How to make a Humidity Tray

How do I make my own humidity tray?

updated 3/8/17



Humidity is essential to healthy orchids – as explained in my post on Humidity and Orchids. I recommend these humidity trays from rePotme if you were to buy them. I have two stands already but since my orchid collection has expanded I wanted to save some money by making my own humidity trays. It’s easy and actually quite pretty.




Here is what you will need;

1. A bucket of rocks. You can use beach or river rocks, basically any rock you find aesthetically pleasing.


2. Find the right platter or tray. You can use literally anything that will hold water (Tupperware/saucer/ice-cube tray) and is large enough to hold the base of your orchid pot.


3. Water.

Put it all together… Easy as 1-2-3

1. Clean the rocks with hot water. Place them level in the platters/trays (rocks work well in trays because they are sturdy enough to hold your plant up while allowing water to pool in your tray).

2. Fill with water to just below the tops of the stones. Remember that YOU DO NOT want your orchids to be wet at their roots (as explained in the link/post on rot, orchid roots will rot and die placed in standing water).


3. Place your orchids on top of rocks…not touching the water.



And Your Done!

Note: Make sure the water in your tray is regularly filled up. Check more frequently in the summer because the water will evaporate quicker.

Hope that Helps,


Feel free to leave comments or questions. And email me at

58 Comments on “How to make a Humidity Tray

  1. I have 24 orchids . They were in a plastic pot inside of a clay pot. They were dying and it was from being water to much and water laying on the leaves. I,ve reported them but only in the clay pots. I have them on the porch right now as it has been raining so much but I know they will have to come in before it gets cold. Where should I put them.thanks,Nancy Talley

  2. I don’t know why but I put a dab of listerine in it to kill bacteria. Would that hurt the plant

    • Hi,

      I don’t think it would hurt the plant if it’s in the humidity tray but I have never tried it either. It’s an interesting idea though.


    • It might smell better but not only bacteria can grow there.A friend of mine use to put charcoal in humidiry tray to prevent algae and bacteria growth.Fungus,bacteria,algae, scale…there is no an easy way(just to add water without cleaning).African violets can do this job too.My orchids are among them so they provide enough humidity and I don’t do misting. So, windows are clean, orchids and violets are blooming, me-happy πŸ˜‰

      • That sounds awesome! My humidity trays are plastic and I normally wash them when I water my orchids. They are always super gross so I am going to look into one of these methods you suggested. Thanks!


  3. I have been gifted a beautiful flowering dendrobium nobile by a dear friend. I would be upset if it was to fall sick and I’d be even more upset If it was to die. I have fallen in love with natures beauty and I intend to do my best. I found your site looking for information on how to care for my orchid and I have read every post. Thank you to everybody for their information and concerns. I intend to put this in to practice right away.

  4. This is nice way to help orchids with humidity but you can face one little problem that can be prevented. Wet stones are like a magnet to the roots and they grow through the holes on the pot, That can make repotting really catchy but there is a simple advice to prevent that. In flower stores you can buy a plastic net for bouquets.I cut small circle shaped parts and place them above holes and then do repotting. Then roots can not grow outside .

  5. Hi! I have a question about no soap on the rocks. I have a pebble tray that I has a bit of an oopsie with. My phal orchid hadn’t been repotted in two years and the media broke down and grew fungus and mold. Once I noticed, I repotted and my orchid seems to be doing pretty well (I’m keeping a close eye on it because I discovered while repotting that it had been hit by root rot). Anyway, the fungus and mold had grown out of the drainage whole and got into my pebble tray. I have not put my orchid back onto the pebble tray for fear of the mold/fungus going after it again. I haven’t cleaned the pebbles yet because I’m not sure how to. I was originally going to clean them in the same very very mild bleach solution I use to sanitize my cutting tools, but someone else told me to just put them in the dishwasher (which isn’t possible because of how cheep my dishwasher is). Do you have any advice?

    Thank you!

    • I would just wash them with soap. Or use the mild bleach solution. They aren’t touching the plant so you shouldn’t have to worry it hurting the orchid,


  6. woo hoo, and I mean that! Thanks so much to Hannah-I just finished re-potting my first orchid :-)-mother’s day gift from my darling daughter. I appreciate the clear step-by-step details and the photos that support them. -a recipe for best chances of success if I ever saw one. My next move is that I plan to make a humidity tray as per directions on this site(I learn here that my orchid-Phalaeonpsis- loves humidity, and the air in my apartment isn’t naturally humid enough, I’m sure. )- Sherrie

  7. My orchid sits by the kitchen sink, when I am done with washing dishes I leave the water. But now I will make a humidity tray. I love your site, so much useful information. Thanks

  8. Do I have to leave a humidifier tray UNDER the plant? Isn’t it enough to have like a bowl of water near the plants? I have a few plants on window seals that aren’t big enough to have a tray underneath the pot. But I can leave a bowl of water near the plant. Would that work? Thank you.

  9. Hi Hannah! After filling your rocks with water, do I continue to water INSIDE the soil also?? Thanks!

  10. hi Hannah, thank you for all the excellent info you’ve provided. I received an orchid as a gift as I’m trying to quickly come up to speed! The orchid is in a clear plastic pot within a ceramic pot with no drainage hole. When I water it I soak it thoroughly, and then drain it thoroughly before putting it back in the ceramic pot. Do I need to change the outer pot to one with a drainage hole?

