There could be a number of reasons you need a cold tolerant plant. For me, it was our cabin in the garden that I can’t justify heating all day. For this reason, I needed to find the best housplants for cold rooms so that I could choose some good ones to surround myself with while I worked out there!
To begin with, I thought it would be a bit of a dead end and I would be stuck with a choice of plants I didn’t really want. But I was glad I did the research because there are so many awesome plants that are suitable for cold rooms.
Some will only go down to certain temperatures so you will need to be sure of what temperature your room drops to at night. I found plants that do well in a range of temperatures and I thought it would be great to bring them together here as a resource to help people in the same situation.
We’ll start with the most extreme cold tolerant plants and then work up to more moderate temperatures.
Hopefully you will find some pleasant surprises to help you choose a plant for your cold room!
Houseplants for Really Cold Rooms
Ok, we’re talking about the coldest temperatures where you can still grow plants. So this means around 32°F (0°C) or, in other words, around the freezing point! I wouldn’t recommend going below this, except if you know you have very low humidity in the room.
Surprisingly there are actually plants that will tolerate this, but it’s usually best not to leave them for long periods in these temperatures. Often the only side-effect is a slow down in growth.
I do love a jade plant. It’s almost tree-like with its soft, plump leaves and woody stems.
It’s also a great plant for beginners due to its tolerance of a wide range of conditions. In particular, its tolerance to the cold. The jade plant will survive down to 32°F (0°C). After all, it is a desert plant that would regularly be exposed to these temperatures at night.
Jade plants fall into to rather large bracket of ‘watering when the top of the soil is dry to the touch’, so they are not too demanding on that front either.
Cast Iron Plant
Aspidistra elatior (aspidistra milky way shown in photo)
Cast iron plants live up to their name in that they are pretty damn hardy! They also have some gorgeous, large deep green leaves that make it a great addition to an indoor garden. I especially love the spotted Aspidistra ‘Milky Way’ for a bit of interest.
These plants will tolerate cold environments down to 32°F (0°C). They are naturally very slow-growing plants so you won’t notice any slow down in growth due to the cold.
The cast iron plant is another one that will tolerate a low level of maintenance. It will go in most light conditions and usually only needs its soil to be kept moderately moist.
Yes, you can grow a palm in cold temperatures! It can even survive if the temperature goes as low as 15°F (-9°C), but this literally means it survives. Leaves will drop off and it will not grow, but it will be alive. Perhaps don’t let it get to that though!
As long as it’s not constantly below 32°F (0°C) then the sago palm will do just fine in cold rooms.
Sago palms, along with the jade plant from earlier, are great plants to turn into bonsai trees due to their woody stems and tolerance to pruning.
Houseplants For Fairly Cold Rooms
The next level up are rooms that see temperatures go down to between 40°F (4°C) and 50°F (10°C).
There is a lot more choice as you move up to this level of cold tolerance. Infact all those mentioned above can be grown in these conditions too.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia (hence the abbreviation to ZZ!)
You get a lot of greenery with a ZZ plant and they are great for creating a large area of foliage quickly and easily.
The ZZ plant can tolerate down to 45°F (7°C), but will not grow very much at this temperature. That’s fine though as it doesn’t normally grow quickly anyway!
In terms of light and water, they are really very tolerant of big variations in these factors too (just be sure not to over-water). In fact, they are such a great beginner plant to have in your indoor garden.
Sansevieria trifasciata (my very own moonshine shown in photo)
There are a lot of variations of the snake plant, my favourite being the ‘Moonshine’ with its gorgeous milky-green leaves. I have one of these in my oft-cold garden cabin for company!
A snake plant can tolerate a room that goes down to 45°F (7°C). If you let it get too cold, you probably won’t notice as they tend not to show distress for a while. With this in mind, be sure about the temperature the room goes down to so you are not hurting it without knowing!
Much like other plants in this guide, they are very beginner-friendly in other ways (lighting and watering) so are great additions to a low-maintenance collection of houseplants.
The spider plant may well be one of the most common houseplants in the world but, in my humble opinion, are a bit of a gem.
They grow very quickly and without much maintenance. It is also really simple to propagate them (grow new plants from the original), so you can have a large family of spider plants in a relatively short period of time.
They will be fine down to about 40°F (4°C), just keep them away from cold draughts as they are particularly susceptible to these. At these temperatures they will not grow as quickly, so if that is your aim, move them somewhere warmer until you don’t need them to grow as quickly!
Succulents and Cacti
Ok, so this is a big category and there will be variations within it, but generally speaking succulents and cacti are very tolerant of temperatures down to 40°F (4°C). This is because, in their natural habitat, they will normally experience large temperature drops at night.
You might want to check each individual variety when you are buying them and it is best to keep them fairly dry if they are regularly kept in cold temperatures.
Succulents and cacti generally like a lot of sunlight, so make sure it’s a bright spot. A cold room will be fine, but a cold and dark room will not be ideal!
They do like to spend some part of the day in warmer temperatures though, so check what range your room goes between. If it never gets above 60°F (15°C) then consider moving them.
Houseplants For Cool Rooms
Most houseplants are pretty adaptable, but still won’t be happy below certain temperatures.
If your room temperature goes down to between 50°F (10°C) and 60°F (15°C) then there will be some plants to avoid, but you still have a huge range to choose from.
Some of my favourites are the following:
The corn plant is quite a structural plant, usually growing branches from one or two central, thick stems. They can grow quite tall so they are great for adding a bit of impact in a room.
They can tolerate temperatures down to about 50°F (10°C) so, while not being good for really cold rooms, they will be good for parts of the house that don’t get regular heating such as bathrooms.
Aglaonema (Silver Bay shown in photo)
I love the patterns on the leaves of the Chinese evergreen plant. There are a lot of variations, but my favourite is the ‘Silver Bay’ with its silvery-green, lance-shaped leaves.
The Chinese evergreen is fine down to temperatures of 50°F (10°C), just make sure it is not exposed to draughts.
In China, it is considered a lucky plant so, if you’re into that kind of thing, it could be an important addition to your collection.
Swiss Cheese Plant
One of my all-time favourite plants. We have one in our bathroom that has been with us for a good 6 or 7 years. The bathroom is often the coldest room in the house, but it doesn’t go much lower than 50°F (10°C) which is good, because that is as low as the monstera can tolerate.
It helps to have a bit of humidity as this is what it is used to. But generally, the monstera is a very easy plant to look after.
Of all the plants, the swiss cheese and the snake plant are the most tolerant of low light in addition to cold. If you have a cold and dark(ish) room then these are your best bets.
We do see a lot of articles on the subject of ‘best houseplants for cold rooms, dark rooms, dry rooms, etc.’ While it’s good to know the limits of tolerance for houseplants, it’s probably best to give them a bit of a break and not let them get too close to those limits.
If you are desperate for plants in a room that is cold (like I was with my garden cabin!) then you are not going to be making them suffer. They just won’t thrive.
To improve this situation, I will usually bring them into the main house for the worst months of the year. The snake plant is the only one that stays out for the whole year, although I bring him in if the forecast is for a bad frost!
Hopefully, you can now be a lot more confident about what to choose if you have a room that gets cold. If you have any further suggestions, we’ve love to hear them in the comments.