Looking for plants that reduce humidity? Humidity in the home can make a space feel uncomfortable. Too much humidity can also cause damp or mold to develop as well as turning fabrics musty, surfaces clammy and causing wallpaper to peel away from the walls. Finally, too much humidity may also affect your health, causing respiratory problems.
Many people struggle to find a reliable way to reduce the humidity levels in their home. While dehumidifiers are a popular solution however there is a better, greener option. Houseplants provide an effective, natural way to safely remove the damp, clammy air that sits in your home. They also provide color and interest, enlivening the space as well as cooling the air.
Plants that absorb humidity are a great addition to the home.
How Does it Work?
All plants are able to absorb moisture which is present in the air into leaves. Some are more efficient than others at this process.
The plant’s foliar uptake is key to how efficient they are. This enables the leaves to absorb dew, fog or other vapors through their stoma. After being absorbed, the moisture moves into the xylem before being fed through the plant and down into the roots. This process reduces the high humidity levels around the plants. Additionally, when the absorbed moisture transpires from the foliage it cools the air around the plant.
Plants that like moist soil are better suited to this purpose. Additionally, some plants that grow in arid areas with little rainfall are also able to process air moisture in this way.
In general people recommend Cactus and Palms as good choices for plants that absorb humidity. However there are a number of others that do the job just as well. Here are 10 of the best.
1 English Ivy
The first entry on our list of plants that absorb humidity is English Ivy. Ivy thrives in humid spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms. As well as absorbing humid air, English Ivy also purifies the air. Their presence can help to remove the unsightly mold that can develop in hot or humid places.
Further adding to the attraction, of all the plants that absorb humidity English Ivy has one of the lowest maintenance or care levels. Easy to maintain, English Ivy does not require exposure to lots of light. During the summer months they are happiest in a shady spot. Aim to keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Wilting foliage is a sign that you are overwatering. Overwatering can be serious, if allowed to continue it can lead to root rot.
Ivy is one of the most effective specimens on our list of plants that absorb humidity.
If conditions are too perfect the English Ivy quickly grows and spreads. In some areas English Ivy is considered invasive. However, if planted in a pot its spread is often curtailed. Like other types of Ivy you can also grow English Ivy in water.
For the best results, keep your English Ivy in a hanging pot such as a Mkono Geometric Ceramic Hanging Planter. Elevating the plant enables it to better absorb moisture which is in the air. As well as absorbing humid air, English Ivy also absorbs formaldehyde which is present in the air if you use certain cleaning products or carpet cleaners.
2 Bamboo Palm
The next entry on our list of plants that absorb humidity, Bamboo Palm produces attractive thin, dark green leaves. An elegant specimen, Bamboo Palm thrives in warm, humid conditions. It also does well in medium to low light levels.
A low maintenance option, the Bamboo Palm’s main requirement is that the soil should be kept moist, particularly during the summer months. If the soil is allowed to dry out the foliage may become crispy. When placed in a favorable, high humid position the leaves of the Bamboo Palm develop a healthy shine or gloss thanks to the excess moisture levels in the air.
Bamboo Palm is best placed in the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, providing a cool, relaxed addition.
While not strictly a bamboo plant, the stalks of the Lucky Bamboo, as the name suggests, can resemble a true bamboo plant. Coming in a range of shapes and sizes, Lucky Bamboo is a near indestructible plant that also absorbs humidity.
A good decorative plant, during the summer the humid rooms in a home are ideal for the Lucky Bamboo plant. During this period the plant grows quickly and may require repotting as often as once a year. Lucky Bamboo can be cultivated in water as well as soil.
Lucky Bamboo stems resemble those of a true bamboo.
Thriving indoors on a sunny windowsill, where it can bask in indirect light, Tillandsia is an attractive funnel shaped plant with triangular leaves. An epiphytic plant, also known as the Air Plant, Tillandsia doesn’t require planting in the soil. Instead the Tillandsia gets all the nutrients and moisture it needs by absorbing them through their foliage from the air.
Native to the Southern United States, in the wild the Tillandsia attaches itself to rocks, shrubs or trees as it grows. Easy to cultivate simply place the Tillandsia on the substrate and water or mist regularly with a SideKing Electric Plant Mister.
One of the most effective natural humidifiers, there are a number of different Tillandsia cultivars, as our caring for air plants guide shows. Whatever cultivar you choose, the care needs of the Tillandsia are pleasingly easy to meet. Water regularly and place in a warm position and these hardy little specimens quickly thrive.
4 Spider Plant
A popular houseplant, the Spider Plant is known for its ability to absorb humidity. Easy to care for, the Spider Plant flourishes in humid conditions.
While the Spider Plant is at its best in humid conditions, it can also survive in drier conditions. Like other plants that absorb humidity, the Spider Plant absorbs water through their slender leaves, lowering the ambient humidity levels in the process. This process also helps to keep the foliage green and fresh. If the air is not humid enough, the foliage may start to brown or crisp.
In very humid areas group a couple of spider plants together. When it comes to plants that absorb humidity, a collection of specimens is more effective than just one plant.
The slender, green leaves of the Spider Plant.
