Protected as it is from cold weather, a sunroom is a great environment for many kinds of plants to grow and flourish. Plants add beauty, create a relaxed atmosphere and healthy air quality. Knowing what plants do best and where to place them will make a lovely sunroom even lovelier.
When determining which plants to purchase there are a number of things to consider:
- What is the temperature and humidity of the room?
- What direction does your sunroom face?
- When is the sun most intense – morning or afternoon?
- Where in your sunroom are there areas of shade?
- How much water is needed for each individual plant?
- What is the best placement of plants for healthy growth?
- Do you have pets?
How Much Sunlight?
It’s important to get a sense of how much light comes into your sunroom and what time of day the rays are most strong. Some plants need the morning sun and others thrive more with the afternoon sun. Always check the plant information card when you buy plants to determine which will grow best in your sunroom.
What Temperature is Best?
As a general rule, indoor plants do well at a temperature of 60- 75 degrees F. Flowering types prefer that same daytime temperature but a slightly cooler nighttime temperature of about 55-60 degrees F. Sudden large fluctuations of temperature can be harmful to most plants and cause growth problems.
If your sunroom becomes very cool at night, you’ll want to purchase plants that can handle fluctuations in temperature and cooler temperatures at night.
How Much Humidity?
Generally, most indoor plants do best when humidity levels are between 40 and 60 percent. A hygrometer will give you the humidity levels of your sunroom.
If your sunroom gets cool in the winter, the humidity may go down as well. In this case you may need to add a humidifier.
Your plants will also let you know that the humidity is too low by these symptoms:
- Leaves have brown edges
- Plants start wilting
- Flower buds don’t develop
- Flower buds fall off the plant before they open
- Flowers shrivel soon after opening
Watering Your Plants
Most plants need watering about every 5 to 10 days, except for cacti and succulents which should be watered about every 10 to 15 days. (Of course, this is a very general rule). Either feel the soil, if in doubt, or use a moisture meter that will measure the amount of moisture in the soil. Too much water is worse than too little, although both will eventually kill your plant.
Signs that your plant has had too much water:
- No new growth
- Yellowing, soft and limp leaves
- Falling leaves
Signs that your plant has had too little water:
- Brown and brittle leaves especially at the tips
- Falling leaves
- Slow growth – no growth
- Dry soil
Smaller plants will need more frequent watering than a larger plant. Your sunroom plants may need more water than plants in other rooms in your home due to the drying effect of the sunlight they receive.
Filtered water is best for your plants, but you can get away with tap water as long as it isn’t softened water (due to salts in the water). Always be sure to use room temperature water – not warm and not cold.
Generally, plants grow more in the spring/summer months. Water a bit less in winter months if you notice less growth than usual.
When watering, soak the soil in an even manner until you see water draining from the container drain holes. Water slowly so that the water doesn’t just run through the soil quickly. For cactus, succulents and African violets, try adding water to a saucer under the container. Let the plant soak up the water.
Items to Help Care for Sunroom Plants
- Moisture meter – a very useful instrument to determine the percentage of moisture in soil.
- Hygrometer – an inexpensive measuring tool to detect the humidity in a room
- Spray bottle – plants that need high humidity should be misted
- Turkey baster – good to use if you need to suck up water if you have overwatered.
- Humidifier – especially in the winter
Plants That Do Well in a Sunroom
Cactus Plants and Other Succulents
This is an ideal plant for a sunroom.
- They need and love direct sunlight and need little water.
- Ideal for homeowners who enjoy fuss-free plants.
- Most cactus plants and succulent plants can even survive cold weather as long as it is above freezing.
- There are many beautiful arrangements to choose from.
This versatile plant makes a gorgeous addition to a solarium garden in a variety of different forms. These plants make themselves at home on porches, sunrooms or living rooms.
- They like the morning sun – but prefer indirect sunlight in the afternoons.
- Keep soil moist but well drained.
- At home in hanging baskets or large pots.
- Best in a humid environment.
- Use a spray bottle to mist it during colder months if humidity is low.
- Place near a window but provide shade if the afternoon sun is very intense.
These plants are one of the easiest plants to grow inside.
- Ensure proper drainage.
- Lots of indirect sunlight is best.
A little extra care is needed with this lovely plant.
- These flowers need a fairly humid environment.
- Should not be misted as flowers hold onto water and can rot.
- Place orchids in an east to south facing window.
- Prefer bright, indirect light.
- Too much light = leaf scorch.
- Too little light = little or poor flowering.
- Nighttime temperature should be a bit cooler than during the day to bloom correctly.
- Take care not to overwater.
Typically used as houseplants, these tropical flowers survive well in sunrooms with shaded areas.
- These lovely flowers need plenty of light and shade.
- Since these flowers are somewhat fragile, water these flowers at the base.
- Make sure the pot has proper drainage.
For bright and sunny sunrooms, Hibiscus plants would be an excellent choice as they grow best in full sunlight.
- These plants have beautiful exotic blossoms.
- Need plenty of sunlight but also a bit of shade in the afternoon.
- Hibiscus plants need a fair amount of watering to ensure they don’t dry out.
- Don’t overwater as it can drown the plant. Use tight pots with good drainage.
Their year-long flowering makes African violets a popular choice.
- A lovely purple color, these prefer the full sun, but also can survive the autumn and winter.
- Like humidity.
- Need Liquid fertilizer.
- Keep African violets in a dedicated pot – they don’t do well competing with other plants.
Passion flower is a good choice for sunrooms with full sunlight most of the day.
- Beautifully fragranced, these come in lovely colors.
- Do well in oversized pots.
- Keep soil moist.
Peace lilies are a popular choice for offices or homes as they prefer indirect sunlight.
- Minimal maintenance needed.
- Naturally purifies the air.
- Regular watering is needed.
What About Your Pets?
Anyone with a cat or a dog knows they can get into all sorts of things they shouldn’t. So before placing any plants in your home, please be sure to check that they are not toxic to your pets. The ASPCA provides complete lists of toxic and non-toxic plants.
For the very best in sunroom design, installation, and repairs, call Sunshine Sunrooms at (972) 243-5390 or request a quote online.