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Can a Plant Live in a Car?

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We all know what a great addition plants are to our living spaces. They make our offices and homes feel more relaxing, and they help purify the air.

But we spend a lot of time outside of our home, and might want to spruce up these areas, too. Particularly, we are in one space quite a lot: our cars. there.

Can a plant live in a car?

Flowers composition with pink retro car

Certain plants can thrive in cars with the right conditions. Not only do they add some fun and fresh décor, but they can also help purify the air. The survival of plants in a car is dependent on the type of plant, the care the plant gets, and the absence of disturbances.

The rest of this article will shed more light on how plants can survive in a car and the type of plants to keep in your car. 

Can a Plant Live in a Car?

Plants can survive if kept in a car, but there are some factors and rules you need to consider for them to thrive and remain healthy.

  • Extreme Heat: Depending on where you live, the summer months can be quite hot. Cars absorb a lot of heat which can be damaging to plants. To control this, ensure your windows are open to allow for proper ventilation. Also, do not park your car in areas exposed to additional or direct sunlight. 
  • Extreme Cold: In the winter, your car will become too cold for the plant. You could consider bringing the plants in or picking a plant that can survive freezing temperatures. You can always use the weather forecast to monitor temperature changes. Putting a thermometer in your car will also help. 
  • Security: Position your plant in a secure location in your car. This prevents your plants from shifting around and spilling soil or water in your car while you drive. Cup holders are a good place to keep plants.

Can a Succulent Survive in Your Car?

Succulents can survive in a car provided that the temperature is properly regulated.

In the summer, extremely hot temperatures could kill your plant. Parking in a shaded area and pulling down the windows a little to allow fresh air can prevent this.

When your car becomes too cold in winter, you could consider bringing your succulent indoors.

Another option is for you to choose a cold-resistant succulent. If the temperature is extreme, be sure to carry it indoors.

Hand holding a pot of succulent plant with other succulent potted plant on the background

Succulents are a good choice if you want to keep a plant in your car. They don’t need too much care or attention to survive.

When picking a succulent, choose a small one that does not need too much sun.

When you water your plant, take it outside the car and into the sun. This ensures the plant receives direct sunlight and does not make a mess in the car.

Temperatures Succulents and Plants Can Tolerate

In temperate climates, succulents can tolerate temperatures of about 60-80°F. Some succulents can withstand low temperatures of about 40°F and as high as 90°F.

While the color of a succulent may intensify at colder temperatures, it usually remains the same at higher temperatures (80-90°F).

Some gardeners take advantage of the effect of temperature changes on the color of succulents. They expose their succulents to extreme temperatures to change their colors.

Be advised when the temperature is either too high or too low, it can harm your succulents. Temperatures higher than 90°F and lower than 40°F are not advisable.

In the summer, high temperatures and prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn in succulents. This can damage both the leaves and the root system.

In the winter, prevent frost damage to your succulents by raising the temperature above the freezing point. 

For winter hardiness, choose species like Sempervivum that tolerates frost and thrives in cold temperatures from 30-40°F. Succulent species like Lithops and Euphorbia thrive in temperatures not lower than 50-60°F.

Plants prefer temperatures ranging between 60-75°F. Some plants require less while others require a little more. Plants that do well within this range are perfect for indoor spaces like offices and homes. 

Temperatures over 75°F are not suitable for certain plants indoors but will be fine when kept outside. This is because the conditions that promote growth outside, like sunlight and humidity, are different from indoor conditions.

Are There Any Plants That Can Survive in a Car?

Snake Plant in white pot on white background

In the right temperature and lighting conditions, several plant species will survive in a car. Some of these plants are listed below:

  • Scented Geraniums: Their scented leaves make a wonderful air freshener. 
  • Lucky Bamboo: This species requires only a vessel and water. Always check the water level so that it does not get too low. 
  • Snake Plants: This option does not need too much care and can tolerate various light conditions. They also do well even when their soil dries out.  
  • Pothos: These plants grow easily in soil or water and are a vine plant that grows really fast.
  • Tropical Edibles: Plants like sweet potatoes, ginger, or turmeric can grow well thanks to the high temperatures of a car. All you need is a shallow dish of water. 
  • Succulents: Species like Echeveria, chick succulents, and hen succulents are good choices especially in the heat.

Effects of a Hot Car on Plants

Plants are sensitive to their environment, and like many other living things, they react to changes in temperature and their surroundings.

If your car gets too hot, your plants will react, and you will notice the changes. Below are a few effects of heat on plants when kept in cars:

  • The excessive heat will cause a plant to wilt as a result of water loss.
  • The leaves may also become yellow when exposed to excess heat.
  • Some plants will drop their leaves to conserve water. 
  • Some plants will dry up, turning brown before eventually dying.
Young Woman Worker Loading Flowers in Car

Can You Leave Plants in Your Car Overnight?

Plants can be left in a car overnight with no ill effects if the temperature is right.

For the plants to remain in good condition, keep the plant in an area of the car where it will remain warm without suffering extreme heat or cold.

Under no circumstance should you leave a plant in your car overnight when you suspect the temperature might drop below the freezing point.

A few hours of freezing temperatures in your car can damage your plant severely.

When plants are damaged by cold, they begin to have a lackluster look and wilt. In the days after, their leaves would drop, and their leaves will turn yellow.

Final Thoughts

A plant can live your car depending on how much commitment and attention you give it. The first thing to consider is how the plant copes when it does not receive enough sunlight.

Another thing to watch out for is how sporadic temperature changes affect your chosen plant. For your plant to survive, you should also be ready to give up a small area of your car, usually your cup holders.


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