Keeping plants healthy indoors requires maintaining the right temperature. Each plant species has its own temperature needs, so knowing your plant’s ideal range is important. In this article, we’ll look at some tips for keeping your home plant friendly, and how to deal with temperature related issues you might encounter.
Ideal Temperatures for Plants
Maintaining the right indoor temperature is crucial for your plant’s health and growth. Most house plants prefer temperatures between 60 to 75 F, which is great as that typically lines with most indoor temperatures anyways. There are also aspects like humidity to consider which can be influenced by temperature. In a similar vein, most indoor humidity levels are going to be perfectly fine for the majority of houseplants.
However, indoors, higher temperatures can stress plants and slow down their growth since these ideal conditions are absent. It’s best to avoid prolonged exposure to temperatures exceeding 75 F indoors.
On the other hand, plants also face issues when temperatures are too low, especially when combined with excessive watering. Cold temperatures below the recommended range can seriously harm plant growth and even lead to the plant dying.
It’s also important to remember that not all plants fit in this range. If you’re growing certain exotic plants, then you may need to provide higher temperatures or humidity.
Some plants also grow best when exposed to low temperatures allowing them a period of dormancy. This helps mimic the natural environment your plant would usually grow in, and is an important part of care for some plants.
Basic Guide for the Lowest Tolerable Plant Temperatures
Knowing how well your plants can handle different temperatures is crucial for their health, especially in colder times when extreme temperatures can harm their growth and survival. Different plants have different levels of temperature tolerance, and knowing their preferences will help you provide the right environment for them.
Delicate plants are sensitive to cold temperatures and thrive best at temperatures around 60 F. They come from warm tropical areas with stable weather. If exposed to colder temperatures, they can be harmed or die.
Some plants are called half-hardy, and many indoor plants fall into this category. They can tolerate colder conditions better than tender plants, surviving in temperatures between 50 to 55 F.
However, for their health and growth, it’s best to keep them in the range of 60 to 75 F. Cooler conditions might be okay, but they won’t be as happy or grow as well.
Certain plants are incredibly tough and can handle cold weather better than other types. They can survive temperatures as low as 45 F and sometimes even colder. These plants are well-suited to cooler climates and can endure frost and cold nights. However, to ensure better growth and flowering or fruiting, provide them with their preferred temperature range.
Temperature Preferences of Plant Types
In addition to understanding the temperature tolerance of individual plants, it’s essential to recognize the preferred temperature ranges for different plant types. We’ve classified these into tropical plants, temperate plants, and cool-season plants. Let’s get into the details of each.
Tropical plants love warm and humid weather. They do best when it’s between 65 to 85 F during the day, and not colder than 60 F at night. If they experience temperatures below what they like, they may show signs of stress, like yellowing or dropping leaves.
Plants that like moderate weather are called temperate plants. They enjoy temperatures between 55 to 75 F during the day. At night, it’s a little cooler, around 50 to 60 F. They can handle a wider range of temperatures than tropical plants, but they still need a stable and mild environment to grow well.
Cool-season plants love cooler weather. They do best when it’s around 60 to 70 F during the day and 45 to 55 F at night. These plants are perfect for cooler climates and thrive in spring and fall when the temperatures are just right.
Possible Issues When Temperature Is Too High
When the indoor temperatures become too hot for your plants, it can cause various problems that impact their health and growth. Let’s explore the potential outcomes of subjecting our indoor plants to excessively high temperatures.
Hot weather can make plants lose too much water through transpiration. When this happens, the plant can’t absorb water quickly enough from its roots, leading to wilting. Wilting is a way plants protect themselves by saving water and avoiding dehydration.
Spending a lot of time in hot weather can cause heat stress in plants. Heat-stressed plants might show yellow or brown leaves, especially at the edges or tips. This change in color happens because of chlorophyll breakdown and reduced photosynthesis, which means the plant produces less energy.
Increased Water Loss
When the weather gets warmer, plants lose more water through tiny openings on their leaves called stomata. This process is known as transpiration. As a result, plants might need to be watered more often to make up for the extra water they’re losing.
Heat Stress and Plant Death
In some instances, very hot weather can cause heat stress in plants, leading to permanent harm to their tissues and cells. This harm may eventually cause the plants to die.
Possible Issues When Temperature Is Too Low
When the temperature inside your home becomes too cold for your plants, they encounter unique challenges that can hinder their growth and survival. Even though these challenges are different, they are equally important to address.
When it gets really cold, plants’ processes slow down, and they don’t grow as well. Some plants might even take a break from growing until it gets warmer, to save energy.
Yellow or Brown Leaves
Leaves on the plant’s surface can get hurt in the cold, turning yellow or brown. This condition shows the plant is stressed and doing less photosynthesis.
Harm to Roots
The plant’s roots can also be affected by the cold. If the soil gets too cold, the roots won’t grow well. As a result, the plant won’t be able to take in enough nutrients and water.
Frost is especially bad for many plants. When ice forms inside the plant cells, they can burst, hurting the plant’s tissues. Frost-damaged plants tend to look wilted, have dark or black parts, and won’t be as healthy in general.
How to Correct Temperature-Related Problems
Regularly monitoring the indoor environment is vital to protect your plants from extreme temperatures. We’ve listed some tried-and-true tips to help you keep your indoor plants from dying.
Correcting High-Temperature Issues
To help your plants feel more comfortable, move them away from direct sunlight or windows during the hottest part of the day. Use shades or curtains to shield them from excessive sunlight. Place a fan in the room for better air circulation.
Misting the leaves with water can also create a cooling effect through evaporation. If needed, consider using an air conditioner for a cooler indoor environment.
Correcting Low-Temperature Issues
If your plants are feeling chilly, move them closer to windows or heat sources like heaters. But don’t keep them too close to avoid leaf damage. Use a space heater in the room, keeping it at a safe distance from the plants. To trap heat, cover the plants with clear plastic or glass. Water the plants during the day to utilize the heat from the water for a slight warming effect.
Other Things to Watch Out For
There are some things that we take for granted that affect our indoor plants in more ways than one. When growing plants indoors, it’s always best to check first for these factors.
Avoid placing plants directly in front of air vents or air conditioning units. The continuous flow of hot or cold air can stress the plants due to constant temperature fluctuations.
Although heaters can be used to warm up a room, it’s essential to keep them at a safe distance from plants. This prevents leaf burn and overheating, which can harm the plants.
While windowsills are popular spots for indoor plants, be mindful that they might become too cold during winter or too hot during summer. Keep an eye on the temperature and consider moving the plants if necessary.
It’s best to avoid placing plants in drafty areas as sudden drops in temperature can be harmful to them. Take a moment to check for drafts near windows and doors, and if you find any, move the plants to a more stable location.
To protect your plants from overheating and soil drying out, make sure to keep them away from radiators or other heat sources. A safe distance is essential for their well-being.
Temperature Fluctuations and Cold Spells
Watch out for extreme temperatures. Indoor plants can handle some changes, but sudden big drops or extended periods of cold can harm them. Normally, a change of about 5 to 10 degrees is okay, but anything more extreme could cause growth issues. Keep an eye on the temperature to ensure your plants stay healthy.