Humidity is a key requirement for healthy Bromeliads. What Is humidity? At it’s simplest, it’s just a measure of how much moisture is in the air relative to the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold. As an example, if the reading on a simple Humidity Meter is 50%, it means the air currently holds 50% of the maximum amount of moisture that it’s capable of holding.
Like soil moisture, plants have evolved to tolerate a wide range of humidity levels from dry, arid air in the desert to levels of 90% in the rain forest. 50% is generally considered an optimum target for most Bromeliads, however, most of the glossy leaved Bromeliads that collectors are attracted to have evolved in conditions of high humidity that aide in the retention of moisture during peak growing seasons.
So although humidity is not something to be overly concerned about, having the right humidity can stimulate your plant to produce a healthier looking leaf structure and more intense color.
Higher levels of humidity are generally not going to be a problem with bromeliads, but if you live in an are with a dryer climate you may need to find a way to raise levels to prevent leaf burn. Here are a few suggestions on how to increase humidity for your bromeliads.
When Bromeliads are kept indoors, they typically are in air that has low humidity. They are therefore more susceptible to rapidly drying out but since the sunlight levels are generally low, they have little chance of being exposed to leaf burn. A simple spray bottle can be used to mist the plants on an occasional basis.
Greenhouse & Shade House
Damping down the benches and surrounding areas, as well as misting leaves will keep the surrounding air moist as it evaporates. Overhead misters can be very effective in keeping the humidity level above 50%, especially if they are placed on timers that create regular schedules for misting or fogging.
For smaller houses or if overhead misters are not an option, misting the area every few days using a handheld garden sprayer on hot days is a good option.
Damping down the plants surrounding areas with a water hose, as well as spraying the leaves with a soft spray setting on a good nozzle will keep the air moist. As with greenhouses, fixed overhead misters can also be very effective in keeping the humidity level above 50%.
When Bromeliads have the right humidity they thrive. Why? Because when the air is moist, there is little water lost from the leaf. This allows the plant to be exposed to a greater amount of sunlight without the risk of sunburn to the leaf.
As we know, with greater light levels, Bromeliads are able to grow to their full potential in terms of form and color. Just as planting the Bromeliad in a potting mix increases the humidity around the root system creating healthier roots, increasing the humidity in the air can create a much healthier overall top structure.