When it gets hot outside, the atmosphere becomes a little sticky. You will feel this heaviness in the air that seems to make you sweat more.
This is humidity!
It feels heavy and sticky because too much water vapor is in the air, which hinders evaporation. As a result, the sweat stays on our skin.
Though it may seem like you are sweating profusely, it’s actually the humidity that prevents sweat from evaporating.
Plants don’t work like that. However, they do perspire. Water absorbed by plants is drawn up by the roots and exits through the stomata or pores in their leaves.
This sweat evaporates, removing heat from the air, and giving a cooling effect. However, when humidity increases or there’s not enough water, the stomata close.
That’s when your succulent starts to deteriorate.
Different Plant Requirements – The Need for Less or More Humidity
The average humidity level in homes is below 30%. Succulents and cacti prefer a humidity level of 40%. On the other hand, tropical plants can survive in a humidity level of as high as 60% or more.
The ideal medium for plants that keep them happy indoors is a humidity level of 50%.
You don’t need to measure your home’s humidity level to determine if they live in their preferred condition.
The leaves will tell you more or less. If you are still concerned about the humidity level, there are several ways to change the indoor temperature.
A reliable and inexpensive solution is getting a hygrometer. It measures the humidity levels and tells whether your plant needs less or more humidity.
Make sure the level does not rise above 50%, or your succulent will get a fungal infection.
The good news is that if your succulent has thick leaves, it will survive for a long time in dry conditions. Generally, succulents need more moist air than warm air.
Plants with thin or papery leaves, such as a fern, need more humidity than a fiddle-leaf fig with thick leaves.
Does Humidity Kill Succulents?
Succulents are not too fond of moisture. Yes, they thrive in it, but they start to die when the level gets too high. In fact, humidity makes most plants lose their leaves.
Eventually, your succulent will develop rot and die. Remember, the more the humidity, the higher the damage, which will affect your succulent’s growth.
How to Tell If My Succulent Is Getting Too Much or Not Enough Humidity
Did you know that your succulents communicate with you? They tell you when they are thirsty and when the air is hurting them.
Following are some of the signs a succulent will display when the humidity level rises:
- Leaf tips become crusty, brown, or shriveled
- Wilting may occur
- The edges of the leaves turn yellow
- Flowers and buds shrivel and fall
- The leaves have suffered a lot, and when the heat is turned on in winter, they fall one by one
Following is some of the signs a succulent will display when the humidity level drops:
- Gray mold patches on leaves
- Rot patches on stems and leaves (Common on succulents and cacti)
- Gray fuzz on flowers
Managing Indoor Succulents
The humidity level inside the house is always high. However, it can be easily managed with a few tricks.
It’s important to know about the species of your succulents because they help you take care of them.
As mentioned earlier, plants with thin leaves need to be watered more frequently than thick leaves.
New plant owners are often concerned about watering their succulents. They do it excessively, which doesn’t sit well with the plant.
Succulents with thick, waxy leaves absorb water from the surrounding. This is why they don’t need to be watered daily. Since succulents are hardy plants, they can survive up to 10 days without water.
Let’s take a look at some tips on how to protect your plants in high humidity levels:
Water Your Succulent Once a Week
One of the things you need to ensure about your succulent is that its soil is completely dry before you water it.
Do the Soil Finger Test to find out if the soil is wet. Insert your finger into the soil and move it around lightly. If your finger comes up wet or covered in soil, do not water your succulent.
The more you will water your succulent, the more it will start to rot from the inside. First, the leaves will become squishy and change color, and the decaying stem will attract insects.
Once your succulent has dried, water it with lukewarm warm water. This water temperature mimics warm rain in the desert and helps the succulent absorb water better.
Place the Plants on a Windowsill
For moisture-laden air and ventilation, place your plants on a windowsill. It’s important to ensure proper airflow as this prevents the succulent from absorbing too much water.
If it’s raining and you just watered your succulents, place them in a drier area.
Use a Dehumidifier
High humidity levels can cause fungal problems, making your plant lose its leaves. A dehumidifier will help remove humidity from the room and keep the surrounding air fresh and dry. This will help your succulents thrive.
Change the Potting Medium
We have already discussed how wet soil can lead to your succulent’s death. Ensure the soil is loose and porous, so the excess water runs off.
To give your succulents a pick-me-up, change the pot and use one with a proper drainage system. Create small holes at the bottom of the pot, and then pack your succulent in with soil.
Now, when you water your succulent, the roots and soil will absorb as much as they need, and the excess will drain.
Use Grow Light
The humidity level is relatively high when the weather is cold in autumn and winter. The sun plays peek-a-boo with the clouds, and the plants yearn for sunlight.
Cloudy days are not suitable for succulents because perspiration increases. This is where a grow light comes in. It’s an electric light that helps a plant grow.
Theoretically, it provides the same light spectrum as the sun and reduces humidity.
Managing Outdoor Succulents
In-ground succulents require traditional soil. You need to mix in pumice or some other type of grit so that the soil dries out quickly.
Another way to keep your succulent roots dry is to plant them in a large mound of soil instead of under the ground. This way, when you water the succulent, the excess water will run off.
In winter and other humid seasons, in-ground succulents don’t require much water because they stay cool naturally than potted succulents.
However, keep a close eye on them and look for any decaying or fungal signs. You might be worried that you are overdoing the maintenance, but it’s easy to slack off and neglect your plant.
Protect Your Succulents from Rain
In summer, some areas receive more rain. This can be quite the survival challenge for succulents because they need time to dry. The soil will stay wet if it constantly rains or multiple times a week.
If you live in such an area, install shelter for your succulents. If possible, change their location. You can also use an umbrella to offer the plants shelter.
Do All Succulents Die in Humidity?
There are some succulents that actually thrive in humidity. These include
- Crassula Ovata (Jade Plants)
- Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)
- Portulacaria Afra (Elephant Bush)
- Kalanchoe Delagoensis (Chandelier Plant or Mother of Millions)
- Haworthia attenuate (Zebra Plants)
How to Provide Humidity for Plants That Love It
Unlike bringing back a succulent that has gone too far due to high humidity levels, providing moisture to it is quite simple. Here’s how you can do it:
Place the Succulent in a Humid Room
A bathroom is the most humid room in the house. Thanks to the constant flushing, shower, and multiple drains, moisture is in the air 24/7.
Make a Humid Tray
You can buy a humid tray online from Amazon. The tray is filled with small pebbles, gravel, and water.
The water level should stay below the pebbles so that it does not touch the succulent’s roots. Once the plant is placed on the tray, the surrounding water will evaporate and boost humidity.
Use a Humidifier
A dehumidifier can be used to lower humidity levels, so why not use one to offer your succulent humidity?
For a DIY solution, fill bowls of water and place them over the HVAC vents. Though not as effective as a humidifier, it will do the trick.
Mist Your Plants
Fill a spray bottle with distilled or filtered water and cover your succulent leaves with it. This increases the surrounding moisture and allows your succulent to live another day.
Depending on your succulent species, you might have to spray the plant multiple times a day. Remember, this is a temporary solution.
Too much misting can change the color of the leaves and cause spotting.
Huddle the Succulents
Plants are placed together to distribute their humid air. This placement works best for succulents that love humidity. Moreover, it creates an appealing look that freshens up your place.
Succulents love humidity, but not all of them! They would rather remain indoors and enjoy warm watering than be outdoors, exposed to high humidity.
Have a humidifier ready to give your succulents what they need for emergencies.