Plants commonly referred to as succulents have gained popularity recently. Some of their most known traits are their low watering needs and unique appearance. Many gardeners and homeowners prefer succulents as they require less space to thrive and can bring beauty to your area.
Humidity is an essential factor to consider when growing your succulents. The ideal range for most succulents to thrive is between 10 and 30 percent relative humidity. Too much humidity will make your succulent leaves turn from green to yellow. Excess moisture or stagnant water can cause root systems to be unable to aerate properly, leading to root rot. It is VERY important to note that tropical succulents prefer to stay moister.
The blog post below will detail what humidity is and why it’s important in developing succulents.
What Humidity Do Succulents Like?
Humidity is a natural part of the air. Humidity exists in freezing conditions and hot desert conditions. Humidity is the measure of water vapor in the air relative to the maximum amount of water vapor that the air can hold at a specific temperature.
With relative humidity too high, air circulation between the succulent surface and the atmosphere could be better. The succulent is unable to have water evaporate on the surface exposed to the air, resulting in the plant’s inability to draw nutrients from the soil. Left unattended with these highly humid conditions will result in root rot and decay.
It is important to note that different succulents need different humidity levels. The best way to know the specific humidity your plant needs is to look up the scientific name of your plant and search for what humidity it prefers. Low humidity is simply the safest rule of thumb for most succulents. While some succulents prefer more humidity, most can handle low humidity.
Succulents are naturally adapted to desert and arid conditions. In dry arid conditions, the relative humidity levels range from almost zero in the desert to as high as 40 percent. Succulent leaves are adapted to store water to survive drought conditions. Most succulents’ ideal humidity ranges from 10 to 30 percent relative humidity.
How do you measure your humidity?
Knowing the relative humidity of your area will dictate what type of succulent will thrive in your area. Most succulents prefer low-humid regions, but some succulents grow in tropical conditions and are known to handle highly humid areas better.
One of the best ways to measure your humidity is a simple thermometer and humidity detector you can order online.
A simple way of knowing your succulents thrive in the summer humidity is by looking at the succulent leaf development. Do your succulent leaves appear to wither and wilt and then turn brown in low humidity? If so, then your succulent may desire more humidity. If more humid, does the green color of the succulent leaf start to turn yellow and mushy? If so, then your succulent wants less humidity.
Here is the list of succulents that thrive in highly humid areas:
Sanserveria (Snake Plant)
If your humidity levels are too high for your succulents, here are some things you can try:
Give your plants more space. Plants naturally give off their humidity, so grouping them together raises the humidity in the small space.
Turn on a fan. The air movement will help with evaporation. Just like you sweat, plants can sweat too. The moving air will help them perspire the extra moisture.
Run a dehumidifier. These are super easy to find; you can either get one for the size of the room you have your plants in or put your plants in a greenhouse or glass cabinet with grow lights and run a small dehumidifier there.
Another important thing to consider when dealing with humidity is; the higher your humidity, the more porous your soil mixture needs to be. If you grow succulents in 10 to 30 percent relative humidity, you can do a 50/50 mix of soil and inorganic items such as rocks, perlite, or coarse sand.
For every 10 percent above 30 percent humidity, you need to increase your inorganic matter but 5 percent of the mix until you get over 70 percent humidity. Over 70 percent of humidity increases the inorganic components by 10 percent; every 10 percent, the humidity increases.
Here is a chart to help:
Make sure to have your plants in pots with drainage. If your pots cannot drain, your succulents will be far more likely to die. When watering, bottom water your plants to reduce humidity. Bottom watering is when you take the pot with your succulent and set it in a bowl of water, letting your succulent pull the water up into the substrate. After about 20 minutes, you can let the water drain out before putting your succulent back where it belongs.
If your succulent came in a pot with rocks on it, remove the rocks as soon as possible. While rocks mixed in the soil help with draining, rocks on top of the soil hold moisture in. You can use a hair dryer on low heat to melt the glue if they are glued on.
If you have a pot without drainage, do NOT put rocks in the bottom of the pot. While the idea of doing this is often suggested to allow the soil to drain, the moisture sits in the bottom of the pot going stagnant, which leads to root rot.
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