Plants are affected by humidity in different ways. Some, like succulents, do not tolerate it well. In fact, some varieties of succulents can easily succumb to rot brought about high humidity. It is possible to keep succulents if you live in a humid area. However, there are a few things that you will need to do to counter the effects of high humidity levels.
So in general it can be said that succulents do not like humidity, at least not for prolonged periods.
How does humidity affect succulents?
The combination of high humidity and poor air circulation hampers a succulent’s ability to evaporate water. When this happens for a substantial amount of time, your succulent can rot.
Plants have a part known as stomata which they use to regulate temperature and reduce the loss of water. When the temperature is too warm for a plant, it closes its stomata to prevent dehydration. However, it cannot close its stomata for a long time. Doing so will increase the oxygen and CO2 molecules inside it. With increased oxygen and CO2 inside a plant, it can eventually die.
During periods of high humidity, plants also have a difficult time drawing nutrients from the soil. Fungi also thrive in high humidity, spelling more problems for you and your succulents.
Understanding humidity and plants
But what exactly is humidity?
Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor present in the air. When there is high humidity, there is a high volume of water vapor in the air.
Furthermore, high humidity makes it harder for people and even plants to cool off. This is because sweat, and in the case of plants, excess water, cannot evaporate.
Helping succulents deal with high humidity
In an ideal scenario, you should provide your succulents with ample sunlight. This is why many varieties thrive outdoors.
However, if you prefer to keep your succulents indoors, transferring them back and forth from inside your home to your yard may seem like a difficult task. This is especially true for large succulents.
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to work around these issues while curbing the effects of high humidity in your home.
Avoid excessive watering
When you keep succulents, one of the most important things that you need to learn at the start is that these plants do not like excessive moisture.
This becomes even more important when you grow succulents indoors and you live in a location with high humidity.
During times when humidity is high, you should water your succulents just once a week. Do not water your plants again if the soil is still moist. This is the mist important tip for keeping rotting at bay and your succulents healthy.
One trick that expert succulent growers often use during periods of high humidity, especially during winter, is to water their plants with lukewarm water. This trick works in two ways. First, it mimics the warm desert rain, and second, lukewarm water is absorbed faster.
It is also a good idea to learn when a particular variety of succulent goes dormant. Generally speaking, succulents go dormant during winter. There are, however, some succulents that go dormant during summer.
When a succulent is dormant, its water requirements are substantially reduced.
If you have overwatered your succulent you need to take steps to save it, see tips in our article on how to save an overwatered succulent.
Improve indoor air circulation
If you are planning on keeping your succulents indoors exclusively, you should strongly consider investing in a dehumidifier.
A dehumidifier works like a vacuum cleaner. First, it sucks the air in the room. After that, it collects moisture which drips into a collection tank. Then, the dry air is blown back into the room.
Place your succulents near windows
Windows are the perfect place for many varieties of succulents.
During humid times, placing your plants near windows helps them get rid of excess moisture through improved ventilation and getting more sunshine.
Use the right type of soil
In the wild, succulents have evolved in such a way that they can get water from arid soil. They also possess the unique ability to store high levels of moisture inside their bodies. Succulents do not like being in moist soil for extended time and can survive without water for a relatively long time.
If you just brought home a new succulent, be sure to check if its container has the right type of soil. Ideally, you should use a well-draining soil mix consisting mostly of porous materials.
Take note that some nurseries grow succulents in organic soil. This is not necessarily bad as young succulents need more moisture compared to mature plants. However, as your plant grows, it will require fast-draining soil.
Ideally, you should use pots that have drainage holes in them. This is even more important if you live in a place where it can get too humid. Avoid placing your succulents in glass bowls that do not have drainage holes which allow excess moisture to run off.
Invest in a grow light
High humidity indoors often coincides with the cooler seasons. During these times, the sun is often barely visible.
You can overcome these adverse conditions by buying a grow light for your plants.
Grow lights can help you meet your succulent’s light requirements while at the same time, aid in the reduction of humidity.
Learn the specifics of your succulent variety
When you are just starting your succulent collection, it is a good idea to learn the individual requirements of each species you are planning to acquire. This includes a succulent variety’s tolerance of humidity. Simply put, if you are aware of the characteristics and needs of that succulent, you can provide better care for it.
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