Humidity trays are an excellent means of adding moisture to indoor air for plants that require warm, damp climates. While a hot, dry apartment or house may require more moisture in the air than a simple humidity tray can provide; orchid fanciers, bonsai growers, and those who love the warm colours of tropical plants agree that humidity trays make a very good starting point.
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Bonsai growers regularly use humidity trays. Customarily, a bonsai humidity tray is very shallow, resting on small feet so that air circulates around, and even under, all surfaces of the tray. Occasionally a grower will suggest filling the tray with pebbles and water, but the more frequent practice appears to use water only. Some of this is aesthetic, some of it practical: The bonsai planting dish may itself be shallow, and planting soil is often edged with pebbles as part of the landscaping.
Tropical plant growers tend to choose humidity trays that have depth enough for pebbles. Since many tropical plants grow in very damp or even swampy jungle conditions, having their roots escape the pot drainage hole and reach the tray water is less of an issue than with bonsai plants. Orchid growers also show low enthusiasm for pebble trays.
Orchid growers' enthusiasm for good humidity is matched only by their passion for their delicate and beautiful blooms. Controlling moisture is an issue in growing orchids, and different varieties have different moisture requirements. Orchid growers tend to prefer gridded trays. One variety shown in nurseries is waterproofing-lined wood; plants sit on a series of slats on the top of the humidity tray. An orchid-growing site gives directions for making an "egg-crate" gridded humidity tray that costs less than manufactured ones. Orchid humidity trays tend toward elegance and distinct separation of plants from extra, humidifying water.
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