Humidity is the amount of water vapor present in the air. Those who have been in Panama before are completely aware of the high levels of humidity Panama City has during certain times of the year. Normally during the rainy season, high temperatures lead people to stay indoors.
Humidity is common because of Panama’s strategic position in the tropics. Surrounded by two seas combined with tropical weather where there is either rain or sun and often times both in the same day, levels of water vapor as well as temperatures rise.
Humans are highly sensitive to changes in humidity. This is because our skin uses the air around us, to get rid of moisture in the form of sweat. If the relative humidity is very high, the air is already saturated with water vapor and our sweat won’t evaporate. When this happens our environment and our body feels hotter than the actual temperature.
It’s a fact that we are sensitive to humidity, and so are our belongings. A warm moist environment, is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold, hence if you are not careful, some of your things will get ruined. Especially those that are inside closed areas like closets and cabinets including items such as books, shoes, or clothing.
How do you know for sure if your home is being affected by humidity? Easy. You will notice foggy windows, smell a musty odour or your hands and feet will start feeling damp and sticky.
We have gathered a list of five plants that are easily found here in Panama and can reduce humidity levels in your home.
Boston Fern / Helecho Boston
The Boston Fern, also known in Spanish as “Helecho Boston”, will naturally absorb the moisture and balance out the humidity levels to make your home more comfortable. Boston ferns don’t demand too much care.
Indirect sunlight and moist soil are all a Boston fern needs to survive in your home. As it starts growing, it is recommended to be hung from the ceiling, for better care and visibility.
Reed Palm / Palma Bamboo
In Panama, the reed palm is known as Palma bamboo. Palms fare better in the tropics, therefore they are usually found in the tropical areas of the world. These plants will absorb the moisture through their leaves and help purify the indoor air.
Regarding care, the reed palm can survive in spaces with low light, making it an ideal choice for apartments. Yet if kept in a more lit area, the plant will grow several feet larger than if kept in the dark. Just make sure that you always keep the soil moist to help it thrive.
English Ivy / Hiedra Inglesa
Hedera Helix, also known in English ivy or “Hiedra Inglesa” in Spanish, is great way to eliminate airborne mold. This plant is a must have for pet owners. The reason behind it, is that this plant can reduce the amount of airborne fecal matter and the smells it carries along with it.
Taking care of this plant is relatively easy. Same as the others mentioned above. For example, the English Ivy survives in poor lit spaces and just needs the soil to be moist to grow. Keep in mind that as this plant grows, its leaves start to get long and tend to touch the floor; therefore it can be hung from the ceiling to help reduce the humidity that rises.
Spider Plant / Planta Canción de la India
The spider plant, better known in Panamá as “Canción de la India”, is considered one of the easiest houseplants to grow indoors.
These plants have a high tolerance, making it ideal for those who are new into plants and gardening. The soil should be moist, but drained on a regular basis. Letting the roots get soggy will cause the plant to die. In fact, sometimes it’s best to let them dry out a bit between watering.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree / Dactilera Enana
Pygmy Date Palm or “Dactilera Enana” is a dwarf plant reaching several feet tall after a couple years of growth. As a small palm tree, it absorbs the humidity in the environment and its surroundings. The plant does not require direct sunlight and will grow in the natural light in your home. Bright Indirect light from the morning, will give the palm the light it needs. Make sure that you put it in a pot that drains well, because too much water can make its roots rot and your palm tree to die.
There are many things you can do to help remove the humidity levels in Panama City. Start with opening the windows, closet doors and cabinets to allow the air flow through all areas of your home. Also you can use the kitchen and bathroom extractors to circulate air, cook with the lids of pots and pans on, add a dehumidifier etc. Adding plants is a great alternative since they are usually inexpensive and are great to decorate.