Do snake plants like humidity, or is this hardy houseplant happy with dry conditions?
Over years of keeping snake plants, humidity is probably the care requirement that I have paid the least attention to. This is because snake plants grow fine in moderate to low humidity around 40 to 50%, which is common for most homes (including mine).
There are some issues that humidity can cause for snake plants though, especially if the humidity is consistently out of this range. There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to snake plants and humidity, so let’s get straight into it.
- Why Does Humidity Matter?
- How To Measure Humidity
- Signs Of Humidity-Related Issues
- How To Increase Humidity For Snake Plants
- What About Misting?
- How To Decrease Humidity
- Humidity-Related Diseases and Pests
- In Summary
Why Does Humidity Matter?
Humidity is crucial for all plants, as they adapt to humidity levels based on their origins.
Snake plants, for example, are native to rocky and dry places in tropical Africa.
This means that snake plants prefer moderate to low humidity, and consistently high or low humidity levels may cause problems for your plant.
Maintaining the right humidity level helps the plant to efficiently absorb water and nutrients. When humidity is too low, your snake plant may struggle to take up water from its roots, leading to undernourishment and an unhealthy plant. It can also quickly dry out the leaves, leading to brown tips and spots.
On the other hand, when humidity is too high, it may cause the plant to droop, flop, or turn shades of yellow.
Proper humidity levels are also important for preventing the growth of fungi and bacteria on your snake plant. High humidity provides an ideal environment for pathogens to thrive, potentially causing rot, mold, and diseases in your snake plant.
Ideal Humidity For Snake Plants
Snake plants are generally easy to care for and often described as indestructible, and they flourish in a range of humidity levels. To keep your snake plant healthy, aim for moderate to low humidity levels between 40 and 50%
Snake plants can survive in humidity levels higher or lower than this, but prolonged exposures are not recommended as they can lead to issues like crispy leaves or attract pests.
Remember, snake plants are resilient and versatile, so even if your humidity levels occasionally fluctuate, there’s no need to worry.
How To Measure Humidity
Measuring the humidity level for your snake plant is a simple task but important task. Humidity is very hard to estimate, so it’s worthwhile measuring it so you can rule out humidity as a problem for your plant.
You can do this using a device called a hygrometer, which measures the humidity level in the air and displays it as a percentage. By knowing the humidity level, you can ensure that your snake plant thrives in its preferred environment.
These typically cost anywhere from 10 to 50 dollars and you can usually find one in your local garden store.
Signs Of Humidity-Related Issues
Here are some common signs that the humidity around your snake plant is not in the correct range.
If you notice your snake plant’s leaves are drooping, it could be a sign that it’s receiving too much or too little humidity.
Low humidity can make the leaves droop and go crispy, and high humidity can cause the leaves to droop but feel soft to the touch rather than crispy.
High humidity specifically attracts pests and can be a breeding ground for disease, especially if you mist the leaves as well.
Excess moisture is ideal for insects to feed on, and if it is left over time it can grow fungus and lead to issues like root rot or leaf spot.
Brown Spots And Tips
If you observe brown spots or tips on your snake plant’s leaves, it is a classic sign of low humidity.
If the humidity is too low the leaves will lose moisture faster via transpiration. This moisture loss happens fastest at the tips of the leaves, causing them to turn brown first.
Eventually, brown spots may form elsewhere on the leaves and they will turn crispy.
How To Increase Humidity For Snake Plants
It’s not very common for the humidity to be lower than that which snake plants prefer, but it’s still important to know how to increase humidity in those niche cases.
One simple method to increase humidity for your snake plant is by using a pebble tray – here’s how to make one:
- Find a tray or saucer that is larger than your plant pot.
- Fill the tray with pebbles or small stones, creating an even layer.
- Add water to the tray until it reaches halfway up the pebbles.
- Place your snake plant pot on top of the pebbles, making sure the bottom of the pot does not touch the water in the tray.
As the water evaporates, it will provide a more humid environment for your snake plant.
Pebble trays are great for snake plants because they won’t increase the humidity as much as a humidifier. Humidifiers are great, but I would only recommend them for plants that need high humidity above 60%.
Another effective way to raise humidity levels for your plants is by grouping them together.
When you group your snake plant with other humidity-loving plants, they create a microclimate, as plants naturally release moisture into the air through a process called transpiration. You can think of this as a ‘mini rainforest.’
What About Misting?
Misting your snake plant might seem like a good idea to increase humidity, but it’s actually not recommended. Snake plants prefer moderate to low humidity levels, and consistently high humidity can cause issues for them such as attracting pests and disease.
Misting should also not be used even if you need to raise the humidity, as the moisture on the leaves can promote fungal growth.
Instead of misting, consider other methods to maintain the appropriate humidity levels around your snake plant. I like to place my snake plant next to other plants like pothos and anthurium when it needs a boost of humidity.
How To Decrease Humidity
There’s a much higher chance that you’ll have to decrease the humidity for your snake plant, rather than increase it, as it’s much more common for humidity to be higher than 40-50% than lower.
There are several ways you can reduce the humidity to keep your plant healthy:
- Improve ventilation: Make sure your snake plant is in a room with ample airflow. Open windows, use fans, or turn on the air conditioner to promote air circulation. Better ventilation can help remove excess moisture from the air – just make sure the circulating air isn’t either much hotter or colder than the air around your plant.
- Move to a less humid room: If the plant is placed in a bathroom or laundry room where humidity levels tend to be high, consider moving it to a different room with lower humidity levels.
- Use a dehumidifier: A dehumidifier can help extract excess moisture from the air, effectively reducing humidity. Select the right size dehumidifier based on the size of your room for optimal results, and consider others that are nearby – I’ve had to move several of my plants due to running my dehumidifier over the winter.
Humidity-Related Diseases and Pests
The two major issues with high humidity (disease and pests) can cause the death of your snake plant if they are not dealt with quickly.
Here are the steps you can take to deal with both issues.
Fungal Disease Prevention and Treatment
Diseases can grow quickly and spread between plants in high humidity, especially if you mist your snake plant.
Make sure your plant has good circulation around it and avoid misting to lower the chances of fungus growing, and don’t overwater as this can quickly lead to root rot.
If your snake plant has been affected by a fungal disease, you can try treating it by:
- Removing any affected leaves with clean, sterilized scissors. In the case of root rot, lift your snake plant out of its pot and trim the affected roots.
- Using a fungicide, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and treat affected roots and/or leaves.
- Repot if necessary and make sure the other care conditions are met.
Managing Pest Infestation
Pest infestations can be a challenge for your snake plant, and it’s important to deal with them quickly as they will spread to your other plants.
Here’s a quick guide for dealing with pests due to high humidity:
- Inspect plants regularly for any signs of pests. Early detection and intervention can help prevent severe damage.
- Remove infested leaves or parts of the plant and isolate your plant from others.
- For small infestations wash down the plant with water regularly each day over the course of a week.
- For severe infestations use neem oil or insecticidal soap. Follow the product instructions for proper application.
In most cases, humidity shouldn’t be a problem for your snake plant.
These hardy plants are incredibly adaptable and it takes a prolonged period of time at the wrong humidity for problems to start to show.
If you want to learn more about snake plants, check out some of our other articles below: