If your indoor space is a little chilly, that doesn’t mean you have to hold back from being surrounded by houseplants! Truth be told, a variety of houseplants can handle – and even prefer – cooler temperatures.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 houseplants that can, to a certain extent, resist the cold. We’ll also go through some helpful tips and a few must-knows about these sturdy indoor plants.
Understanding the Challenges of Cold Rooms for Houseplants
Not every plant is built to withstand lower temperatures, which is why some of your houseplants might start to look a bit unhappy if they’re spending a lot of time in cold environments.
The Plant’s Origin
Plants from tropical climates, like ferns and orchids, are used to constant and consistent temperatures year-round, usually on the warmer side. As a result, they might struggle when exposed to cold, fluctuating conditions in your home.
Effects of Cold
You might notice a plant’s growth rate slowing down, its leaves wilting or turning yellow, and the appearance of brown, dry spots on its leaves.
Ice crystals might even form within the plant’s cells, damaging them and preventing the plant from performing its essential processes, like photosynthesis and respiration.
What temperature range is considered cold for houseplants?
Well, most indoor houseplants originate from tropical or subtropical regions, meaning they’re adapted to conditions warmer and more humid than what they might find in your average home.
Especially in winters or in rooms with less insulation, the temperature can drop significantly, which isn’t a delight for most tropical plants.
The average comfortable temperature range for houseplants sits between 15 Degrees Celsius and 25 Degrees Celsius. However, once the temperature takes a downward plunge below 12 Degrees Celsius, it can begin to stress most plants.
For the hardy plants we’ve highlighted on our list, they can tolerate temperatures as low as 4-5 Degrees Celsius.
It’s important, though, to remember that while these plants can tolerate colder temperatures, it doesn’t necessarily mean they prefer them or will particularly thrive in them.
When placed in cold rooms, growth might be slower and the plant might enter a state of dormancy, where all growth ceases entirely.
The 10 Best Houseplants for Cold Rooms
Snake Plant (Sanseviera)
Native to West Africa, the Snake Plant is famed for its ability to survive in less than ideal conditions. Not only can it handle lower temperatures but it also thrives in low light conditions.
- Light requirements: Low to bright, indirect light.
- Water requirements: Let the soil dry between waterings. Overwatering can cause root rot.
- Temperature resistance: Can tolerate temperatures as low as 10°C.
A bonus to this plant is its air purifying abilities. It’s known to filter out toxins from the air, contributing to a healthier environment in your home.
Known scientifically as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, the ZZ plant is a striking houseplant offering glossy, dark green leaves that can thrive even in chillier living spaces.
It’s adaptable, robust, and doesn’t require a tonne of maintenance.
Originating from East Africa, the ZZ plant has developed a resilient nature suited for survival in harsh conditions, such as cold rooms.
- Light: : The ZZ plant is not fussy. Although it appreciates bright indirect light, it can also do well in minimal light conditions.
- Water: It’s a ‘better under than over water’ situation here. Wait until the soil is completely dry before giving this plant a sip.
- Temperature: Can tolerate temperatures as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).
Standing out with its luscious, dark green leaves and aesthetically pleasing white blooms, the Peace Lily is quite lenient towards less-than-ideal temperatures.
Over years of evolution, this particular species of flora has adapted wonderfully to survive in the understory of rain forests, which are typically colder and receive less sunlight.
However, the Peace Lily, like any other houseplant, thrives best in warmer indoor environments. It will, however, pretty decently endure colder rooms down to about 12°C.
When it comes to watering your Peace Lily, don’t go overboard. A common issue for these plants is overwatering, leading to rotting roots. Wait until the top inch of soil is dry before giving your plant a drink. The trick is to keep the soil moist but not overly saturated.
The Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a classic go-to for cooler homes and holds a reputation for being practically indestructible.
The Spider Plant, with its elongated, arching leaves, brings a touch of drama and intrigue to cold rooms. The leaves, characteristically striped green and white, grow outward in a rosette form that brings to mind, you guessed it, a spider’s web.
The Spider Plant is also a great air purifier. It removes pollutants such as formaldehyde and xylene from the air, contributing to a healthier home environment.
The Chinese Evergreen has a hardy temperament, able to withstand colder temperatures than many other popular houseplants.
It originates from the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, where it frequently encounters temperature drops at night which is why this plant has naturally adapted to survive in cooler environments.
- Light: Prefers low to medium light conditions, but can adjust to bright, indirect light too.
- Water: It likes its soil to be moist. However, overwatering should be avoided. Pour water whenever you feel the top inch of soil getting dry.
- Humidity: Though it’s a hardy plant, the Chinese Evergreen appreciates humidity. Therefore, it’s suggested to mist it regularly or place it on a tray of pebbles filled with water.
Cast Iron Plant
This sturdy, nearly indestructible plant is the perfect choice for those chilly spaces in your home. Native to Japan, the plant gets its name from its ability to survive under the harshest of conditions.
The Cast Iron plant thrives in temperatures down to 7°C, and while it enjoys a darker, cooler environment, it can tolerate a fair bit of neglect too.
- Watering: Only water when the soil feels dry to the touch.
- Lighting: Keep it in low to medium light, if possible.
