Houseplant advice



I needed some plant purchase advise, and I would really appreciate if someone can get back to me on this.

I live in a pigeonhole Bachelor’s Apartment in Toronto, which limits to begin with, adding to the complexity this place gets baking hot in summer. There are months when I can’t even open my curtains kinda hot and my only solution is to keep my air condition on.

So here’s the problem, this is a fixed air-conditioning unit at one side of the room which works fine as it blows over to the place, but there is an empty space between the unit and my bed and I would like to fill it with some plants, hopefully on a ladder.

Do you think, you have any plants, shrubs or trees which can stand the torture of continuous air from an air-conditioning unit in summer that I can keep on this bare side of the room?



Thanks for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. It sounds like the spot you have in mind for your plants is beside the air conditioner, not in front of it, so the air would not blow directly on the plants ? Generally, houseplants that have air (hot or cold) blowing directly on them are unlikely to do well. However, if your plants will be out of the path of the blowing cold air and the temperature in the room is comfortable for you, the air conditioner shouldn’t be a problem.

Aside from this, I think your most important consideration is light. Plants need light to survive. Ideally this will be sunlight but indoor grow lights are also a possibility. If your curtains are going to be closed, I think you’re going to need grow lights. Different plants require different amounts (intensity and duration) of light. Some plants require hours of full sun. Others are fine with relatively low light.

Not knowing how much light you will have, I can’t make specific recommendations. However, if I assume that you will have low light, here are some possibilities :

  • Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata, previously known as Sansevieria trifasciata) is very durable and tolerant of adverse conditions, including very low light.
  • ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) can survive and do reasonably well away from windows and with just artificial light. And it can go a month or more without water.
  • Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) can survive long periods in low light.

Below are a couple of links that you might find helpful.

This is a good introduction to houseplants and includes plant suggestions:

Beginner’s Guide to Growing Houseplants: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

This is a good resource that includes valuable information on light and lights:

House Plant Journal

Good luck with your houseplants !

Feb 17, 2022