What Is A Plant Mister? (5 Uses For Indoors & Outdoors)


Plant misters are helpful for both indoor and outdoor plants, and some of them are beautiful to look at.  However, they have more uses than just watering plants and looking pretty.

So, what is a plant mister?  A plant mister is a container that sometimes looks like a perfume vial. It sprays out a small amount of water at a time (the water is in mist form). A plant mister is used for watering and fertilizing plants, keeping soil moist for seed germination, and spraying dust, debris, and pest off of leaves.

Of course, a plant mister does not need to be fancy.  An ordinary spray bottle will suffice if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a glass or metal one.

In this article, we’ll talk about what a plant mister is and what it is used for.  We’ll also get into how often you should mist plants and when you might want to avoid it.

Let’s get started.

What Is A Plant Mister?

A plant mister sprays a small amount of water at a time from a container made of plastic, glass, or metal.  A plant mister is most often used to provide water for plants and the soil they grow in.

glass spray bottle
A plant mister releases a small amount of water at a time, and is used for many plant care tasks.

You can also use a plant mister to spray a nutrient solution on plants. The plants can then absorb the nutrients through their leaves, known as foliar feeding (just avoid over fertilizing!)

A plant mister can also help with cleaning plants by spraying off dust or dirt. In addition, spray bottles can help with pest control by spraying off aphids or other pests, or by covering them in neem oil or another insecticide.

Finally, a spray bottle can be used outside of gardening. For example, a spray bottle can hold and spray cleaning solutions, such as water mixed with bleach or vinegar.

Let’s take a look at what a plant mister is used for in the gardening realm.

What Is A Plant Mister Used For? (Uses Of A Plant Mister In Gardening)

A plant mister is used for all types of gardening tasks, including:

  • Seed germination
  • Seedling care
  • Plant cleaning
  • Pest control
  • Managing water or humidity levels
spray bottle
A plant mister can take care of many gardening tasks to help keep plants healthy.

Let’s start at the beginning with seed germination.

Seed Germination

If you want to start your own plants from seed, the first step is to get the seeds to germinate (sprout).  There are many factors that affect how long seeds take to germinate and how well they germinate (also known as germination rate – you can learn more about that in my article here).

Soil moisture and temperature are the two most important factors for seed germination.  In order to germinate, seeds need soil that is both warm enough and also consistently moist (without being too wet).

radish seedlings
Seeds need soil that is consistently moist in order to germinate properly.

This means that you cannot just water the soil once and wait for the seeds to germinate.  In fact, over watering can lead to mold, rotting, or drowning of seeds before they even sprout.

Too much water will also wash away soil or seeds, moving them out of place before they get a chance to grow.  To prevent this problem, you will need to provide a little water every day for your seeds.

A plant mister is the perfect way to do this.  A spray bottle allows you to add a small amount of water to the soil at a time, making it easy to control how much water you use.

Some spray bottles are adjustable, meaning you can apply even less water in one spray.  It is very difficult to wash away soil or seeds with a spray bottle (unless you really overdo it).

Using a cup or bowl will probably lead to over watering or uneven watering.  It is much more difficult to control how much water you are using when pouring into a seed tray, rather than spraying.

Note: you can also use a humidity dome to keep the soil moist and the seeds warm.  You can learn more about humidity domes in my article here.

Seedling Care

A plant mister is also helpful when caring for newly sprouted seedlings.  As with seeds, it is easy to over water seedlings when using a cup or bowl to water them.

tomtao seedlings
A spray bottle will help you to keep seedlings watered without drowning them or washing away their soil.

A spray bottle lets you control precisely the amount of water each plant gets.  That way, you can avoid drowning the seedling or causing root rot before it can really get established.

You can also mix powdered or liquid fertilizer with water in order to create a nutrient spray solution for your plants.  Just be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package before using it.

Remember that using fertilizer that is too concentrated can burn your plants. (You can learn more about over fertilizing plants in my article here).

Fertilizer can also clog up the spraying nozzle on some plant misters. If your bottle fails to spray, try cleaning out the fertilizer “crust” from the nozzle to get it working again.

Plant Cleaning

Plants in the great outdoors will naturally accumulate some dust on the leaves.  However, the wind and rain will wash the dust away in due course.

Over time, the tops of the leaves on your indoor plants will also gather dust (just like every other surface in your home). However, there is no “rain” or “wind” to wash this dust away.

Monstera house plant
A plant mister can be used to spray and clean the leaves of houseplants to help them absorb more light and grow better.

The solution is to clean the leaves of your plants!  Every so often, use a plant mister to spray water right on the leaves.

Then, use a cloth to wipe off the dust that has collected on the leaves.  Believe it or not, a layer of dust on a plant will interfere with photosynthesis (the dust prevents the plant from absorbing as much light as it could).

This leads to less energy and slower growth for the plant.  Cleaning with a spray bottle will keep your plants healthy and clean!

Pest Control

Both indoor and outdoor plants can fall victim to an attack by pests.  For example, aphids are a common pest that affects many types of plants (both indoor and outdoor).

There are many ways to get rid of aphids and other garden pests.  A plant mister offers a pest control method that is both easy and environmentally friendly.

aphids
Aphids are a common pest, and an age-old nemesis of gardeners everywhere.

A simple, direct method to control pests is to adjust the spray bottle to a stronger stream of water.  Then, use the water to spray any insects off of your plants.  The downside is that this probably won’t kill the insects, so they might take up residence on the plant again.

