Watering plants is essential, but misting them can be just as important. Plants that require humidity in addition to water — such as ferns, calatheas, and philodendrons — benefit most from misting, but almost all plants could use a good spritz. Particularly plants kept indoors, because “most plants like a higher than average humidity level,” according to Marc Hachadourian, director of Glasshouse Horticulture and senior curator of orchids at New York Botanical Garden, who says that humidity levels in most homes and apartments tend to be quite low (especially in the winter when the heat is blasting).
“Mist is so important, and just generally increasing the humidity around plants will yield so many benefits,” agrees Rebecca Bullene, owner of the plant store, Greenery. To find the best misters (and misting techniques), we spoke with Hachadourian, Bullene, and five more plant experts about their favourites — all of which we suggest supplementing with a humidifier, to maintain that higher than average humidity plants thrive in.
Best overall plant mister
The most recommended mister was actually this generic-looking hair salon staple. Bullene uses it, as does interior plant designer Lisa Muñoz, founder of Leaf and June, who says that while it’s “typically something you’d see in salons,” it’s her favourite mister for plants. “It’s small and lightweight, even when full of water, and it creates a gentle, steady mist.” (She likes the 5-ounce bottle for “easier storage,” but it also comes in a larger 24-ounce size.) The mist this bottle creates is very fine, too — a consistency Bullene says is essential: “The problem with a lot of traditional misters is the droplet size is actually fairly large. The goal isn’t to wet the leaves or wet the stems; it’s to change the air quality around the plant, so a finer mist is really what it’s all about.”
Muñoz adds that misting is “also helpful for cleaning the dust off plant foliage,” which helps leaves photosynthesise more efficiently. She also recommends “keeping a mister with a neem oil or insecticidal soap solution on hand” if you’re looking for a way to combat mites and other plant pests.
Best stylish plant mister
If you’re looking for a mister you can proudly leave out in the open, Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff, authors of Urban Jungle: Living and Styling With Plants, recommend this brass model from famed gardening-tool brand Haws. They love the mister (which also comes in copper and nickel) for its simplicity: “The press plunger is easy to use and the size of water droplets is really nice and small.” And because it “looks really good paired with plants.” Josifovic and de Graaff recommend using misters on tropical plants (ferns, orchids, Calathea, Maranta, banana plants, and air plants), and misting them in the early morning, because sunlight can help the moisture evaporate.
Best basic plant mister
Hachadourian recommends “a simple pump sprayer you’d get at a hardware store” as another utilitarian mister. “They’re adjustable, so you can use a fine mist for the foliage, or switch to a stream if you want to knock off an insect or something.” He also notes that plants themselves can be natural humidifiers because they “release moisture into the air through respiration and perspiration,” and suggests grouping indoor plants together in one area to create a sort of microclimate in whatever room they’re in.
Best hand-pump plant mister
If you have a lot of plants, Hachadourian suggests considering a pump-style pressurised sprayer so you don’t need to squeeze over and over again. “No one wants to get carpal tunnel from spraying plants,” he says. Bullene says this Solo “air pump” mister creates a “continuous spray” that’s great for misting multiple plants or a larger area (its one-litre tank holds roughly the same amount of water as the 32-ounce spray bottle on our list.)
Best heavy-duty plant mister
“I’d suggest this for plant owners who have very large plants, or for serious tropical plant people,” says Christan Summer, co-founder of Brooklyn’s Tula Houseplant shop and Tulita plant truck. “Our bird-of-paradise and Dracaena marginata are both over 12 feet tall, so I can’t reach the top foliage anymore.” This sprayer is a “lifesaver” because it allows her to “keep the top foliage clean and hydrated,” says Summer, who also likes that it “holds a lot of water.” But her favourite feature is that it creates a continuous mist and allows users to “change the style from a wide spread to a strong stream, which really helps with the big/tall guys that we have at home and in the shop.” Summer, who uses the larger FH20 at her shop, recommends the smaller F10 model for home.
Some other Strategist-recommended watering devices
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