Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
6 ratings

Tuesday - February 27, 2007

From: Ypsilanti, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Best of Smarty, General Botany
Title: Plants that might absorb moisture from air
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I am searching for a plant that will reduce the relative humidity of a building. I work for a manufacturing company that is experiencing problems with water condensing on ceilings and equipment due to high humidity levels. Are there any plants that grow well indoors at 70F with very little sunlight and at the same time absorb moisture from the air?

ANSWER:

Probably there are no plants that will do the job you need. In general, plants are always net contributers to atmospheric water. Thus, the air inside greenhouses, terrariums and other enclosed spaces with plants is always humid. This, of course, is due to transpiration. The amount of atmospheric moisture absorbed by plants is negligible compared to the amount respired. Most likely even epiphytes, the best candidates for the job, give off more water than they absorb from atmospheric water vapor. This is not to say that epiphytes, e.g., bromeliads, wouldn't thrive in the atmosphere you describe. It sounds ideal for them.

 

More General Botany Questions

White and red Turk's cap and possible crossing
September 18, 2013 - I have had some white Turk's cap for several years. This year, some red Turk's cap has appeared among it. I have the red in another location. Will the red become dominant if I leave it among the whi...
view the full question and answer

Does Nolina lindheimeriana have separate male and female plants
June 30, 2013 - RE: NOLINA LINDHEIMERIANA You show several pictures, with flowers & with seed pods. I have one plant that has only flowers and one that has only seed pods. Are they male and female? I don't see ...
view the full question and answer

Can plants in the same genus cross-pollinate?
March 27, 2009 - Can you cross-pollinate plants from the same genus?
view the full question and answer

Water Use Versus Soil Moisture
October 14, 2014 - In the Native Plant Database, under Growing Conditions what is the difference between water use and soil moisture? Sometimes they seem contradictory.
view the full question and answer

What are the native plants in Kerrville, Texas?
May 22, 2013 - What are the native plants in Kerrville, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.