Temperature and Houseplants: 3 Lessons Every Beginner Should Know

Every houseplant is technically out of its element, and the quirks of indoor heating and air conditioning can often create complications when it comes to how plants perceive the world around them. 

My own struggles to wrap my head around the hot-cold sweet spot are why we needed to talk about temperature in the Plantastic Six Pack. I didn’t want anyone else to struggle to find the right balance for their plants, and that’s why I’m sharing the 3 lessons about temperature I wish I had learned when I was a newbie Plant Person.


Lesson 1: Your plants react physically to temperature changes.

This one seems obvious, but I know how easy it is to forget that your Plant Pals aren’t leafy furniture; they’re living things, and very much have internal cycles built around time and temperature.

If your house is too cold, your plant may slow down its growth, go dormant, or even sustain long-term damage.

If your house is too hot, and specifically if your plant is exposed to direct heat, it could become wilted and dehydrated fairly quickly.

It can be a challenge to find a place that both gives your Plant Pals enough light and is in the Goldilocks zone in terms of temperature, but it’s about direction, not perfection!


Lesson 2: All houseplants will do well in average room temperatures.

As we’ve said before, the name of the game with houseplants is doing whatever we can to make our home match their natural habitat, within reason. (I’m not asking you to turn your reading nook into a Rainforest Cafe.)

Most houseplants are tropical, subtropical, or desert plants. That means that the average human room temperature often overlaps with their acceptable range:

  • 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or
  • 18 to 27 degrees Celsius

So as long as your home is within those ranges, you should be good! But keep this in mind if you keep your Plant Pals in a sunroom, balcony, or any other non-temperature-controlled room. Make sure to move those plants indoors during extreme weather seasons.


Lesson 3: Plants shouldn’t be placed near heating or AC vents.

This is so easy to overlook, but it can cause enduring problems for your Plant Pals!

It often happens that the best spot for your new plant is right beside an AC or heating vent. Depending on if it’s hot or cold air, your houseplant could start exhibiting the same physiological responses I mentioned earlier. We don’t want your Plant Pal thinking it’s suddenly winter in July because it’s right beside your AC vent, right?

Close proximity to vents can also cause your plant to dehydrate too quickly, reduce the overall humidity, and generally make them weaker, damage their leaves,  and leave them more susceptible to pests and disease.

My rule of thumb here is simple: Keep your plants at least 3 feet away from any vents!

It’s true that some plant species will be more tolerant to vents than others, but our goal is to give our Plant Pals the best conditions we can, so we recommend erring on the side of caution!


How can all this help you today?

I had plants suffer for years because I didn’t realize they were right beside a vent or a radiator, or I left them on the porch way too late in the fall. And of all the Plantastic Six Pack topics, this one is the easiest to fix: Do it once, and you’re good!

With these lessons, you’ll have one less thing to worry about when it comes to keeping your plants happy and healthy. These takeaways would have saved me years of damaging my plants and throwing them off their rhythm because I assumed they were fine with any heat/cold I subjected them to. Now you know better!

If you want to keep on growing, catch up on the other Plantastic Six Pack blogs here!

Plant Pals The Houseplant Pep Talk Cover

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