Reducing Humidity Indoors: What To Do When Humidity Is Too High

Indoor Potted Plants
(Image credit: Yandle)

There are lots of tips and tricks for keeping indoor humidity levels high, especially in the close vicinity of plants that need lots of humidity, like orchids. What do you do if your indoor humidity is too high though? As insulation techniques improve the seals on homes and greenhouses across the country, reducing humidity becomes a vital task. Not only does high indoor humidity increase the risk of damage to your home, it can cause problems for your plants.

Can High Humidity Hurt Plants?

There are some plants that are natives to sweltering tropical locales and love nothing more than air so thick with moisture that a normal person can barely breathe, but your typical indoor plants aren't among them. High indoor humidity levels cause serious problems for most inside plants by encouraging the growth of fungal and bacterial diseases, which often need very high humidity to infect tissues. The same goes for plants in greenhouses --greenhouse humidity control is vital to preventing the spread of disease. Splashing water caused by nighttime condensation further increases the risk of moving spores from infected plants to clean specimens nearby. Active disease can ravage your greenhouse plants and destroy months or years of work.

How to Reduce Indoor Humidity

Reducing indoor humidity in the home is sometimes a much easier task than in the greenhouse, since there's not as much water being constantly added to the environment. Homeowners with high humidity should check that their central air conditioning and heating are working properly --these systems are very good at helping to maintain a reasonable level of humidity. Checking your pipes, basement, and crawlspaces and other potentially cold surfaces for condensation may eliminate another source of moisture in the air. If surfaces are sweating, they can be insulated to put a halt to the formation of water that may be damaging your home and hurting your plants. Greenhouse operators have other options for humidity control and should increase the air circulation in the greenhouse right away. Watering less frequently and improving the drainage in your greenhouse will eliminate sources of excess moisture that may end up in the air. Adding bottom heat to plants to create microclimates will help prevent condensation on plant surfaces, reducing the risk of disease exponentially.

Kristi Waterworth

Kristi Waterworth was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for many years, answering countless queries on plant pests and diseases.