Do your houseplants have brown-leaf tips, or are the leaves curling up? You may think you are doing everything right for your indoor garden, yet the problem appears to stay the same. Most often, the symptoms lead you to think it is a watering issue, yet the chances are, it is the humidity level in your home.
Many houseplants originated from humid rainforests where the air is thick with humidity. Unfortunately, these conditions don’t exist in most homes. When you face humidity problems, you’ll often find tropical plants love a little extra moisture.
You have these problems with low humidity because your plants are trying to conserve water. Thus the challenge is knowing the difference between plants being underwater or your plants’ leaves reacting to humidity through this leaf curling. Should this continue, you’ll see leaves yellow and brown, and then you’ll have falling leaves before your plant dies. (Read Leaf Curl On Pepper Plants)
In our guide, you can learn more about low humidity symptoms plants have. By the end, you’ll know how to check because you’ll find high humidity symptoms plants exhibit can be root rot and fungal disease, among others.
The good thing is you’ll know quite a bit more about how air temperature doesn’t automatically mean you have lower humidity.
Does Low Humidity Cause Curling Leaves?
The relative humidity is water vapor you fin in the air relative to the maximum amount of water vapor the air in the atmosphere holds at any given temperature.
What Is Low Humidity For Plants?
For example, if the relative humidity is 75% at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, every bit of the air in the respective space contains 75% of the maximum amount of water it could hold at that temperature.
At 75% humidity, the air will probably feel heavy and uncomfortable.
Because high humidity conditions are quite unbearable for us as humans, we keep our homes at a relatively low humidity level.
The average home has a humidity level of around 30% or less. But most plants, even those that prefer dry conditions such as succulents, prefer the humidity to be at 40% or higher, and many more thrive at 60% or more!
Low humidity conditions can occur at all times of the year but are most prevalent during the dry winter months as you heat your homes. The results of this are it sucks up all the moisture in the air; thus, keeping indoor plants at the humidity level they thrive in is challenging.
What Happens If Humidity Is Too Low For Plants?
As we have seen, low humidity symptoms are tough to diagnose since they are mixed up with low soil moisture and lack of water.
Along their edges or tips, leaves may turn brown and dry. This is a crucial clue to figuring out if you have humidity issues or it is under-watering. Humidity problems affect the plant’s tips, and under-watering is typically seen at the edges of the leaves. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies With Hydrogen Peroxide)
To quickly identify levels of humidity, you need to use a Hygrometer.
These are used frequently to monitor humidity and temperature in a grow room. Such devices can also help if you need to check if you have low humidity for seedlings, as this can quickly kill them, although this can be easily rectified.
How Can I Fix Low Humidity For My Indoor Plants?
The simplest way to fix low humidity for your indoor plants is to raise the humidity levels.
Here are a few ways you can do this for most plants in your home.
Use a Humidifier
When indoor humidity levels are too low in the winter, many homeowners turn to a home humidifier.
You could position a humidifier close to your moisture-loving plants, so they deliver the required amount of humidity.
To set the humidifier, select the warm mist setting and use distilled or filtered water.
The warm dampness simulates the conditions that most tropical plants grow in. Such devices turn off when the levels are reached.
You can position fans near your humidifier to help circulate air and humidity near your plants.
Grow in a Humid Environment
Considering the environment is a simple approach and could put an end to humidity problems. If possible, choose an area with a more humid environment in your home, and the grow space isn’t exposed to drying drafts.
Group Similar Plants
You may even address low humidity by assembling particular plants by having a centralized grow area. Then, put all your plants together that enjoy humidity.
They will inevitably have naturally higher humidity levels when they exhale, creating a sort of microclimate inside your house. The more plants you have together, the more humidity they create for each other.
Use Cloches or Terrariums
A humid environment can also be produced inside a transparent mini-dome. This only works for plants that can fit inside the container, like your clones, but it can help provide plants extra hydration without increasing the humidity in your entire home. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Maple Tree Helicopters)
Use a Humidity Tray
You might also think about placing water-filled pebble trays beneath your plants. This simple approach is to raise the humidity level around a single plant by adding more moisture around the bottom.
Just make sure the stones keep the pot’s bottom above the water to avoid oversaturating the growing media.
Misting helps improve humidity, but the benefits of water vapor are short-lived, and you can cause other issues using this method.
On the upside, misting creates the desired humid atmosphere, gently washes leaves, and can discourage pests like spider mites.
Misting creates a fine fog of moisture to surround and cover your plant. Some plants need daily misting, while others two to three times a week.
Over-misting your plants could cause fungal problems where water droplets sit on the leaves, and cause them to be too wet, so mist early in the day to avoid water sitting on leaves at night.
Why Are My Leaves Starting To Curl?
Reevaluate the plants you are cultivating if you still have low humidity problems.
