Gardening

A Thermometer for Houseplants

Some indoor plants (cyclamens, cactus, some orchids, etc.) actually prefer cold night temperatures during the winter: 33–50˚F (1–10˚C). But how can you find which spots in your house really are the coolest … without spending the night sitting in each one to test it out?

Here is one case where modern technology can really make your gardening life simpler! Most modern digital room thermometers display not only the current temperature, but the maximum and minimum temperatures of the spot where you place them. Leave one in a location that you think is appropriate for a few nights, jot down the temperatures, then try a few others. Soon you’ll have a much better idea of the true growing conditions in various spots throughout your house. 

By the way, most digital room thermometers also give you the relative humidity, something you also need to know. Most houseplants prefer a relative humidity of 50% or more.

You can easily find an inexpensive digital room thermometer in any hardware store.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. After studies at the University of Toronto and Laval University where he obtained his B.A. in modern languages in 1978, he succeeded in combining his language skills with his passion for gardening in a novel career as a garden writer and lecturer. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He is a regular contributor to and horticultural consultant for Fleurs, Plantes, Jardins garden magazine and has written for many other garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Rebecca’s Garden and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 50 other titles in English and French. He can be seen in Quebec on French-language television and was notably a regular collaborator for 7 years on the TV shows Fleurs et Jardins and Salut Bonjour Weekend. He is the President of the Garden Writers Association Foundation and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. An avid proponent of garden tourism, he has lead garden tours throughout Canada and to the gardens of over 30 countries over the last 30 years. He presently resides in Quebec City, Quebec.

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