Plant philosophy
Humidifier vs. radiator
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Humidifier vs. radiator

I’ve caught myself repeating the old tale of: „if winter is coming, you should reduce the watering”, but today I want to clarify this a bit, because lately have been running with watering can every other day. The reason I want to stop here for a moment is this : the potential reduction of watering depends actually on more factors than just the insufficient wintery supply of light.

I use Levoit humidifier, because it has warm mist mode. (*not sponsored)

Wintercare issues

Significant factors that influence watering schedule

Today I want to focus on temperature and humidity, but I will list all the factors that, in my opinion, influence the watering schedule during the year.

  1. Potting mix
  2. The material from which the flowerpot is made and the presence of drainage holes
  3. Temperature and it’s amplitude during the day
  4. Level and stability of humidity

First things first. What I’ve learned this year is that there is a vast void between plant care in a house versus an apartment. Because the temperatures and the humidity are somewhat static, apartments in general have this advantage of being a fairly stable environment for plants. Even if you use a radiator, the warmth lasts longer and doesn’t drop drastically at night. So – the amplitudes are smaller, and for plants this is golden. At my house the temperatures vary from 14 to 22 degrees Celsius (57-72 F). Believe me, this is a drastic fluctuation for most of my tropical plants. Not to mention that…either way this is waaaaay too cold.

So, let’s move to the merit.

Humidifiers and Radiators

My approach

Indoor jungle
It’s all about balance 😉

In both cases in a closed space, with the radiator turned on, the air looses its water saturation and the humidity drops. It impacts both plants and humans. For us the optimal humidity is around 45-55 %, tropical plants sometimes need more to thrive.

Also, when the radiator is turned off, and the humidity increases, there is a good chance of developing fungus in our living space. To reconcile our needs, there are several things that we can do.

The easies way to approach this is making a plan and sticking to it. I mean…we can’t go high and medium humidity at the same time. Stability, even if not optimal, is better for our plants, than giving them 80% of humidity for 3 hours a day. I’ve decided to try to keep my temperature at 21 degrees Celsius (70 F) and my humidity at 55%. Now, if you have a humidifier that can keep humidity on a set level, this is the easiest fix. Just switch it to desirable level and it will detect whenever there is a decrease in humidity and turn on in appropriate time. Same thing applies if you have a thermostat at home. The radiators will just turn on, when there is too cold.

In most cases though, we have to operate manually with at least one of those devices. I recommend to keep the humidifier on only when the radiator is also working. This way you can avoid the plant getting cold and wet, which can only cause a fungal infection and deterioration.

If you can’t keep your plants warm, then do not use a humidifier. Even if they are tropical, the humidity only works with the warm environment. If on the other hand you can’t use a humidifier, this is the place for an increased watering during the winter time. With the radiator on, the soil will quickly go dry. So don’t be confused. Yes it is winter, but also yes: your plants need water for the photosynthesis. So water them. And water them in the morning, because at night the temperature will drop. Unless the plants are in your bedroom and the radiator is on all night! We want to keep the roots as warm as possible, so we won’t get a root rot.

Last but not least. If you grow plants with the aerial roots, you can consider misting (the stem from which the roots are emerging, not the leaves). I do it trough all the winter months and every other listing I add some diluted fertiliser. They love snacking!

I hope that this was helpful, let me know in the comments!

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