Humidity, the apartment gardeners’ headache..
Many questions were asked during my talk at Hortpark recently about humidity. Humidity, which is the amount of water content in the air, is an important growing condition for many plants, especially carnivorous plants. Although Singapore has a tropical climate with 70% humidity, the condition can fluctuate tremendously when windy.
Dried growing tip of Nepenthes Plant
Many of us here live in high rise apartments and grow plants in balconies or corridors. These places experience considerable amount of wind and humidity can be highly inconsistent. Humidity loving plants will start to stress out and drying of leaves began to occur.
Being an apartment grower myself, I had tried various methods to overcome this problem. I cut out plastic panels from take-away boxes to stop the wind from blowing directly at my plants and also added a wet layer of dried sphagnum moss to prevent rapid loss of moisture in the potting media, maintaining a consistent humidity level throughout the day.
Misting, if done regularly, can help to maintain humidity too. I mist my Nepenthes plants as and when the top sphagnum moss feels dry. I also have a layer of clay pellets at the bottom tray which can hold considerable amount of moisture. Do aware that hanging pots will suffer the most when windy.
Some friends of mine grow bigger and taller plants which will effectively block the wind, but sunlight might be blocked too, so therefore more suitable if you are growing shade loving plants. Growing many plants and clustering them together will also helps to maintain humidity too. A single lone plant will lose water rapidly in windy conditions, so this might be a good excuse to get more plants!!
Plastic shield and sphagnum moss Drying out Cephalotus
Some plants like Nepenthes can be “trained” to adapt to lower humidity, therefore one can gradually remove the panels or plants around over a period of few weeks.