This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

August 9, 2015

Using an ordinary misting system to bring additional humidity to your plants

Here in the Sonoran Desert, it's dry. And that's a good thing for people who want to play golf, as it's very comfortable for people. But plants prefer humidity. And here at The Tropical Paradise, I've been giving my plants additional humidity for over twenty years with an ordinary misting system.

You know the kind of misting systems that I'm talking about. They're the ones you usually see on patios of restaurants, spraying everywhere, and trying to convince people that they can sit outside when it's over 100 degrees. And while I can't say that it makes it comfortable enough for people, the additional humidity is welcomed by plants! Here is what I have here:

I started with an ordinary misting system from Home Depot. I've since extended it, by buying more 3/8" line, and more connectors. Since it's buried just slightly under the gravel, I found out very early that having the misting heads right on the ground isn't a very good idea - they clog just about right away. Luckily, I found some risers (like the one that Macintosh is looking at). They're about three inches long and you can get them in plastic, or you can spring the extra money like I did, and get copper ones. The copper ones start out shiny, but dull down nicely almost right away.

Like my regular watering line, I have it attached to a timer. It's an ordinary battery-operated manual timer. I've tried different brands, but I prefer Toro, which I have to order from Amazon. The next thing there (with the blue label) is a filter, which I try to remember to change out every couple of years. From there it goes (through a hose extension) to a compression connector that attaches it to the 3/8" line. I had use the attachment that came with the system, but it always leaked, so I put in something more robust.

During the summer, when it's well over 100 degrees here, I have it come on for fifteen minutes every four hours. As the summer cools down, I decrease the frequency. It's off, like the main water, all winter.

I keep a supply of misting heads handy, and when the system is on, I walk the line and look for clogged heads. I used to try to clean them, but they never seem to work right afterwards, so I bit the bullet and just decided to always replace them with new ones, in spite of the cost, which is kind'a high, considering how small they are. I assume that it's the precision I'm paying for!

Anyway, the plants love it, and it's one of the "secrets" of the garden - which really isn't a secret, it's just a lot of work. But it's a labor of love!
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