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

How are full sun, part sun, etc, defined?
April 08, 2014 - Hello, I have a question about sun requirements. Does saying something needs "full sun" mean a particular number of hours? Does it mean 6 or more hours / day? 8 or more? Is there an agreed upon n...
view the full question and answer

Question about male muscadine plants
June 01, 2012 - I have 9 muscadine plants, 3 females and 6 perfect flowered growing in my yard. A plant started growing under my porch lst year and it grew through the spaces between the boards. It grew nicely. It fl...
view the full question and answer

Is there a flower that blooms only once in seven years?
December 17, 2008 - Just wanted to know if there exists a flower that blooms only once in seven years? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Brownish-gold worm-looking things on loblolly pines
May 08, 2015 - We have a large loblolly pine that each spring drops thousands of brownish-gold "worm" looking things (about 1/2 to 1" long). Do they have a name and what is their purpose?
view the full question and answer

Ruffly foliage on native lantana
November 05, 2013 - A native lantana in my front yard has developed ruffly foliage on one stem. It looks like miniature broccoli. What can this be?
view the full question and answer

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