We all know plants need water to survive, and we tend to dispense that water from a faucet or watering can—not from the nozzle of a spray can. But gently misting some houseplants offers a bevy of benefits that will help them thrive over the long haul. So, read on to find out why you might want to add regular misting to your plant care routine, as well as the correct way to do it.
The Benefits of Misting
Many of our houseplants come from the tropics, where humidity is very high. However, "the air in our homes is generally dry," points out Trey Plunkett, Lowe's lawn and garden specialist. Misting houseplants is a very simple and effective way to boost humidity. "Misting is also an easy solution to the risk of overwatering your plants," he adds, instructing to, "pay attention to the color and texture of the leaves on your plant. Plants with brown or dry leaf tips will benefit from regular misting."
When to Mist
As Plunkett puts it, "Plants don't like to go to bed with wet feet," and that's why he recommends watering and misting plants in the morning. "Some houseplants require constant moisture, while others thrive in a much drier environment," he says. "To check the moisture level of your soil, stick your finger into the soil to a depth of one inch—midway between the rim of the pot and the base of the plant. If the soil feels dry, it's time to water or gently mist your houseplant."
Types of Plants That Like Mist
Tropical houseplants and plants that love high-humidity—such as the Chinese Evergreen, Boston Fern, and Majesty Palm—will benefit most from misting, says Plunkett. (Zebra plants, orchids, arrowhead plants, and begonias are just a few others that love mist.) "It's best to mist each of these plants as you see the top inch of the soil become dry to the touch," he says.
Plants You Should Never Mist
"Succulents are drought-tolerant and do not require misting," says Plunkett. Instead, "they enjoy dry, low-humid air." (Fiddle leaf figs and spider plants, two popular indoor choices, might also wither under extra moisture.) Of course, you have to be careful not to overwater even plants that love mist, he warns. "Overwatering—which is the most common cause of plant death—can create a moldy film and stunt root growth," Plunkett says. "If your soil is too wet, it will begin to smell, the roots will begin to rot, and diseases will find a home in the soil's wet environment. Be sure to avoid spraying, misting, or washing hairy-leaved plants, such as the African Violet."
The Best Products for Misting
Plunkett recommends investing in a moisture, light, and pH meter. "The meter is easy to use, just plug in the probe and adjust the switch to measure moisture, pH, and light reading," he says. "Plus, the meter comes with moisture and light charts to help you care for more than 50 types of indoor houseplants." But beyond that, a simple plastic spray bottle "is the easiest solution for properly misting your plants," he says. And if you'd like to add a little shine to your plants, you can also mist them with Miracle-Gro Leaf Shine, which promotes hard-leaf health, resulting in beautiful foliage. "The water-based solution is sold in an easy-to-mist bottle, contains mineral oil, and can be applied to leaves when they look spotty or dull," Plunket says.