Are you sick of spending a ridiculous amount of time watering your plants or tired of seeing the surfaces where they sit destroyed? Then you should consider buying a humidity tray. If there is anything plant lovers like to see more than anything, it’s our plants flourishing. But let’s face it, sometimes they are a pain in the rear, and they take a lot of care. Honestly, I think some of my plants are more high maintenance than a child.
Even if you love spending the time to water your plants, though, and they never damage any of your surfaces, humidity trays are nifty. Some plants, like Bonsai trees and orchids, need to maintain a certain level of moisture between waterings. These trays can help accomplish that — and your plants will thank you.
What is a Humidity Tray?
Typically rectangular or square, a humidity tray sits under your plants to gather water. Bonsai growers often fill them with rocks, but other indoor gardeners use grates or hex liners.
A humidity tray catches the water that either overflows when you water your plants, evaporates from them, or seeps through holes in the bottom of your pots. One of its functions is to protect whatever surface you’ve placed them on; a windowsill, shelf, or table. But the water also evaporates over time and rises back up to your plants. Major online retailers such as Amazon and Home Depot sell humidity trays. Other online retailers only sell them during the spring growing season. They can also be found at independent online and brick-and-mortar garden stores.
Questions to Ask Before Buying a Humidity Tray
While not a large investment, you still don’t want to spend your money buying the wrong humidity tray. To determine the tray that will meet your needs, ask yourself the following questions about size and make your list of requirements.
If you’re looking for a tray that will fit several potted plants, you’ll need to buy a more substantial option. Want to fill a space in the corner of a desk or coffee table? Stick with a smaller, square tray. Bonsai and orchid-growers tend to prefer a particular shape and size to fit standard pots.
Will you be moving your plants often to follow the sun? You’ll want a sturdier, heavy-duty tray that’s still easy to lift. If you don’t want to take your plants to the sink to water them, a grate keeps your plant’s roots from sitting in water and collects overflow.
How We Reviewed
When selecting the trays that made our list, we looked at features, price point, and online reviews. We made choosing a variety of trays that offered different options; from grates and inserts to feet on the bottom, a priority. Lastly, we considered all budgets and price ranges to put together a list where truly everyone can find a humidity tray to meet their needs.
Top Ten Humidity Trays
There are a wide variety of humidity trays on the market. Options are sold singly, or in packs, with or without grates or liners and mesh inserts. Our top ten list includes a humidity tray for every indoor gardener’s needs, presented in no particular order.
1. Single Grate Humidi-Grow Humidity Tray
A squarer tray, made of heavy-duty plastic, the Humidi-Grow Humidity Tray has a removable grate for easy cleaning and improved airflow. It measures 13.5-inches long, 10.5-inches wide, and 2.25-inches deep. It has a fluted shape, with a narrower base that expands into the tray. You must contact them before sending a return, and they have a 30-day return window and a 15 percent restocking fee.
Advantages of the tray are that it has a nice shape for small spaces and visual appeal, and it includes a removable grate. Disadvantages would be that’s more expensive than comparable trays, and there are no reviews available.
2. Orchid Light Maple Framed Grow & Show Tray
The Orchid Light Maple Framed Grow & Show Tray is a top-of-the-line humidity tray, one that is beautiful, practical and easy-to-use. It’s also the most expensive on the list, and the only one made of wood. A polished maple wood frame encloses an injection-molded tray and hex liner insert.
It measures 26-inches long by 12-inches wide and is 2.5-inches deep. A 12-inch, metal clad and silicon-reinforced drainage hose pulls out from one of the tray’s corners. Just carry over a bowl or bucket to empty in place. The company offers a 90-day no-risk trial period. You can return it at any time during that period. After the 90 days, the manufacturer’s warranties apply. Advantages of owning this tray include that it is visually appealing and easy to use.
3. GrowLife Cut Tray 10X20 with Mesh Tray
The GrowLife Cut Tray measures 10-inches wide by 20-inches long and includes a mesh tray. The diamond-shaped holes in the tray are a unique feature, perfect for inserting cuttings. A heavy-duty and reusable tray, the company offers award-winning support and a price match guarantee. You need to mail returns of unused and unopened items within 30 days.
Pros include its inexpensive price point, and that it has a mesh tray, this is a good choice if you’re just getting started with humidity trays and don’t want to invest a lot of money. If you’re a fan of online reviews, there are not available, and it’s difficult to verify the company’s claims.
