Can A Plant Survive in A Car? Here’s how


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A plant can survive in a car as long as it is provided with proper conditions such as sunlight, temperature, air flow and water.

The most crucial condition to maintain in a car for a plant to survive is the temperature. Plants do not cope well with high or low temperature extremes and getting this right will ensure that a plant survives. Parking in cool spaces, keeping the windows partially open and regular watering can all be done to regulate a car’s cabin temperature for the plant’s survival.

Having a car plant is great! But, can a plant survive in a car? In this article we will highlight and elaborate on some of the precautions you should take to ensure you have the best experience.  

Hot and cold temperature effect on plants

Can A Plant Survive in A Car?

Usually, such queries are better answered by “Yes or No” answers.

There are two significant variables that determine whether the plant can survive in a car or not. 

These factors include biological factors and physical factors (biotic and abiotic). 

Biological Aspects:

Under the biological factors, we look at a plant as a living organism that requires some conditions to be met for survival. 

These factors include sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, mineral ions and oxygen, if these conditions are met then the plant can grow. 

Physical Aspects:

The other determinants are the physical aspects: this is the handling of the plant while it is in the car from transportation to storage. 

Other conditions under the physical aspect is the environment that the plant is subjected to. Here, we consider humidity, temperatures, and air flow.

Typically, for the survival of your car plant, you need to provide both physical and biological factors. Any one factor alone cannot guarantee you the plant’s life. 

What You Can Do For The Plant To Survive

There are many things one can do for a plant to survive in a car. Here we are going to discuss three of the more important things you can do to ensure that the plant survives such as –

  1. Keeping the windows partially open
  2. park in a cool spot 
  3. drive carefully

1. Keeping the Windows Partially Open

Not to panic, it is for a good cause. Better a small crack than have a window open and give out access to your car to passers-by. 

Air contains natural gasses that some are vital for normal processes of living organisms like a plant. 

The vital gasses are oxygen and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is used by the plant to manufacture its food through photosynthesis. After photosynthesis has occurred the by-products will include oxygen.

This gas must be expelled out of the plant’s system. The flow of this air is necessary for this process to continue. 

If you crack the glass, then the plant will get what it needs to survive.

With the windows partially open you will also allow cool air flow into and out of the car. This is another additional benefit of adopting this practice as it helps regulate the cabin temperature, especially on very hot days.

2. Park In A Cool Spot

If you park in a cool spot where there is no scorching, the sun will not cause the temperature within the cabin to increase to an unbearable amount.

Direct UV-rays to plants when exceeded in intensity, may lead to burns on leaves and the whole plant in general.

Therefore, you are supposed to allow sufficient light, but not too much. Also, direct sunlight may cause water loss through evaporation which can also cause the soil to dry out.

Additionally, direct sunlight can cause the leaves to wilt or and even become crispy through the loss of water.

Another thing is that leaving the car parked in direct sunlight for long may cause the car to accumulate a lot of heat and this will make the plant either sweat or wilt and provide conditions that are not favourable to make it survive longer.

3. Drive Carefully

Reckless driving will cause physical damages to the plant; hitting the bump so hard might cause the branch to fall off or the leaves to pluck out.  Also, careless driving may cause damage to the plant’s ‘house’. 

plants in a car

Benefits of Having A Plant In A Car

Having a plant in a car is very beneficial to us in different ways. We have touched on a few ways that the plant is beneficial to us, tagged along with some explanation.

  1. Helps purify the air that we breathe in the car. 
  2. Creates a homey environment
  3. Adds beauty

Purifies The Air We Breathe

When the plant takes in and uses the carbon dioxide and releases the oxygen we say that it has purified the air. 

To human beings, we consider oxygen as fresh air that we breathe and carbon dioxide as waste that we do not need.

How nice is that? That is one of the greatest importance of having plants around us.

See our detailed article on how plants purify the air, as well as, the plants that can do it most efficiently.

Creates a Homey Environment

If you compare how we arrange our homes, we place plants at different points that give the home aesthetic value. 

If you now compare the home and putting a plant in the car, it also makes you feel at home away from home. It embraces the feeling of being at home. This helps one to be very relaxed.

Beautify the Scenery

Having plants around is a source of beauty to the environment. People like being around places that are very beautiful so plants being in a car will not harm but enhance the overall appearance.

