Don’t Mist Your Plants–Try This Instead

So it’s getting colder by the week–and indoors, it’s getting drier too. We feel it and our plants feel it.

Common wisdom has been to mist your plants if they need extra moisture, but that’s always seemed pretty silly to me. Let’s think about this for a moment.

If you’ve ever been to a dermatologist, they tell you to put on lotion to seal the moisture into your skin within 5 minutes of getting out of the shower. I’m not sure about you, but that 5 minutes goes by pretty fast, if you think about it–I never get lotion on me in time.

But if you keep your bathroom door closed (and don’t run a fan) that room seems pretty steamy compared to the rest of your house as soon as you open the door. But once you open the door, that “steamy” feeling goes away pretty quickly–by the time you go back after getting dressed, it’s usually gone, pretty much.

So think about the effects of a mister on your house plant’s leaves. You can drench the thing–and your table or rug–but how long will that last in your dry home? Perhaps as long as the effects of a steamy shower in your bathroom–several minutes or so.

I used to put bowls of water out next to my most vulnerable plants. This would allow the water to evaporate around the plants and to humidify the air on a full time basis.


Then another blogger suggested this brilliant idea to me. This is a boot tray. It was originally suggested to me as a way to protect windowsills. But I use it as a giant humidity tray.


You can see that I don’t take a chance that I might over-fill the tray and drown the plants by having their roots sit in water. I fill the tray with lots of water–and I have each plant either in a separate saucer or a decorative pot so that there’s no chance that it’s going to be sitting in the water in the boot tray.

So far this is working really well for all these marantas and calatheas that love humidity. What I am going to do about the fact that they love temperatures in the 70s and I only heat my home to the low 60s? That I haven’t figured out yet.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Mist Your Plants–Try This Instead

  1. The Chatsworth Lady November 24, 2019 / 4:08 pm

    When I grew orchids indoors I used a variation of this method by getting pieces of flourescent-light-fixture diffuser grate (sometimes called “egg crate”) from Home Depot and trimming them to fit inside humidity trays. I also used them full size to keep my baby peonies’ grow bags above the wood porch floor that they had to live on for awhile.

  2. gardendaze November 24, 2019 / 6:16 pm

    That’s very clever. I believe that I got the boot tray idea from you to begin with. I will bet these are great to suspend grow bags–that’s brilliant. It’s a good thing the plant companies have no idea what we’re using all these inexpensive items for–they would find a way to cash in somehow.

    Thanks for another great idea!


  3. tonytomeo November 30, 2019 / 8:11 pm

    I’ve seen something like this in use, and I’ve seen oyster bars used for growing such plants in, but I am not convinced that they are necessarily very beneficial in innately arid home interiors with good air circulation. Besides, if a plant needs that sort of attention, I would not grow it. I put potted plants where I want them, in pots that fit the situation. If they don’t like it, they go somewhere else.

  4. gardendaze November 30, 2019 / 9:26 pm

    Well so far it IS working beautifully for me. This is the longest time I’ve ever been able to keep a rattlesnake calathea alive (where these plants usually go for me without this system, even in the summer, is the compost bin). But we’ll see. No system is perfect.

    And I do enjoy a challenge now and again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.