4. Waldor Small Humidi-Grow Tray (HT-101)
This tray fits rectangular spaces, measuring 13.5-inches long, 10.5-inches wide, and 2.25-inches high, but has rounded corners for aesthetic appeal. It also includes a drainage tray. We recommend it for gardeners who want to improve the humidity reaching several pots.
Instructions state to place pots with large drain holes on top of the grate. The ability to water plants in place, rather than carrying them to the sink, is a perk. Excess water flows through the pots and collects in the tray. There is no information on their return or exchange policy for humidity trays on their website. The tray includes a tray for drainage, it fits several plants, and you can water the plants in place. Unfortunately, it’s more expensive than other options.
5. Bonsai Drip & Humidity Tray
Unlike many of its competitors, this tray comes in a softer matte brown color, with rounded corners and feet to raise its perimeter off the surface. It doesn’t include a mesh insert or grate, and none would fit due to its shallow depth. It measures 8.5 inches long by 6.25 inches wide and is just 0.75-inch high.
It’s a definitely plus that if you don’t have a lot of space, its smaller size will work. Cons are that without a grate or insert you’ll have to keep a closer eye on emptying the tray, as overflow could damage the surface of its location.
6. Eastern Leaf Textured Humidity Trays
Unique among all the other plastic trays, this tray has a textured surface. It adds style and makes gripping and carrying it to the sink easier. The tray measures 13-inches long by 9.5-inches wide and is a 0.5-inch high.
The tray comes with natural white rocks to catch overflow water when watering. When sending a return, they subtract shipping and handling. Returns have to be unused and sent within 30 days. The tray comes with rocks, which is fantastic. What is not so fantastic is that it is extremely shallow, mainly designed for Bonsai trees.
7. Fujiyama 10.5” Plastic Humidity Trays PP12T
Three trays come with this humidity tray, and each one measures 10.5-inches by 7.25-inches by 1 1/14 inches. These trays do not fit hex liners or drainage grates and inserts.
Attractively shaped, with molded feet to rest on a table or shelf, while they serve a purpose they’re also decorative. Reviewers report that the durable molded plastic is rigid and strong. The tray is durable and strong. They also fit in small spaces and attractively host pots. Unfortunately, these trays don’t provide drainage options.
8. True Leaf Market 10×20 Growing Trays Without Holes
This is just a basic drip tray with no holes. If you’re looking to buy a standard 10 by 20 tray in bulk, this will fit your needs. It’s made of plastic and is reusable. Some reviewers have complained that they are a bit flimsy and tend to warp. If you plan on moving your plants often, take this tray off your list.
You only have 10 days to contact them for a return, and then 30 days from purchase to send it back. Given its low price, it probably wouldn’t be worth your time. Pros for this tray is that you can buy in bulk, with discounts. However, it’s flimsier, so if you buy this tray don’t plan on moving your plants often.
9. Heavy Duty Black Humidity/Drip Bonsai Tray
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, how about this cool, unusually-shaped tray? It’s scalloped edges define three spaces for plants. The outside diameter measures 30-inches long by 15-inches wide and 1.375 inches deep.
Due to its shape, it’s not possible to buy a separate insert or grate, but you could fill it with rocks. Also, its unique shape means that it won’t fit all spaces, and there is no way to purchase a grate or insert separately. However, it’s fun shape with defined spots for three plants.
10. Gro-Pro Humidity Tray with Grid
While similar to many other trays, this 12-inch by 22-inch plastic tray comes with a matching grid tray cover in addition to the inset grid. Another nice option is the mini greenhouse grow dome, sold separately, which fits on top of the tray. Gardners can put smaller plants, up to seven inches high, under the grow dome if they need a more humid environment.
Sold by an independent retailer, the only information available on returns is that you must call and arrange them in advance. This humidity tray comes with a matching grid tray cover, and you have the option to purchase a mini greenhouse grow dome to sit on top. Unfortunately, there is no return information available.
Our Top Pick
The GrowLife Cut Tray 10X20 with Mesh Tray is our top pick for indoor gardeners looking for a generic humidity tray. It’s cheap, comes in a standard size, and includes a drip tray. As well, the company offers a 30-day return policy and excellent customer support.
The other trays on our list all have specifications that narrow down their usage to specific plants or growing conditions. But if you are looking for a humidity tray with more options, you’ll find it in our top 10. Have you tried growing plants with a humidity tray? What were your results?