Low maintenance and attractive, the arching leaves of the Spider Plant are a graceful addition to the home. One of the easiest plants that absorb humidity to care for the Spider Plant thrives in low light and when neglected. Like a number of other plants the Spider Plant also removes up to 90% of harmful air pollutants from the air in your home. Interestingly the Spider Plant is so called because it produces small, spider-shaped baby plants of offshoots.
5 Boston Fern
Boston Fern is an evergreen that thrives in filtered light and damp positions. Removing stickiness from air and balancing out the moisture content, the Boston Fern is one of the most effective plants that absorb humidity.
Like other types of indoor or house fern the Boston Fern cannot tolerate dry air. In these conditions the leafy fronds dry up, causing the plant to die. When caring for a Boston Fern, place it in an indirect light position and keep the soil moist. Regularly misting the leaves with a Plant Mister Spray Bottle if the air dries out during the winter helps to prevent the leaves from browning and the plant from dying.
Another good fern that absorbs humidity is the Bird’s Nest Fern. Providing a jungle feel the plant has wavy green leaves which develop from a central rosette. The emerging fronds resemble bird eggs, hence the name.
Thriving in the moisture that hot humid summers can bring to our homes, the leaves of the Bird Nest Fern are quick to absorb extra moisture. In drier areas the foliage quickly dries up. Misting regularly helps to prevent this. The Bird’s Nest Fern also requires moderate indirect light and a little water if the topsoil feels dry.
Orchids are one of the flowering plants that absorb humidity, cooling your house. Most types of Orchids thrive in humidity levels of between 60 and 80 %. They also prefer to be placed in a bright, indirect light position.
The exotic blooms of the Orchid are surprisingly easy to cultivate.
Despite their showy appearance, the orchid is easy to grow. While some Orchid cultivars grow in soil, others are epiphytes, happier growing as air plants. For soil based types plant in peat moss, sphagnum moss or fir bark. Orchid Potting Mix is also available. With just a little care, during the growing season most types of Orchids produce attractive, long lasting blooms.
7 Peace Lily
Another of the tropical flowering plants that absorb humidity, the Peace Lily produces white flowers which contrast nicely with its deep green foliage. Despite its elegance, this is a pleasingly easy plant to care for and the flowers are surprisingly long lasting. With just a little care the Peace Lily can be encouraged to flower for several months at a time.
Native to tropical areas, the Peace Lily thrives in areas that are humid and moist. They also like damp, but not soggy, soil. One of the most reliable plants that absorb humidity, during the summer months place your Peace Lily in a bright, indirect light position. In addition to reducing the humidity levels in your home, the Peace Lily also purifies the air.
The distinctive white blooms of the Peace Lily.
Warning: Peace Lily is considered toxic. If you have children or pets it is perhaps not the best choice.
There are over 1800 cultivars in the Begonia genus including the popular Rex Begonia. A staple of the flower and container garden. Begonias typically flower during the spring and summer months. Native to tropical areas, of the many different cultivars some, such as Wax Begonias are commonly grown as houseplants.
The Wax Begonia is a compact bushy specimen, which produces masses of shiny green or red-brown foliage and white, pink or red flowers. Rarely exceeding 18 inches in height, the Wax Begonia’s mounding growth habit provides lots of color and interest to a houseplant collection. It is also one of the most reliable plants that absorb humidity.
Attractive and colorful, Begonia flowers are a beneficial addition to the home.
Like many other plants that absorb humidity, the Begonia takes in water through their leaves. During the summer months Begonias can help to remove that unpleasant sticky feeling hot air can sometimes develop as well as reducing temperatures in your home.
In humid environments, plant your Begonias in well draining soil and place in indirect sunlight. During the winter months, when humidity levels are low, Begonias may start to struggle. To keep your Begonia happy, provide lots of warmth and moisture.
9 Nerve Plant
The Nerve Plant, also known as Fittonia Albivenis, is a leafy plant which is easily identified by the thin, pale veins that mark their dark green leaves. Usually white, the veins can also be silver, pink or red, depending on the cultivar. Native to the South American rainforests, there are several commonly cultivated types of Nerve Plant including Daisy, Juanita, Pink, Angel Snow and Titanic.
Fittonia are a colorful addition to a houseplant collection.
Requiring a little specialist care, as outlined in our guide to caring for a nerve plant, Fittonia is one of the more difficult to care for specimens on our list of plants that absorb humidity. Fittonia cultivars rarely tolerate direct light or stagnant air. The soil should be evenly moist and the ambient humidity levels as high as possible. Placing the Nerve Plant in a REDHUGO Glass Terrarium for most of the year, removing it to another part of your home during the warmest summer months, helps the plant to thrive.
10 Cast Iron Plant
A low maintenance resilient specimen the Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) is considered almost impossible to kill. It is also pleasingly attractive. The arching, lance-shaped deep green foliage, which can appear glossy, is the main attraction of the Cast Iron Plant. Each leaf can grow to a length of up to 2 ft. When cultivated outside, insignificant purple and cream flowers can emerge at the base of the plant.
The Cast Iron plant is a resilient specimen.
The Cast Iron Plant thrives in humid conditions. A slow growing specimen, while the foliage is able to harvest moisture from the air, the soil also requires regular watering. Aim to keep it evenly moist. While the Cast Iron Plant is best placed in a bright position, filled with lots of indirect light, it also happily grows in partial shade.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.