Having plants in your home is quite beneficial. In addition to absorbing toxins and beautifying your space, they are also able to reduce the ambient temperature of your home, ultimately reducing your energy costs.
In this article, you will learn how plants are able to reduce temperature, how to effectively place your plants to do so, and what plants can actually keep your home cool.
Plants are able to improve the quality of air, even regulate temperature. They are able to do so by absorbing the carbon dioxide molecules that bind with heat. Plants like Aloe, Rubber plant, Golden Pothos, Areca Palm, Weeping Fig, Boston Fern, and Snake Plant are effective in reducing temperature.
How Do Plants Reduce Ambient Temperature?
Carbon dioxide is produced by humans as waste during respiration. In an indoor environment, the molecules of carbon dioxide will accumulate and absorb heat which makes the ambient temperature higher than normal. As we increase the number of occupants within a given space, the heat produced by our bodies as well as the existing heat in the area will be amplified because of the carbon dioxide molecules.
Plants produce their food through photosynthesis.
This process is done through the help of sunlight, water, nutrients in the soil, and carbon dioxide. Basically, plants will absorb the carbon dioxide in the air and actively lower the temperature.
There have been various studies and experiments conducted to prove this phenomenon.
One experiment was done with three different boxes filled with sand. Each box had a thermometer installed, and on the first day, the ambient temperature was noted. One box only had sand, while the second box had one plant and the third box had three.
The temperature was taken daily, and it was evident that the box with more plants had a significantly lower temperature compared to the one that did not have any plants at all.
Plants That Can Keep Your Home Cool and How to Take Care of Them
Although all plants can reduce temperatures of a given area, there are some that are more efficient than others in this particular scenario. Here are a few house plants that can help you achieve a cooler space:
Aloe (Aloe vera)
Closely related to succulents, the aloe plant is quite easy to care for and is absolutely great for reducing the temperature indoors. These plants are also beneficial as air purifiers since they are able to absorb formaldehyde from the air.
How to Care for Your Plant:
Place your plant in a bright space. The aloe vera does well indoor and outdoor, as long as they are provided with proper sunlight. If grown in shady or low-lit spaces, they tend to become leggy.
Ideally best in temperatures between 55 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Although they are able to regulate temperature well by locking in moisture even during droughts.
Water them abundantly but not as frequent in order to avoid rotting. Allow the soil to dry up at least 2 inches deep in between watering, and make sure the pot has a drain to prevent the plant from sitting in water. For better results, water your plants every three weeks and even less during winter.
Fertilize your aloe plant no more than once a month during its active season with a diluted concentration of houseplant formula.
When roots start to over-grow, replant your aloe vera in a larger pot. Mature aloe plants can produce plantlets, which can easily be removed and repotted as a new plant.
The aloe plant comes in different varieties, depending on your preference you can either get a regular Aloe vera, Aloe variegata, Aloe aristat, or an Aloe glauca. Each will still have the same care regimen.
Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
In the forest, these plants can grow up to 50 feet tall, but indoor versions of these plants would stand at 6 to 10 feet at most, given there is enough space. Like most indoor plants, rubber plants are not difficult to manage. With the perfect balance of basic essentials, your plant will surely thrive and help reduce the temperature of your home.
How to Care for Your Plant
Although they thrive outdoors, it would be best to provide your rubber plant with indirect sunlight. Placing your plant by the window where it has access to all the light it needs would be perfect amount; not too little and not too much.
During growing seasons, the rubber plant’s soil must be kept moist, but make sure you are not over watering them. During dormant seasons like winter, you only need to water your plant once or twice a month. An indication of overwatering is when the leaves start to change in color and fall off.
You may also opt to wipe the leaves of your plant with a damp cloth since it does have the tendency to collect a lot of dust. This also allows your plant to acquire more moisture. Be sure not to do this frequently as it will over hydrate your plant.
Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Quite versatile and easy to care for, the golden pothos is quite a popular indoor plant, even for beginners. They are able to thrive in both indoor and outdoor spaces, with lots of light and minimal watering. Aside from the beauty this plant can provide, it is also efficient in keeping your air cool and purified. These plants can easily be bought anywhere for quite a small amount. Definitely a great starter plant for any garden.
How to Take Care of Your Plant
The golden pothos is quite adaptable to any setting. They can thrive in brightly lit areas, like outdoor gardens, porches, and balconies. They can also survive in low-lit spaces. However, it would be ideal to keep them in a place where it has access to light, for at least 4 to 6 hours.
This plant has a very shallow root system, which means watering should be kept to a minimum since the root is able to absorb the water as soon as it touches the soil. Avoid soaking the soil in water to avoid root rot. During dormant seasons, it would be best to reduce the frequency of watering.
A monthly balanced fertilizer would do great for your plant, but this is not absolutely required.
Being a crawling vine type of plant, it would be necessary to trim your golden pothos once every 6 months or as needed.
Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
The areca palm is quite a favorite for decor. It is a natural humidifier as well as a great air purifier since it can remove benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air. In addition to this, it is able to cool ambient temperature around it.
How to Care for Your Plant?
Compared to other indoor plants, the areca palm will not tolerate neglect. You need to keep a regular watering schedule for it and make sure that the soil is moist during active growing seasons. Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering during dorman seasons like fall and winter.
Fertilizers should be administered during spring time only. The micronutrients in the fertilizer will be great to enhance foliar production and color.
You may need to re-pot your plant every two or three years. This plant prefers small pots. The smaller the container, the more crowded the roots are. This also limits the size of the plant. The only reason you would need to re-pot your plant is to replace the old soil that may be filled with too much salt deposits.