- Feeding: Fertilise the plant infrequently with a slow-release fertiliser for best results.
Aspidistra elatior, as the Cast Iron plant is known scientifically, will be a reliable, unassuming housemate, occupying those chilly corners and adding a touch of greenery without demanding much time or effort from you.
Dragon Plant (Dracaena marginata)
The Dragon Plant is one of those rare breeds that can tough it out in cooler rooms. Preferring temperatures from 16°C to 24°C, it’s entirely forgiving when living in colder areas long-term.
- Lighting: This plant thrives in a spot with lots of bright, indirect light. However, it can tolerate lower light levels if needed.
- Watering: Despite its resilience, your Dragon Plant dislikes wet feet. Always allow the soil to dry out thoroughly before bestowing another drink.
Dracaena marginata can be a real showpiece, growing up to 2 metres tall if cared for properly. So, not only does it deal well with cooler temperatures, but it could also fill that empty corner you’ve been wondering what to do with.
Notoriously durable, the Jade Plant, scientifically known as Crassula ovata, adapts to cold conditions pretty well. Originally from South Africa, it can endure temperatures as low as 10 degrees Celsius for extended periods of time.
Jade Plants are perfect for those wishing to add some greenery to their cold, dimly lit rooms. The squat, woody stems and oval-shaped, dark green leaves give this plant an attractive and sturdy outward appearance.
- Light: Despite being able to survive in dim conditions, Jade Plants do prefer bright light. However, they can survive without direct light.
- Water: They should be watered sparingly, especially in cold temperature conditions, as they’re susceptible to root rot. The soil should be allowed to dry out completely between each watering session.
- Soil: Jade Plants thrive in well-draining soil. They prefer a mix of half potting soil and half sand.
Yes, this sun-loving Mediterranean native can tough it out in cooler conditions too.
Known globally for its soothing gel inside the green, fleshy leaves, the Aloe Vera is not just a medicinal powerhouse, but an extremely adaptable houseplant that will happily soak up the chills of your room.
An Aloe Vera plant prefers a nice bright spot but can adjust to less light too. However, while it can handle the cold, it won’t appreciate the frost, so anything below freezing may start to impact your plant.
Also note that during winter, watering should be limited as the plant naturally goes into a state of dormancy.
- Light Requirements: Bright to medium light
- Watering: Infrequently; don’t let it sit in water
- Temperature Tolerance: Down to 5°C
Rounding off our list is the vibrant Anthurium Andraeanum, otherwise known as the Flamingo Flower. Capable of enduring temperatures as low as 15°C, Anthurium Andraeanum is as resilient as it’s colourful.
Its unique aesthetic, defined by glossy heart-shaped leaves and bright red flowers, can add a much-needed pop of colour to any cold and dim room.
However, caring for an Anthurium Andraeanum does require a dedicated approach. For it to flourish, water the plant thoroughly and allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between watering.
On top of this, high humidity is key to keeping your Anthurium Andraeanum healthy. Daily misting can help replicate its preferred humid environment.
Mix in some regular feeding with an all-purpose houseplant fertiliser and your Anthurium Andraeanum will reward you with stunning blooms and lush leaves.
Caring for Houseplants in Cold Rooms: Top Tips
Though your new houseplants are sturdy, they might need a bit of extra TLC during the chillier months. But don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with a list of top tips to keep your plants happy and healthy.
The Right Spot: First and foremost, location is key! Plants should be moved away from drafty windows and doors. If your home has central heating, be mindful of its drying effect on plants and try to find a spot out of its direct path.
Water Wisely: Overwatering can become a big issue in cooler conditions. Always remember, it’s easier for plants to recover from being a little parched than being waterlogged.
Provide Light: During winter, daylight hours are few. Taking this into account, make sure your plants get enough exposure to light. Use a grow light if necessary.
Humidity Can Help: Most houseplants are tropical and appreciate humidity. If you can’t increase room humidity, use a pebble tray filled with water under the pot or a room humidifier.
Hold Off On Fertilising: It’s not the best idea to fertilise your plants in cold weather. Most houseplants go dormant in the colder months, so they won’t be able to absorb all the nutrients which can lead to fertiliser build up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do houseplants in cold rooms need more water or less?
Often cold rooms are also dry rooms, especially during the winter when heating systems can suck the moisture out of the air.
As a dry environment can make most plants lose water through transpiration, you might think this would mean watering more often.
However, the decrease in light and temperature during the winter months means plants aren’t growing as quickly and their water needs are actually less.
Therefore, avoid overwatering and make sure your plant pots have good drainage.
What’s the lowest temperature each of these houseplants can tolerate?
While different plants have different tolerances, most of the plants listed above can handle temperatures as low as 10°C, with some like the Snake Plant and ZZ Plant able to cope with a bit colder. However, prolonged exposure to temperatures below 10°C can damage most houseplants.
Do these plants also do well in dark corners of cold rooms?
Whilst these plants are selected for their hardiness in cold rooms, not all of them can be tucked away in the dark corners of a room. For instance, the Jade Plant and Aloe Vera crave ample light, whereas the Peace Lily and Chinese Evergreen can thrive in low-light conditions.