Where to Place Them In The Car For The Best Growth

Where to place your pot that has a plant is entirely dependent on your thoughts provided that the conditions are right for it to survive. The other reasons are whether it will be maintained in a way that it stays longer.

But before I say where is best, in my opinion, to place the plant, allow me to say where not to. 

One place that I would discourage is to put your plant is in the boot or trunk. Here first and foremost there is limited access to sunlight and oxygen the plant will suffocate and die there. 

So anywhere near the window is the best place to put your plant and away from a place that might incur physical damage like near the door.

Transport the Plant Safely

It is a fact that the car will be moving around from time to time. Now, with that in mind, in what way will it be moving without causing any destruction or death to the plant?

It is very simple; one has to drive very carefully. This may include avoiding speeding, when manoeuvring the bumps, you do it with care. Avoid sharp breaks and so on.

What Is The Highest Temperature a Plant Can Bear

Plants can do well in certain temperatures. Different plants have different temperatures that they can endure and survive in. This is what we call optimum temperature, this is the temperature at which a plant can thrive. 

They cannot do well in very low and high temperature extremes. Different plants can cope with varying temperatures depending on the geographical location that they are native to. 

Xerophytes are plants that are adapted to grow in desert conditions. Dessert conditions have very high temperatures reaching up to fifty-three degrees Celsius. The highest temperature than a plant can survive comes from desert conditions.

Best Plants You Can Keep in Your Car

The best plant that you can keep in your car can depend on very many things. There are some specifications that one might like but another person might prefer something different. But for a plant to be best for car use, it must meet all if not most of the following traits. 

  • The plant should be able to produce a nice scent that attracts everyone. No one wants to put an odd smelling plant in their car.
  • The plant should not shed off its leaves at a very high rate because it might mess up the car. No one wants a lot of cleaning to be done on the car daily because the plant dirties the car.
  • The plant should maintain a certain height that is perfect to fit in the car. If it grows at a very high rate, then it will not be suitable for the car. We don’t want branches coming out of the roof of the car every now and then

Plants that can survive well in a car are –

  1. Succulents
  2. Snake plants
  3. Rubber plant
  4. Aloe Vera

How Long Can A Plant Survive In A Car

If the plant has been receiving very good care including watering and treating the plant will keep on growing and growing and growing. 

Plants have no lifespan. As long as you take care of the plant it will keep on growing but if you ignore the requirements of the plant then it can last as short as a day and die. It will start by wilting it will turn yellow dry up and it will be over for it.

Can You Leave A Plant In The Car Overnight

If we assume that, the car has all its windows and doors closed like in normal cases.

A plant can be left in a car overnight. Although the temperature may change, the chemical conditions within the car will not deviate much from daylight. The plant will carry out its normal biological processes without any additional stress.

Nighttime for a car would vary a bit with respect to air flow as the windows would be up and the car shut tight for security reasons. 

However, this should not have an adverse effect on the plant as long as there is some type of ventilation during daylight hours for there to be an exchange of air. 

Air quality is a key factor when keeping plants in a car overnight.

Can you Revive a Plant from a Hot Car?

The heat within a car can reach to sweltering heights during hot days, especially if the windows are up. Temperatures can exceed 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This is enough to stress plants and cause leaf burn.

However, there is hope and you can still do a few things to bring back a plant from such scorching heat.

A plant can be revived from a hot car by providing conditions for the plant to destress. These conditions are –

  1. Remove the plant from the car
  2. Place the plant in a cool, well ventilated area
  3. Water the plant (bottom watering will work more efficiently)
  4. Remove any dead crispy leaves from the foliage
  5. Allow the plant to rest for a day or two before moving.
Bottom watering My plant

The Takeaway

Having discussed the above points and subtopics about having your plant in your car. It is very wise backed with facts that a plant can survive in a car. 

How long it will survive entirely depends on how you take care of it while it is in the car.

Keep in mind that you have to make all the necessary conditions that favour the growth of plants available. Having a plant in your car has its advantages.

A variety of plants can do well in a car but one has to take note that not all plants will do well in cars there are some that are naturally meant for the wild therefore taming them will seem so hard. 

So the next time you drive by a plant store or anywhere these plants are being sold, and you are interested in keeping one in your car, you should consider the above factors that we discussed.

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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