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Your Air Conditioner Doesn’t Get Along With Your Plants—Follow This Rule To Keep Them Alive

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanJune 29, 2020

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Photo: Unsplash/Prudence Earl

Even though you might enjoy the cool respite from the heat and humidity, running the air conditioner during the summer months can wreak havoc on your beloved houseplants. Yes, you’ve got to control pests, figure out the correct lighting needs, be careful not to overwater, but the climate of plants around the air conditioner is just as important.

When it comes to plant cultivation, Manuel Diaz of East Coast Camanchaca says you must consider one principle before any other. “Plants evolved to exist in a single location throughout their lifespan. That means they didn’t adapt to abrupt changes. This applies to everything from amounts of light exposure, to water and drought, to temperature,” he says. “A plant can adapt to the temperature of your home and thrive, but the abrupt drop in temperature from your air conditioner will certainly have detrimental effects on plants.”

Some plants handle the temperature change from air conditioners better than others, and if yours isn’t a fan (see what I did there?), you’ll be able to spot any issues pretty quickly. According to Diaz, no plant type is safe when it’s sitting directly in an air conditioner’s air current. “It can lead to yellowing and browning of the leaves, as well as spotting,” he says. “It can even lead to rot on cacti and succulents.” But unlike handling other plant problems, the solution to this one is very simple.

Diaz says in order to keep your plants healthy and happy while running your air conditioner during the summer months, you should make sure to place your plants at least six feet away from any AC vent. While they can adjust to your home being a little cooler, they can’t handle sitting directly in the air conditioner’s path. You can also lightly mist your plants that like higher humidity, like tropical varieties, in order to combat the extra-dry air.

Even though you should keep plants away from the air conditioner, that six-foot area doesn’t have to go plant-less. That’s what fake plants are for, right?

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