Factors other than light affect the well-being of foliage plants grown in pots, tubs and other containers. To insure success you must make every effort to make the whole environment agreeable. Attention to one factor will not do.
Temperature is an obvious matter to consider. Here you must differentiate between natural temperatures and those obtained by artificial heating. High temperature levels of summer (which is the natural growing season of most plants) are ordinarily accompanied by long days, superior light and favorable atmospheric humidity. Such temperatures are not harmful to most house plants we discuss. Even the “cool room” kinds thrive in temperatures of 70 to 90 in summer.
But high temperatures maintained artificially in winter as well are an entirely different matter. The only plants that ordinarily stand these well are natives of the low-level tropics – the Amazon basin, tropical west Africa and similar regions. These kinds get along well without any winter season of rest. Some find the low relative humidity of the atmosphere that is induced by artificial heating difficult to stand; others do not seem to mind the dry air of American homes and apartments.
When referring to temperatures in general, we are concerned with those that prevail during the period of the year when artificial heating is ordinarily used, and, unless otherwise stated, with night temperatures. Daytime temperatures may be five to ten degrees higher than those recommended for nighttime.
Cool-room plants succeed best when the night temperatures are between 40 and 50. They are useful in sunrooms and similar locations. Many may be stored over winter in light cellars and be used outdoors in summer on porches, terraces or patios.
Medium-cool-room or intermediate-temperature plants appreciate a 50 to 58 night temperature and are useful for many indoor locations that are not excessively warm or cold. Temperatures such as these often prevail near windows of ordinary living rooms. It is considerably warmer away from the windows, of course. It is wise to test the proposed location for the plants with a thermometer, as this often reveals a temperature range much different from that expected. It is important to know the temperature of the indoor location if you are bringing plants indoors.
Ordinary room temperatures of 60 to 70 at night are best suited for really tropical plants. Such kinds are useful for rooms and parts of rooms where normal living-room temperatures obtain.
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