Do Houseplants Cause Condensation on Windows?


Many people enjoy having houseplants to fill their homes with color and character. It’s common to have plants on window sills or somewhere close since most plants need a decent amount of sunlight to thrive. During outside temperature fluctuation, you may notice moisture accumulating on your windows. 

Houseplants can cause condensation on windows due to the moisture they release through respiration. Plants create humidity by releasing roughly 97% of their water into the air. When it’s humid inside and the temperature outside drops to cooler temperatures, condensation can occur on the window. 

This article discusses how houseplants raise humidity and ways to help reduce the additional moisture.

Why Houseplants Cause Condensation

When humid air is against a cold surface, the moisture from the air combines to create droplets on the surface, called condensation.

The temperature inside homes is ordinarily consistent, with many people keeping the thermostat within a specific range. During the season and weather changes, the temperature outside will fluctuate. And when the temperature outside causes the window surface to cool, the moisture released by the plants will cause condensation on the window.

The same concept happens with warm air surrounding a glass of iced water.

How Houseplants Raise Humidity

If your home is full of houseplants, it may cause the humidity level to increase. 

The humidity will also rise when you group several house plants because plants will create a humid atmosphere for each other to flourish.

Plants go through photosynthesis, which uses a light source to transform it into energy to survive. Transpiration happens when the plant releases the excess moisture back into the air. Houseplants release about 97% of their water back into the air. 

Photosynthesis and Transpiration

Photosynthesis is the cycle for plants to grow strong and healthy by using solar energy and CO2 from the air to create their food and oxygen while using their root system to draw nutrients and water from the ground. 

  • The roots soak up minerals and water from the soil and feed nutrients up the stem to the leaves using a vascular system similar to ours.
  • The leaves absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen.
  • The leaves are also adapted to transform sunlight into energy.

The plant then releases any excess moisture back into the air through transpiration.

Plants with larger leaves have a higher humidity effect than those with smaller leaves. The larger the leaf surface, the more stomata. Therefore, the transpiration rate is more rapid than in small leaf plants. 

So, if your plants are near a window and the temperature changes outside, there’s a chance it will cause condensation on your windows.

Preventing Window Condensation

To reduce condensation on your windows, move the plants further away during cooler temperatures. If you’re still experiencing condensation on your windows after removing the plants, the humidity in your home or that room may be too high. It’s also possible your plants may not be the main contributor to higher humidity levels in your home. 

The ideal humidity levels for winter are between 30 percent and 50 percent. 

Reducing the Humidity in Your Home

When you have an abundance of houseplants in your home, your plants will have a higher humidity level, breathing moisture back into the air. As said before, plants grouped together also create a more humid environment. Purchasing a dehumidifier can help with significant humidity issues. 

Or, you can try a few natural dehumidifying methods for lowering your moisture levels.

  • Baking Soda: Leave an open container of baking soda in the problem areas with more humidity. Baking soda is a natural absorber of moisture and is commonly used in refrigerators and closets to prevent moisture, odor, and mold. The powdered substance will start to clump as it absorbs moisture, and you’ll need to replace it every three to four weeks.
  • Sodium Chloride: Rock salt is excellent at soaking up the excess moisture in the air. People often use this in basements prone to moisture issues. Spread containers of rock salt in your humid rooms to better balance the humidity level and replace them about every 30 days.
  • Charcoal Briquettes: Charcoal absorbs odors and moisture. Place the briquettes in containers like coffee cans, punch holes in the tops, and place them in areas with higher moisture. You’ll notice your humidity level decreasing, and you only have to change the canisters every few months. 

Other suggestions for preventing higher humidity levels are buying moisture-absorbing plants, checking your pots and saucers, and assessing your home’s air circulation and ventilation. 

Include Plants That Absorb More Moisture

While plants go through photosynthesis, they dehumidify the air by absorbing moisture. When transpiration occurs, they humidify the air with excess water. Some plants release more moisture in the air than others.

There are a variety of plants, including those that love to soak up any moisture around them using a process called foliar water uptake. Plants like English Ivy and Boston ferns thrive on higher humidity levels and prefer an atmosphere where fog, rain, and dew occur. Many people put moisture-loving plants in the bathrooms and the kitchen area.

Some other options of moisture-absorbing plants to consider, aside from English Ivy and Boston ferns, are the following:

Air plants (Tillandsia)

These interesting plants use their root system to attach to surfaces like trees for support while absorbing the surrounding air. There are two types of air plants called mesic and xeric. Mesic air plants thrive in a humid and tropical environment, while xeric prefers a drier climate, such as a desert. 

Cacti (Cactaceae)

These spiny plants primarily prosper in dry climates and survive by securing 90% of their water in the stems. The stems of cacti are thick and waxy, making them perfect for preserving the water it needs in drought-prone environments. Instead of leaves, cacti have stiff spines and hair-like spines to prevent moisture from releasing, and they also work to absorb moisture in the surrounding air. 

Succulents

Succulents come from multiple plant families, including Cactaceae, and thrive in primarily drier climates. These plants store water in their thick stems, leaves, and roots to withstand droughts. There’s less watering for these plants in humid environments because they can soak up the surrounding moisture and hold 90 percent to 95 percent of water to survive.

Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plants are easy to care for because they are somewhat drought tolerant. They have thin waxy leaves that allow them to store small amounts of water with less transpiration between short periods of drought. 

This plant blossoms in humid areas, soaking up the moisture in the air with its bushy, thin leaves and trails of “baby spiders” that grow. Utilize the abilities of this plant by placing it in an area of your home with higher humidity, and you can watch it flourish from absorbing all the moisture.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos enjoy a humid environment and can survive in poor conditions with less water available. Their large, thick, glossy leaves soak up the moisture in the air to survive longer without water. Like the Spider Plant, these plants will do well in higher humidity areas, like bathrooms and the kitchen.

Other Ways To Reduce Plant Condensation

If you aren’t a fan of foggy windows, there are other ways you can manage your problem. The holder in which your plant resides in the first place to start.  

Reevaluate the Pots You Use

If you’re using primarily porous pots, like clay, terracotta, cement, etc., try switching those to non-porous materials. Pots made with earth materials release moisture from the wet soil. 

On the other hand, porous pots are an excellent choice for plants that need dryer soil, such as succulents and cacti.

Standing water also creates more moisture in the air as it evaporates. So, if you’re bottom watering plants with a tray or saucer, ensure the plants absorb all the water. Discard any water not absorbed after your plant has soaked the needed amount.

Evaluate Your Plant’s Environment

Check your home ventilation and airflow to ensure the air is circulating correctly. If you’re not a regular at changing the air filter every few months or as needed, you should start now because that can create more problems than improper airflow. Keeping air circulating in your home will lower the humidity level and prevent mold growth from an excessive amount of moisture.

If you have ceiling fans, turn them on to help circulate the air. Ensure your ventilation system is working correctly. Ventilation systems draw air from the outside to circulate throughout your home. Fans and vents are part of the system that allows this process to reach everywhere. 

Walk through each room to ensure the vents are open. Also, check the outside vents to ensure they allow proper airflow to refresh the air in your home.

Conclusion

Houseplants can cause condensation on your windows from the moisture they release. Depending on how many plants you have and what type they are, it can slightly raise the humidity levels in your home. However, having houseplants shouldn’t significantly increase your home’s humidity level.

You can balance the humidity levels by adding moisture-absorbing plants such as cacti, air plants, and succulents. You can also change the pot they are in from porous to non-porous. Ensure your air system works correctly to disburse the proper airflow and ventilation in your home.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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