What is a Pebble Tray and Do Your Houseplants Require One?

by | Oct 23, 2018 | 0 comments

What is a pebble tray? Do Your houseplants require one? Let’s talk about what it is, and what it may do for your houseplants.

It is that time of year when your houseplants migrate into the house for the winter. They look great after their summer sojourn outside. You bring them in and place them in the light exposure they need to thrive.

Then you find a few weeks later that they aren’t doing as well as expected. The leaves are turning brown and curling and you may even notice small bugs or webbing on the leaves. What are those? They may indicate that you have spider mites. What is going on?

Humidity is important-pebble trays help

The air in our homes in the winter has a humidity reading of about 20% or less! Our houseplants are tropical plants and prefer a humidity reading like that of the rainforest rather than the desert.

Many people grab their mister and start misting the plant. It may be a comforting, soothing practice for you, but it isn’t the best solution for raising the humidity around your plants. A few things you CAN do that will help your plants include:

Group your plants together

The transpiration that occurs when plants are photosynthesizing raises the humidity.

Grouping of plants
Cozy together sharing humidity. (Yes, I like green!)

Deflect the dry air

Use an air deflector to direct the air across the floor instead of up onto your plants. Below I show you the one on my vent so you can understand what you are looking for.

It isn’t expensive but it will make a huge difference in the health of your plants by keeping the dry air from blowing directly on your plants. (I should probably invest in a new vent, as well.)

Air deflector

A pebble tray is the way to go

The best way to raise the humidity though is to place your plant on a pebble tray. What is that?

A pebble tray is simply a pebble-filled saucer filled with water. The saucer needs to be larger than the saucer the plant is already sitting in. That way as the water evaporates it will raise the humidity around the plant.

Fern on a pebble tray
The humidity level is better already

If the clay saucer isn’t attractive to you, choose a saucer that you like. I pick up glass saucers, ashtrays, and other containers at the thrift shops to use as saucers. They are cheap and pretty.

Saucer for pebble trays
Saucers and containers from the Salvation Army store

On the pebble tray not IN it

Make sure your plant isn’t standing in the water, as this will lead to root rot. If you haven’t left your plant in its original saucer, then make sure the water is below the level of the pebbles.

I tend to leave my plant in its saucer, as in the picture below, and place it on a larger saucer with pebbles.

Pebble tray with terra cotta
Pebbles in a larger saucer with water

This fern is loving the humidity that is rising up from the pebble tray below and so will your plants!

Rock fern on a pebble tray
The humidity will rise up to the fern’s fronds

So the answer is: your houseplants don’t REQUIRE a pebble tray, but it is a great way to raise the humidity. This is especially great if you don’t have a lot of houseplants.

Have a great week, plant friends!


The links in this blog post contain affiliate links. If you buy a product through the link, I receive a few cents. Thank you.

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