Heatwave warning: Crucial reason why you should never use fans near houseplants

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We all know to keep houseplants away from hot radiators in the winter, and the same goes for fans in the hot weather. While these cooling appliances provide us with immediate relief from the humidity, they can have quite the opposite effect on indoor flowers and foliage. Here’s why you should never use fans near houseplants, and the simple tricks you can use to correct any visible damage.

Unlike garden plants, indoor plants require a consistent and balanced environment to thrive throughout the year.

While a combination of fresh air and plenty of sun is beneficial for some indoor plants to grow taller or begin to flower, sudden changes to their surroundings can quickly cause the roots, leaves and blooms to become stressed.

Blasting cold air from a fan is just one trigger of stress in plants, and can even be a “death sentence” for some species, according to Daniel Bruce, CEO of Nature by Letterbox.

He explained that fans are never the solution to cooling down plants if you’re worried about them getting too hot, especially ahead of the “extreme heat” which the Met Office has forecast to blast England and Wales this week.

Daniel said: “If you’re worrying about your green friends in the heat, you may think moving one in front of a fan will cool it down during the day.

“But many plants – especially tropical ones – don’t work well with dry, cold air on their foliage, so a fan (or worse, an AC unit) will deny your plant of the room temperature and moisture it needs to thrive.”

This happens because the plant will focus more of its energy on defending itself against the high-speed breeze from the fan rather than focusing on proper growth and development.

What type of damage can fans to do houseplants?

Fans can turn humid air dry and cold which is perhaps the most damaging factor for heat-loving and thirsty plants.

Plants with thin leaves and flowers are especially sensitive to low humidity and will begin to wilt or drop buds when the environment is too dry.

Most species will recover from this type of damage, though you should consider misting the foliage with water to improve their chances.

Windburn from the force of the breeze itself can also affect the structure of the plant by sweeping away delicate petals and changing the shape of its leaves.

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According to Flourishing Plants, most indoor species “suffer gravely” from the fast gust of air, though this type of damage is more common with stationary fans rather than oscillating types.

To protect itself from the force of the breeze, the leaves of a plant will begin to curl up at the edges.

A good dose of fertiliser should be able to reverse this type of damage over time as the plant recovers.

Is it ever okay to use fans near houseplants?

While fans can cause significant damage to plants in close proximity, they are unlikely to be affected by the breeze from a fan on the other side of the room.

In fact, they can actually benefit from the air circulation and ventilation if the appliance is positioned away from the plant.

The Urban Sprout said: “Just like sunshine and water, proper air circulation and ventilation is an important factor in keeping your plant healthy.

“While plants kept outside get plenty of fresh air, plants inside can suffer because of improper air quality.”

In fact, if you use plants near fans regularly, you will quickly see the tall, healthy growth turn into of a mess of thick leaves as the roots try to survive.

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