    Also one of the leaves is getting two small brown spots near the edge. Someone mentioned something about wiping them down with alcohol once a week. True or False?

    Oh I also have it on a humidity tray. Thanks!

  11. Thanks Hannah for the helpful information, that I can find a base and stones, to put my orchids on and let the water do the rest 😊

  12. Thank you! I will do so.

    Bother you with another question – the side of the container facing more light (not direct sunlight) has got some condensation or transpiration, not sure what that is. Is it something I should be worried about? I just re-potted it in new bark, still, same problem.

      • It was there before I made the humidity tray. Just on one half of the plastic pot. I would imagine if it was leftover water it would be all over, not on that part. I noticed that on the side that does not have this issue, I can see the green roots through the plastic, but on the side with the problem, I can only see bark, no roots, I don’t know if that is relevant.

      • I am sure it’s just condensation from leftover water. I would wait to water it again until that moisture is gone.


  13. Great write-up. I have got a question if you don’t mind. Instead of rocks, I am using clay pellets. My orchid is in a clear plastic cup-style container, that sits inside a small clear plastic drain plate. I bought a large plate and filled it with clay pellets and some water. My question is, do I 1) Place the orchid in original plastic container on top of the clay pellets 2) Place the orchid in original plastic container along with the small plastic drain plate on top of pellets 3) Place the orchid in original container submerged in clay pellets (not on top of them), or 4) Place the orchid in original container while still in small drain plate submerged in clay pellets (not on top of pellets)? There are 4 choices and I don’t know which one is the best, or if it even makes a difference.

    • Hi,

      Place the orchid – without the drain plate – on top of the pellets. Don’t submerge it. Remove the drain plate. No part of the orchid should be touching water. If an orchid’s roots constantly touch water they will rot.

      Hope that helps,


  14. I just found your site and I’m very happy! You have great information that has helped me with my new obsession of orchids!!

  15. Thank you Hannah. Yours was the only place on the internet that made it very clear how to care for my new orchid. Off to make my humidity tray and move the orchid to get more light. So easy when you have the expert help!

    • Thanks Heather!! What a great compliment! I am not an expert though πŸ™‚ there are many people who have degrees in such things. I just really love my orchids and couldn’t find a lot of helpful advice on the internet for beginners so I put everything I found here and what works for me.

      Hope it helps,


  16. Hi does the pot that the orchid is in need holes at the bottom for this to work?

  17. Rach
    Hi Hannah can the orchid stay on the humidity tray 24 seven?

    • Rachel,

      Hi and yes, yes, yes! They LOVE it!! They normally grow in very humid environments which we try to reproduce in our homes. As long as they are up above the water on rocks or whatever you use then yes!!


      • Thank you so much! I bought a dyed blue orchid from home depot and at the time I had no clue it was dyed until I read your website :(. At this point all the flowers have fallen off plus a couple leaves have turned yellow at the base. I’m trying to save it or nurse it back to health.


      • They can totally be saved! Orchids are pretty hardy. It may just take some time. If not then its completely not your fault. Good luck!!


  18. In lieu of a humidity tray I used a pot 2x as big as the plastic pot the orchid is planted in and put rocks in the bottom of the larger pot and the plastic pot on the rocks. The rocks set the smaller pot high enough so that the orchid leaves are clear of the rim of the larger pot. The larger pot is also wide enough that there is air circulation (+\- 1/4 inch) around the smaller pot. The water in the bigger pot does not come up to the top of the rocks so the orchid roots should stay out of the water. Is that okay or does it have to actually be a tray? Thank you for all the great information and encouragement!

    • Elise,

      That’s awesome!! I know people who have used ice trays when they left on vacation… You can use just about anything as long as it elevated πŸ™‚


  19. My windowsill is very thin, I can’t find a dish that’s thin enough, can I just put tiny “dip dishes” on either side of the plant?

  20. ^ I find that last one to be really funny. >.<
    I'm giggling over here…

    Anyway, just found your site and basically reading every single post. I think I found this thru google. Just googling orchid blogs.

    If you're running out of topics, another blog I follow just updates us with how her orchids are doing by posting pictures and such. Sometimes she reposts about previous topics or new products she uses.

  21. Hi Hannah, thank you so much for a beautiful and web side. I google the problem I have with my Orchid and I fund your page. I do hope you have an answer to my problem with my Orchid. It has so many beautiful green leavs, even at the top of the stems, but at all flowers. What do I do wrong ? Many thanks again,

  22. I have been using a glass dish with rocks for a humidity tray and it is really improving my results. What I don’t know is – should I periodically wash out the dish? It is a glass Pyrex baking dish, half filled with rocks. I keep the water level close to the top of the rocks and then the plants do not have wet roots. Now there seems to be algae growing on some of the rocks. Do I wash them off and if so what should I use? Thanks,

    • Hey Chris,

      I would love to help:) What your doing sounds great! I would wash off the rocks with hot water between fill ups. Wait till the water has gone down a bit and then wash them off in a strainer and put them back. You can even let them dry for a bit before you fill up the water again.


  23. Hi Hannah, I just found your site and have been eating up all this wonderful information! I just bought four more orchids (to double my “collection”) at a show this weekend and was struggling to create an easy solution for a humidity tray and this is perfect! I even have all of the supplies in my house already. πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work, I will definitely be back to visit your site for more information!

    • Thanks, Sarah! How did you find my blog? I have been working really hard at it! I looked at yours…super cool! Feel free to link my blog if you want,


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