7 Houseplants That Cool Your Home During a Heatwave

Estimated read time 3 min read

We all know plants are lovely to look at, and with enough of them (or one of these supercharged houseplants) you can purify your home’s air. But these wonders of nature may be able to help you through a heatwave, too. Plants actually cool the air in your home through a process called transpiration, according to plant expert Craig Morley of Budget Seeds. The plant guru teamed up with home builders Barratt London to show how adding plants to your space may help lower the overall temperature and keep you from having to crank the AC.

Transpiration is when water flows up out of the soil and through a plant to its leaves and stem. This is how water and nutrients are delivered but the process also keeps plants cool as water evaporates from the leaves. 

So how does that help us? “Transpiration also cools the area around the plant.” Morley says. NASA’s Earth Science Division executed a study that shows plants on a large scale help combat rising temperatures caused by global warming. On a smaller scale, adding plants to your home could help regulate temps indoors, although there is less research done on transpiration’s effect on temperature at a smaller scale.

But, hey. It can’t hurt.

Tips for increasing plant transpiration

Morley shared tips for ramping up your indoor houseplant’s transpiration to increase cooling effects.

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More plants might be the secret to a cooler home this summer.


  1. Keep houseplants well-watered: If a plant is not watered often, this can reduce the rate of transpiration as the plant tries to conserve water.
  2. Increase humidity: Placing your plant wet pebble tray can also promote transpiration. As the water evaporates from the tray, it creates a bubble of humidity surrounding the plant.
  3. Group plants together: Grouping plants together helps to create a humid microclimate.
  4. Upsize your pot: Plants in containers may transpire less, as their roots are often confined within a small space.
  5. Avoid pruning in the summer: Pruning can decrease transpiration in a plant, as it reduces water uptake. 

Best houseplants for cooling the air

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Is there anything that houseplants can’t do?

David Watsky/CNET

And here are seven of the best air conditioning plants to keep your home cool this summer. What do they have in common? Larger leaves. 

“Plant species have different leaf structures which affect their rate of transpiration.” According to Morley, “A larger leaf size means more pores through which to release excess water and increased transpiration.”

Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

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This snake plant love bright, indirect light.

Erin Carson/CNET

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)

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Peace Lily’s purify air and can help keep the temps down, too.


Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis ‘miller’)

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Aloe is the ultimate summer plant with the ability to heal sunburns and cool the air.


Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)

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Bamboo palms are instant vibe and can keep the mercury from popping off. 

Costa Farms

Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

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These air conditioning plants do well indoors or out.


Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

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Pothos plants are hardy and purify air faster than most houseplants.


Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

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Add a few spindly spider plants for a cooler summer


For more plant tips, here are the best places to put plants for growth and see the best plants to repel bugs.

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