The roots of the areca palm are quite brittle, it is important to be gentle with it during repotting. You would also need to eliminate air pockets from the pot by pressing down on the soil.
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
Also known as the ficus tree this plant is able to keep the ambient temperature cool as well as eliminate indoor air pollution, improving overall air quality. There are actually hundreds of species of ficus plants, but the weeping fig in particular is quite popular.
It grows dense, glossy, and dark leaves that look quite elegant. When they are stressed, they start to shed leaves which could be quite problematic in terms of cleaning. Nonetheless, it is still one of the best plants to reduce overall temperature.
Unlike most indoor plants, the weeping fig is quite sensitive and would need a lot of your attention. If you are a new gardener, we wouldn’t recommend getting this particular plant for your starter garden.
How to Take Care of Your Plant
The weeping fig prefers brightly-lit rooms, but they do fine with little direct morning sun. In the wild, they thrive in shady areas and by mimicking the conditions they are used to, you will definitely see the difference in how much they grow.
Avoid moving them too much, the plant dislikes movement and it may start shedding since it thinks this is some form of stress. Once you have found a place for it, be sure that they will be able to access enough light, since moving them every time would not be a good idea.
Fast-draining potting soil is definitely the best choice of soil for your weeping fig. You would not need to use high-nutrient soil. You can also add sand, perlite or vermiculite to improve drainage of your potting soil
The weeping fig loves moist soil, but be sure not to drown your plant in too much water. If it becomes over hydrated the roots will start to rot and eventually cause the leaves to change color and drop. It helps to keep a regular and consistent watering schedule, this way you are able to adjust to the sensitivity of the plant.
Being heavy feeders, this plant would need a lot of fertilizer during their growing season. If you notice your plant shedding, in spite of having a well-balance amount of lighting, water, temperature, humidity, it would need fertilizer with a little magnesium.
Since they can be quite tall, you would need to prune your plant every now and then. Especially when it starts reaching your ceiling. Pruning should be done during the winter, since it would be less susceptible to injuring during dormant phases. Be sure to remove dead leaves from your potted plant since it will promote the growth of fungus.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
Relatively easier to care for than the weeping fig, but definitely specific. One thing this plant is great at is absorbing humidity which would eventually reduce the temperature of a given space. There are lots of fern varieties available in the market but the Boston fern is one of the most desired due to their long graceful fronds adorned with smaller leaves. By providing your Boston fern with the proper care, it can reach its growth potential.
How to Care for Your Plant
The Boston fern needs bright indirect light. There are some varieties that can handle direct sunlight, but most still thrive better in filtered light for 4 to 6 hours.
It is essential that the potting soil is moist at all times. If your plant’s soil starts to dry out, this could cause wilting. Keep a regular and consistent watering schedule that will allow you to maintain the soil’s moisture.
Misting the leaves with water frequently is also important. Since these plants love moisture, it would be an excellent way to keep them moist especially during hot days.
They are quite resistant to cold condition, and some may even survive a sudden chill, but ideally, it is best to keep them within 60 to 75 degrees fahrenheit.
Unlike most indoor plants, the Boston fern prefers loamy and rich soil. There is a good draining quality but the soil is still able to keep in the extra moisture the plant would need throughout the day.
Fertilize your plant during growing season, the use of
slow-release pellets are highly recommended. If there is little to almost no
improvement, you may gradually add more pellets over time.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
The snake plant is one of the most resilient and most beneficial indoor plant. They are known to purify the air as well as give off oxygen even during the night. Since it is able to absorb large numbers of toxins from its environment, including carbon dioxide, you can be sure that they are efficient in lowering the temperature of your area too.
How to Care for Your Plant
Due to the fact that snake plants are prone to root rot they prefere free-draining soil. Using loose soil in a terracotta pot would be highly efficient as to not trap the water inside.
They are quite resilient, that they can survive periods of neglect. They need to be dried in between watering, which means you don’t have to fuss over them all the time. During colder seasons, it may come to a point that you don’t need to water them more than once a month.
Keep your plant in indirect sunlight. If you do not have a place that it would have access to direct light, you can opt to use grow lights to help them start photosynthesis.
Effective Plant Placement to Keep Your Home Cool
It’s all about strategic placement. As we have mentioned earlier, plants absorb the carbon dioxide in the air to be able to reduce the heat in a space. This carbon dioxide is basically our respiratory waste product and may also originate from other sources of our home, which end up being the indoor pollutants we are not aware of.
Keep your plant in areas that are frequented by people at home. This way, they are able to get the carbon dioxide they need, and give us the oxygen in return.
Place them near windows, this provides them with indirect sunlight that would be essential for them to produce food. This also creates internal shading from the sun’s harsh light.
Since plants are also great at absorbing humidity, keeping them in humid spaces can improve the temperature of that particular area, making it more comfortable for you.
Don’t crowd all your plants in one area, by distributing them well around your home you are able to promote better air circulation for both yourself and the plants.
Large Scale Effects of Abundant Greenery
The benefits of having plants around are quite beneficial even on a large scale. Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, as well as other toxins in the atmosphere can be greatly reduced if more plants and trees would be planted. This will make our environment cleaner and cooler at the same time. It’s about time that urban areas take a step to actively promote a greener community. A little effort does go a long way, and our children deserve a better and safer planet.
At the end of the day, what we want to know is if indoor houseplant can reduce our energy consumption by cooling our space. Fortunately, it has been proven to be quite effective. The more plants you have in your home the cooler it becomes which ultimately eliminates the need for you to use air conditioning. By choosing to start your indoor garden today, you are improving your health and lifestyle.