Orchids are the favorite flowers of many American homes. They are colorful, small in size, and easy to grow. The main problem that growers face while growing orchids is low humidity.
It is the percentage of moisture in the air. The general home humidity which is 40% to 65 % is enough for caring orchids.
But in some parts of the country and in some seasons the home humidity drops down below 40%. This condition is deadly for growing orchids.
In today’s post, I’ll explain how you can fix this low humidity problem without spending much money on fancy humidifiers.
Also, you will learn how to measure humidity and what are the traditional ways to increase it.
Let’s dive in:
The connection between Humidity and Orchids
The ideal humidity range for orchids is 40% to 70%. If you are living in hot areas then you need to maintain a higher number. It acts as a constant source of water for growing flowers.
In highly humid areas, your plants will never face dehydration and dryness issues.
Low humidity directly affects the appearance of the plant. Your plants start wilting and look dull and lifeless.
For vibrant orchid plants and beautiful bright flowers, your orchids need a good percentage of moisture in the air. Because orchids are plants that are capable of absorbing moisture from the air.
Why air circulation is necessary along with humidity?
Air circulation is necessary to keep the plant fresh and disease-free in highly humid weather. Because the moisture in the air weighs the plant down.
To prevent this common issue, you should use a small fan in the room. The air from the fan pushes moisture into all corners of the room.
Do not put your plant in front of an oscillating fan, a paddle fan is best for this purpose. Set the speed to medium level and turn it ON.
Do not forget that your plant needs air circulation for 365 days of the year. Some people turn off the fan at night time and this is their biggest mistake.
Now you may think that how air circulation can help in growing orchids. Actually, the air in the room gently moves the foliage.
The plants feel that they are growing in an outdoor garden. This air only allows a limited amount of moisture to sit on the leaves.
Important benefits of Circulating air:
It prevents fungal and bacterial diseases along with the mold.
It also prevents pest infestation and general plant diseases.
The airflow keeps the room temperature in control and you never face temperature stress and this stimulates the new leaves.
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How you can measure humidity and its needs?
I have already mentioned above orchids need 40 % to 70 % humidity depending upon the type of weather.
To know about your home humidity, you need to measure the relative home humidity. In simple words, you need to measure the air moisture relative to the air at some particular temperature.
For example, condensation takes place when the relative humidity is 100%.
The general rule says hot air can hold more moisture as compared to cold air. This is the reason in the summer season your plant will never face low humidity.
This problem is common on cold days of the year. This is the reason we never suggest anybody put their plants under the air conditioner.
To measure humidity, you need to buy and learn how to use hygrometers. These are devices that are specially designed to measure the humidity of any place or room.
You get one from Amazon for under $60. Some are cheap hygrometers they will cost you around $7 to $20. They are mechanical devices.
The electric hygrometers will cost you between $ 25 to $70 depending upon the features and brand.
Before using it just make sure that your hydrometer is correctly calibrated.
How to save orchids in too high humidity?
No doubt your orchids need a good percentage of air moisture. But do you know that humidity above 70% is dangerous for plants?
In this case, you need to make some changes to save your plant. Below is my way of saving orchids on highly humid days.
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Stop watering your orchids on highly humid days. Generally, they need less water and like to live on the little dry side.
High humidity + water = Root Fungus
To avoid it you must check the soil condition before watering. If the soil is dry to its half, then you can give some amount of water to your growing orchids.
To help your plant you can use soil that does not hold much moisture when watered.
Place the orchid pots on a sunny window this will help them in dealing with high moisture. The light rays increase the temperature of the potting soil and plant.
This evaporates the extra moisture from the soil and from the plant leaves. This benefit of bright light keeps your plant safe in all weather conditions.
Only expose your plant to morning and evening direct sunlight. Because at these times sun emits low intense light. This prevents the chances of light burn or sunburn.
The soil must be fast-draining that cannot hold much water. Avoid cocoa coir, perlite-like substances that can hold heavy amounts of water.
Tree fern and peat moss must be the top ingredients of the potting soil. There are many brands that make this type of soil for orchid plants. Visit Amazon to know more about these brands.
Do not go for homemade local garden soil. Use branded soil and you will feel the difference in your orchid health.
How will you know your orchids are not getting enough humidity?
The first thing that you need to check to know about the level of humidity is the potting soil. Soil is the first thing that impacts badly with low moisture.
Inspect the soil if it is dry and crumbles on touch then this means it is out of water.
The second thing you can do is check the orchid leaves. In low humidity, orchid leaves feel dry and their tips start turning brown.
Weak and lifeless flowers also indicate low humidity. If you feel hot in your home your plant, feel the same.
If you feel your home air is dry then it is also dry for orchids too.
What are the proven ways to increase humidity for Orchids?
Below are the trusted methods of increasing general home humidity. All methods are tested by professional growers including me.
This is the traditional method and it works every time you need to increase relative humidity. In this method, we group all plants together in a room.
It does not matter you are placing aloe vera near the orchid. Together these plants make a moisture bubble around them.
Moreover, the wind cannot make the soil dry especially the plant that is in the middle. These middle plants release water vapors and they stick to the leaves of outer plants.
This natural mechanism increases the humidity by 5 % to 7%.
These are the simple solutions to low humid days. If you have a room humidifier then you can use it to increase the humid level for orchids.
But you if want to buy only for your plants then you need to buy plant humidifiers. These are specially designed humidifiers for plants only.
They are affordable and you use just need to place them next to your plant, turn it ON.
Within a few minutes, it will increase the entire room’s humidity. They are portable and you can easily transport them to any part of your home.
In this traditional method, we use a tray and fill it with water and put some pebbles in it. Then put your plant over it.
When the air touches the water, it gets evaporated and these droplets stick to the plant stem and leaves. This increases the humidity.
Misting is like watering your plants in a controlled manner. You use the spray water bottle and mist water on dry leaves and stems.
This technique is a little dangerous because too much misting can increase the chances of leaf fungus. Then this fungus goes to the root zone and starts eating roots.
I suggest you mist water only 3 times per day and 5 to 7 sprays at a time. If your plant still feels dry then jump to other methods.
To keep your orchids happy take care of their humidity requirement. All the easy-to-do methods are listed above. All are effective as per the degree of dryness in the air.
Use a hygrometer to measure the room humidity and then test all the methods one by one to know what is best for your orchids.
Now that you know orchids like humidity and how you can increase it. Grow your plants without worrying about low air moisture.