Think about growing plants that like low humidity, such as:
1. Snake Plant
If you need to keep the humidity low, the snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is a great plant to grow.
The plant can easily resist low humidity, low light, and various temperatures.
Succulents, like cactus plants, thrive at low humidity levels. They differ in terms of the amount of light, moisture, and humidity required, but most prefer sunlight and thrive in media that drains well.
3. Baby Rubber Plant
The baby rubber plant grows slowly, a small houseplant with dark green foliage.
Although it resembles a succulent in appearance, it is not a true member of this genus. Low humidity and bright lighting are both tolerable to it.
Can Curled Leaves Go Back To Normal?
Cannabis plants can’t call for help, although they can signal you to tell you all is not well.
If you grow this type of plant, you could see cannabis leaves curling like other houseplants.
Here are a few causes and fixes you may need to know to control the moisture in the air to produce a high RH plants need. Or the issues you can face when you have extra moisture in the air because it is too cool in your growing room.
With all these here, you should be able to keep your plants happy.
The roots of your plant can practically drown if you overwater. Besides washing away the most helpful bacteria from the medium, too much water can cause the substrate to become colonized by harmful fungus and algae.
The parasite Pythium, also known as root rot, is typically attracted by persistent over-watering. When leaves become drooping and claw-like, plants may try to alert you they are wet.
Water mold must be welcomed before it will harm plants. Make sure they’re unwelcome and stay out of your garden. Maintain a wet-dry cycle, and to know when it’s ready to water, you can use the weight of your pots.
If you can’t lift the containers, use a moisture meter, and observe plant behavior after watering.
Reduce water or water less often. Pythium is virtually incurable and turns plant roots into mush. If roots sit in excess water, plant leaves droop and curl as they can’t absorb nutrients through the roots.
Too Much Fertilizer:
Too many nutrients won’t help your plants and have the opposite effect. Leaf clawing results from excessive amounts of nitrogen-rich vegetative growth-based nutrients.
Similarly, excessive potassium and phosphorus during flowering results in scorched tips and curled cannabis leaves. (Read Brown Spots On Leaves During Flowering – What To Do)
A feeding chart is available for free download from the websites of almost all fertilizer brands, yet different plants may react to fertilizers differently.
Starting low and slowly increasing is preferable. Then, without seeing curling or clawing leaves, doses can be escalated.
Make sure the nutrient solution leaves you with the proper soil pH.
Indoors or outside, heat stress can happen. Your plants are trying to tell you something is wrong if leaves curl and have unattractive brown fringes.
At mild temperatures up to 28°C, most plants can photosynthesize effectively.
Even when the lights are off, heat stress accelerates evaporation. Most of the damage is to the upper leaves.
Curling helps plants retain moisture. Heat stress can be a concern in any space where temperatures are consistently above 80 degrees F, but it is more common in plants that are too close to high-intensity lighting.
Your plants are at risk at any temperature over 30 °C. You have severe issues if you couple this with low RH. Old leaves may curl yellow and burn to a rusty, brown crisp, while new leaves wilt and become gnarled.
The ideal climatic conditions must be continuously maintained for indoor growers. The optimal distance of grow lights is the first step in stopping curling in cannabis leaves.
Indoor growers can use fans and air conditioning to keep the grow operation cool and control everything to hit the sweet spot of what plants desire.
Most growers thin out plants to enhance airflow between plants, so any flowers have space to bloom. Note that temperatures will be cooler at night, so ensure it doesn’t get too cold as cannabis leaves can show the same symptoms.
Install fans in your grow room to exhaust heated air and draw in the cooler, fresh air.
With four pairs of legs, no antennae, and sharp jaws that puncture plant cells and suck out the contents in new growth, spider mites are tiny relatives of spiders that leave behind yellow, orange, or white speckles.
In less than a month, a single spider mite female can produce thousands of young mites, which means they can turn into a major annoyance.
Fix and Prevention:
Separate the infected plants from other plants and spray them with a solution that will kill the eggs, larval stages, and adult pests.
On clones, spider mites propagate from garden to garden. Give a new plant a good bath on the tops and bottoms of the leaves before adding it to your indoor garden.
Keep it separate from other objects for a week while you look for spider mites or their tiny egg sacs on the underside of leaves, as they require dry circumstances.
You can see a white to gray powdery coating, particularly on young leaves. Leaf edges blister and forces them to curl upward.
The disease is powdery mildew and most noticeable on new growth in humid conditions.
After turning brown because the covering prevents light from penetrating them, highly infected leaves eventually turn. (Read Is Powdery Mildew Harmful To Humans)
In environments with little ventilation and excessive humidity, fungi thrive.
Fix and Prevention:
Use a three-in-one garden spray when the white fungus initially appears and spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves.
This fungus thrives in the dampness of indoor gardens. Give plants plenty of space between them so moisture can escape and use fans to generate a gentle breeze that helps cool the air and regulate humidity.