Indoor plants are great. They can add beauty to a room, make it smell nice, and even help purify the air. But something that’s often overlooked when you’re learning how to take care of indoor plants is how your air conditioning may affect them.
Many indoor plants typically like humidity. But leaving the windows open on a sultry summer day isn’t always the best option. What’s comfortable for your plant probably won’t be comfortable for you and your family.
So, go ahead, kick on the AC and let’s take a look at how to take care of indoor plants in an air-conditioned room.
Location, Location, Location
When you’re deciding how to take care of your indoor plants, a critical first step is deciding where you’re going to put them. This is especially important if you plan to keep your plants in an air-conditioned room.
Some plants can cope with air conditioning as long as their leaves don’t come into direct contact with jets of cold air. You should set these plants as far away from your vents as possible. Cold air blowing directly on plants often strips it of its moisture.
You should also pay attention to the color of your plant’s leaves. If they start fading, or if your leaves are wilting, it could be because the plant is too close to an air conditioning vent.
For best results, place your plant in a room that is consistently between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the night.
Get a Handle on Humidity
Air conditioning aside, another factor that affects how to take care of indoor plants is humidity. You will need to monitor humidity levels in the room your plant will live. Many indoor plants are tropical and thrive when humidity levels are between 55 and 75 percent.
The easiest way to measure humidity is to buy a Hygrometer. You can find them in almost any home improvement store. But if your windows fog frequently, that’s a sign the humidity in your home is too high.
An easy way to check if the humidity in a room is too low is to try this:
- Place two or three ice cubes into a glass
- Add water and stir
- Wait three minutes.
If moisture does not form on the outside of the glass, the air is too dry and you may need a humidifier.
If the air is too dry, you can help some varieties of indoor plants by regularly misting the leaves and watering the potting soil. This can keep your plant's immediate growing zone humid enough to survive. But be careful. Too much moisture encourages bacteria and fungal growth, which can lead to orchid diseases.
You’ll have to find a healthy balance between the temperature of your room and the relative humidity.
Protect Your Indoor Plants
When you’re learning how to take care of indoor plants, you’re going to find out that some of them may be too sensitive to cold air, temperature changes, and varying humidity levels—especially the small ones. So, if you want to keep the air conditioning cranking but don’t want to remove your small indoor plants, protect them with glass.
For example, you can build a terrarium that allows you to still view and enjoy the plants but helps keep out colder temps and dry air. They’re pretty easy to make and can even be a fun project for you and your kids to do together.
Learning how to take care of indoor plants can be fun. Understanding the environment your plants are used to helps tremendously. Air conditioning doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your plants; just mind the air around them.
For tips on how to keep your indoor plants thriving during the "dog days" of summer and all year long, check out our complete guide to orchid care.