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

History of hybrid Hibiscus Davis Creek from Cary NC
August 22, 2010 - Re: Hibiscus Davis Creek. Can you tell me this hybrid's history? H. coccineus H. militaris perhaps?
view the full question and answer

Compare Natives to Lawn for Carbon Footprint Benefits in Durham, New Hampshire
September 22, 2010 - Are there carbon sequestration rate tables for turf (lawn) and bushes, shrubs, trees? I want to compare the carbon footprint benefit of lawn versus the same area put into native plantings.
view the full question and answer

Southern Live Oak Authority for Jackson MS
June 23, 2016 - Who are the foremost authorities on Southern Live Oaks? May need expert testimony to oppose cutting of 50 year-old live oaks in boulevard of Riverside Drive in Jackson, MS
view the full question and answer

Clarification for botanical (Latin) names for Herbertia
June 17, 2010 - I am looking for a clarification of scientific names. In the classic wildflower book 'Wildflowers of Texas' the author, Geyata Ajilvsgi, attributes the plant Herbertia with the name Alophia drummon...
view the full question and answer

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone of Worcester, Massachusetts
November 11, 2008 - What zone is Worcester, Massachusetts?
view the full question and answer

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