Another method is to mix water with some type of insect repellent, like garlic, pepper, or herbs (such as rosemary, mint, and thyme).  You can also create an insect-killing mix, such as water combined with dish soap or alcohol (neem oil is another possibility).

Use the plant mister to apply either type of spray if you need to get rid of insects that are already on your plants.  Use the insect repellent sprays to keep bugs away in the future.

The plant mister will prevent you from going overboard by accidentally applying too much spray solution at once.

Just be careful about labeling your plant mister if you have multiple spray bottles.  You want to be able to keep track of which one is ordinary water, which one is insect repellent, and which one is insect killer.

Note: you can learn more about how to get rid of aphids in my article here.

You can also learn more about alternative methods of pest control, including integrated pest management, in this article from the University of Maryland Extension.

Managing Water & Humidity Levels

A plant mister is also useful for managing humidity levels, either for an individual plant or for an entire ecosystem of plants (for example, in a terrarium).

Some plants need higher humidity levels than what is commonly found in most homes.  This is due to the fact that both heat and air conditioning systems dry the air by removing water.

It is especially important to keep the humidity level high for certain plants, such as:

  • Ferns (such as Boston Fern or Sword Fern)
  • Spider Plant
  • African Violet
Cinnamon Fern
Certain types of ferns need high humidity, so they might need misting from a spray bottle.

You can learn more about the best humidity level for plants (and how to achieve it) in my article here.

To increase the humidity level in a terrarium, spray the soil itself until it gets wet.  Avoid continuously wetting the leaves of your plants.

If you keep the leaves of your plants constantly wet, it may lead to diseases. For example, certain types of fungi from the air or soil do better in humid conditions.

When To Mist Plants

Generally, you should mist plants in the morning.  This gives them time to dry off before nightfall brings cooler temperatures.

If the leaves of your plants stay wet for too long, they can get fungal diseases from spores that are present in the soil or air.

How Often Should I Mist My Plants?

You may need to mist indoor plants several times a day during the winter, especially if the heat is turned up high. On the other hand, plants that prefer dry conditions (such as cacti) may never needs misting.

So, how often should you mist your plants?  It depends on their stage of development, the type of plant, and the purpose of the misting.

If you are germinating seeds, then mist the soil as often as necessary to keep it moist.  This will give you optimal seed germination, as long as the soil temperature is in the right range.

You will need to mist the soil more often in a hot, dry environment.  Dry soil can slow down seed germination or kill your seeds before they sprout.

spray bottle head
You will need to use a plant mister more often in a hot, dry environment (for example, inside a house with central heat in the winter).

When watering vegetative cuttings during plant propagation, spray them enough to keep them from wilting. You can learn more in this article from Michigan State University.

When watering more established plants, wait until the soil is dry at a depth of 2 inches (5 centimeters).  You can use your finger to check the soil moisture.  When the soil is dry at this depth, use the plant mister to moisten the soil while avoiding over watering.

When cleaning the leaves on your indoor plants, you can mist them once every 2 to 4 weeks.  It is unnecessary to clean the leaves more often than that, since a small amount of dust will not interfere much with light absorption.

Finally, remember that some plants may not need to be misted at all. Cacti and succulents can survive for much longer without water than other plants.

Spraying them to wipe off dust right away should be ok.

Should You Mist Plants Daily?

You should not mist plants daily unless they need it. Always check the soil and air moisture levels before misting your plants.

If they are still wet from the last misting, it is best to wait until they have a chance to dry off. Some plants can handle wet leaves, but others are susceptible to disease when their leaves are constantly wet.

wet leaf
Some plants can handle wet leaves, but others will succumb to diseases if you spray them too much.

Is Misting Bad For Plants?

Misting might be bad for plants with fuzzy leaves or plants that are crowded close together. In those cases, diseases can take hold in a short time and spread to other plants.

Misting can also be bad for plants that like low humidity, such as cacti.

Where To Buy A Plant Mister

You can find plant misters made of several different materials, including:

  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Metal

Many plant misters are adjustable.  This allows you to choose between a light mist and a strong jet of water (and possibly some intermediate settings in between).

spray bottles
Glass plant misters can be plain or fancy. You can also find metal or plastic ones if you want.

An adjustable plant mister is helpful if you want to use it for multiple purposes such as cleaning, watering, and pest control.  If you will be using the plant mister extensively, you may want to look into a pressure sprayer.

A pressure sprayer requires you to pump to create pressure and then spray.  That way, you don’t have to keep squeezing the trigger and tiring out your hand.

You can buy standard one-handed plastic spray bottles with an adjustable stream from Uline.

You can also buy plastic pump spray bottles from Grainger.

You can buy a glass plant mister with a brass spray mechanism here on Terrain.

Finally, you can buy a brass plant mister (pump action!) here on Etsy.

Can I Use A Spray Bottle As A Plant Mister?

You can certainly use a spray bottle as a plant mister. An ordinary plastic spray bottle will function the same way as a glass or metal spray bottle.

However, the plastic spray bottle will be much more affordable.

Conclusion

Now you know what a plant mister is, what it is used for, and when to use it.  You also have a good idea of where to start looking if you want to buy a plant mister.

If you want to learn more about spray bottles and their history, check out this article from Wikipedia.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!

~Jonathon

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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