raise the humidity level. I have a humidistat that displays humidity levels. When using the humidity tray my humidistat readings hovered around 35%. After I dumped the humidity tray, my humidity levels continued at 35%.

Only by using a humidifier did I, according to my humidistat, raise my humidity levels. Perhaps if you live in a more humid area, a humidity tray will make a difference for you. Please comment below to let me know if you’d had success with a humidity tray for orchids. 

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 Humidifier

Because I live in a high desert, I use a humidifier, and it works.  You can purchase a humidifier at any local home goods store or ordered online.  When using a humidifier, use  follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that undue moisture does not accumulate. Check windows and mirrors for condensation–those are signs of too much humidity. We don’t want to encourage mold! If you want to take the guesswork out of your humidity levels, you can buy a humidifier with a humidistat.

Buy a humidifier with the largest water tank that you can afford. This will reduce the number of times that you will have to refill the tank, which is kind of a pain. Using a fan will increase air circulation, preventing bacterial disease on your orchids and mold spores in your house. 

How to Increase Humidity for Happier Orchids

How to get enough humidity for your orchids, while protecting your home from mold.

Read

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Humidistat

I am a big proponent of using a humidity gauge called a humidistat. This little guy will help you to make necessary adjustments  so you don’t get too little, or too much humidity. The humidistat that I use tells me the humidity high and low and also the temperature high and low over the past 12 hours. I check my humidistat regularly. It is interesting to observe the humidity change with the seasons.

I am a firm believer that bringing nature into our homes improves the quality of our lives, often in unexpected ways. Before growing orchids, the air in my house, especially during the winter months, was so dry my fingers would crack and bleed. If you’re finger tips have splits due to dry air, you know that they take FOREVER to heal. Now that I’m using a humidifier for my orchids, my fingers are reaping the benefits.

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4 Comments
  1. Nancy says:

    Thanks for this helpful info on humidity. It just makes sense that if my skin is dry, so are my orchids. Thanks for your sharing your insights!

    1. Anna says:

      So true and so simple!

  2. Anonymous says:

    this website is spectacular! and knowing you do all of the photography is just amazing. you really know your stuff Anna,

    1. Anna says:

      Thank you for your kind words! It was great to hear from you.

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START HERE to Learn More About Caring for Orchids

Find Out What I Wish I Knew When I First Started Caring for Orchids

YES! THANK YOU!