Succulents & Humidity – All Your Questions Answered (and Next Steps)

Succulents and humidity sounds like an oxymoron.

For the most part, succulents originate from dry, arid conditions. It seems unnatural that they would survive indoors in humid environments.

Can it even be done?

Do Succulents Like Humidity

Clearly people are confused, which is evident from the types of questions we receive from our readers like:

‘Do succulents like humidity?’

‘Can humidity kill succulents?’

‘How is humidity created indoors?’

Thankfully, we have combined our Green Thumb minds to provide you with the ultimate Guide to Succulents and Humidity. We answer all those perplexing questions, so you can provide the best care for your succulent plants.

So if you are ready to learn about succulents and humidity, grab a cup of coffee and let’s begin.

What is a succulent?

various succulents

Before we jump into understanding the role of humidity, we think it is important to define what a succulent is. This way, you can be confident you are diagnosing the right conditions for the right plants (and not making assumptions).

By definition, a succulent is any plant that has thick, fleshy tissues on the plant that it uses for water retention. The parts of the plant that can be used for water storage include the stem, or even the leaves.

When you first hear the word ‘succulent’, it is natural for you to picture something with a thick stem covered in spikes (aka Cacti). However, there are other succulents called Agave plants, that have thick fleshy leaves which have also adapted to store water.

There are other plants that some people may consider belonging to the succulent family, such as the Hoya Pachyclada. Yes, their leaves are thick and fleshy like an Agave, but these plants are actually tropical plants that thrive in humid environments. And it would be incorrect to assume they are succulents.

So, to be clear, when we talk about succulents, we are referring only to cacti and agave plants.

How Does Humidity Affect Your Houseplants?

Humidity and houseplants

Getting humidity right with indoor plants is a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Some plants find it too high. Some are too low. And reaching that elusive ‘just right‘ humidity level seems like an endless struggle.

But have you ever wondered why plants need humidity?

To understand this relationship, we need to familiarize ourselves with the plants process of transpiration.

Transpiration is vital to a plants’ health. The process involves the plant taking up water and nutrients via the roots, through the plants cells and then evaporating the water into the atmosphere via the leaves.

Humidity effects a plants’ ability to transpire.

High humidity slows down the process of transpiration in a plant. Whereas, low humidity speeds up the process, essentially making the plant draw up more water from the surrounding soil.

Do Succulents Like Humidity?

Succulents DO NOT like humidity.

Succulents do not like humidity

And now that we understand the effect of humidity on plants, it is easier to see why succulents do not like high-humidity environments.

As we mentioned earlier, succulents originate from dry, arid environments. As such, they have developed adaptations to cope with the low humidity and scarce water resources. Namely, the water stored in their stems and leaves. In fact, succulents can survive without water from the soil and the atmosphere (humidity) for extended periods of time.

Now let’s consider what happens when you bring a drought tolerant plant into a humid environment.

We understand high levels of humidity slow down the process of transpiration in a plant. In some extreme instances, it can even stop a plant from transpiring all together. Without this process, succulents will stop drawing in water and nutrients via their roots.

It is almost like suffocating a succulent with too much water.

Ultimately, this weakens the plant, and leaves it open to other issues like fungal or bacterial infections.

How to Keep Succulents in Humid Environments?

So what happens if you live in a country with high humidity, AND you are a huge fan of succulents?

Don’t worry – your succulent dreams are not over.

Cactus on window sill

It can be done, but there may be a few additional measures you will have to take to make your succulent comfortable.

Here are a few things you may want to consider:

  • Positioning your succulent by a window that receives a lot of direct sunlight will help to evaporate the moisture that settles on your succulent.
  • Increasing the airflow (possibly by leaving the window ajar) will also help to prevent moisture sitting on your plant.
  • Use soil that contains a high concentration of pumice. This will help to reduce the amount of excess water trapped in the succulents’ soil.
  • Avoid wetting the succulent when watering your plant.

How to Measure the Humidity Level for Succulents?

If you are unsure how to measure the humidity levels within your house, the best thing to do is grab yourself a hygrometer.

Hygrometers measure the relative air humidity in your home. They use the rooms’ temperature and relative pressure to determine the point at which water vapor condenses out of the surrounding air.

They are smart devices that are inexpensive and readily available online or at your local nursery.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we attempt to answer all your ‘other’ questions that may not be addressed in our guide.

If you don’t find an answer to your question, please send us a message via our CONTACT page. We will endeavor to respond with a timely answer, and include it in our growing FAQ section below.

What is the right humidity for succulents?

We know that succulents do not like high humidity, so this begs the question ‘What humidity do succulents like?

As a general rule of thumb when it comes to pairing humidity levels with succulents, you should target around 40-60%. It is common for households to reach these humidity levels in the warmer months.

Is High Humidity Bad for Succulents?

When it comes to most succulents (we say ‘most’ because you always have your exceptions), high humidity can cause a host of issues. Succulents have their own source of water, and therefore do not rely on the surrounding environment for water.

As such, when they grow in high-humidity environments, they do not have the necessary adaptations to handle the excess water in the air. This can lead to issues like fungus and mold.

The excess humidity can also hinder the growth of new pups, as well as accelerate rot in older sections of the plant.

If you have succulents in a humid environment, we recommend keeping them next to a window sill with lots of exposure to direct sunlight, so excess moisture is evaporated off the plant.

Do Succulents Like to be Misted?

Succulents DO NOT like being misted.

If succulents have constant water on their exterior, it can lead to rot developing. This will weaken the plant, and eventually kill it.

Misting also adds moisture to the surrounding air. More moisture means increased humidity, which leads to further problems like fungus and mold.

Instead of misting your succulents, try to add water to the soil directly rather than wetting the plant.