My first ever pothos plant did not grow well. When I saw photos of my sister’s devil’s ivy, I got a little bit jealous.
She lived in an area that was quite humid, while I live in a dryer climate.
Was it the humidity where my sister lived that ensured her pothos thrived and kept on growing? Or was it merely that she had green thumbs?
Do Pothos Like Humidity?
Pothos, or devil’s ivy, is a tropical plant. As such, these plants prefer humid climates where the level of humidity is at least 50%. Pothos ideally need humidity to grow to their maximum potential.
Why Pothos Need Humidity to Thrive
The beautiful green color of the pothos plant is derived from the chlorophyll in the cells.
Without getting too technical, the leaves and stems are also covered in small cells called stomata that help the plant breathe. This happens during the process of photosynthesis and plant respiration.
When they have enough water, these cells open fully, letting more vapor out. However, when your pothos is planted in a dry climate, it won’t let moisture out.
This also means the plant won’t grow as lush. After all, your pothos is literally holding their breath.
With high humidity areas, your pothos is well watered, and it can breathe better, which stimulates growth and the circulation of fluids.
Knowing When Pothos Need More or Less Humidity
I regularly check the humidity level of the room my pothos is in so I can make adjustments, ensuring my plant grows well. Using a hygrometer is the easiest way to check humidity levels.
Pothos ideally need humidity levels of 50-70%. And in terms of temperature, 65-85℉ (or 18-30℃) is perfect.
However, the level of humidity in your home changes due to weather and heating. The more often you check the humidity level, the more accurately you’ll understand your pothos’ needs.
Signs Your Pothos Needs More Humidity
When the air is too dry for my pothos, I notice the following signs:
- Leaves that are droopy and wilted
- Leaves that have brown edges
- Yellow leaves
- Leaf ends that turn crisp
While these indicators are also used to diagnose other issues, I always start by adjusting the humidity.
How to Decrease Humidity for Your Pothos
There are various factors that increase the humidity level. You need to know how to deal with these so the humidity isn’t too high for your pothos.
The first of these is overwatering. When I overwater my pothos, the moisture builds up in the soil.
Since some of this water will evaporate, it increases the humidity in the area around my plant.
The solution: I only water my pothos when the top two inches of the soil mix is dry, and then I water it well, soaking all of the soil.
The best way to test whether the soil is dry enough is to stick my index finger in until the topsoil reaches my second knuckle.
Second is the potting soil. There are some potting mixes that retain more water than others. Ideally, plant your pothos in a well-draining potting mix.
I’ve found that if my potting soil contains too many coconut husk fibers or peat, it retains more water. And if you live in a high humidity climate, this isn’t desirable.
The solution is easy. Simply add 20-30% grit or perlite to your potting mix to increase the water drainage.
The third factor that may increase the level of humidity excessively is air circulation or lack thereof. I’ve learned that when the humidity is high, it’s best to open some windows or doors to improve the air circulation in the room.
This is particularly important if your pothos plant is in your bathroom, where humidity levels with hot showers and baths can get really high.
Lastly, if you live in a high humidity area, adding grow lamps decreases the humidity. These lamps can also help your pothos to grow.
Just remember to not leave the grow lamps on all day and night. Plants, like humans, also need time to rest.
How to Add Humidity for Your Pothos
There are a variety of ways you can increase the humidity level for your pothos:
Option 1: Move Your Pothos
The kitchen and bathroom are generally higher in humidity than the rest of your house, making these ideal places for your pothos to grow.
Option 2: Use a Pebble Tray Humidifier
You can use a pebble tray humidifier or a gravel tray to raise humidity levels. I find that placing a layer of small pebbles in a tray and then filling it with water until it’s half-full works well.
I then place my pothos pot on the stones. The water evaporating from the tray ultimately increases the room’s humidity.
If you don’t have pebbles, you can use gravel.
Option 3: Use a Humidifier
Simply get a humidifier, plug it in where you have your pothos pot, and let the humidifier work its magic.
Option 4: Grow Your Plants Together
The natural way to raise humidity is to grow your potted plants together. A humid environment is created since when plants transpire, they give off moisture.
I generally group a few of my indoor plants growing together to build more humidity. The more indoor plants you keep together, the higher the humidity.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pothos Liking Humidity
Do pothos like humidifiers?
The short answer is yes, pothos like humidifiers and the higher humidity they make because they are tropical plants. You’ll find that the air in your home is likely to be dry, unless you live in a very humid area. Adding a humidifier to the room your pothos is located helps it to grow well.
Should you mist your pothos?
There is much debate about whether or not you should mist your pothos plants. I opt to not mist my devil’s ivy because it only increases the humidity for a short period. And by misting, you increase the chances of fungal diseases and pest infestations spreading.
The Final Word
An aspect that is often overlooked when we take care of indoor plants is the humidity level. Pothos is a low-maintenance plant capable of growing in low-humidity climates.
If you want your plant to thrive, then 50-70% humidity levels are ideal and you can easily up the humidity by placing your plant in the kitchen or bathroom or turning on the humidifier, or grouping plants together.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.