The debate over outdoor and indoor plants has been rekindled due to reports of the deadly effects of the cold weather conditions brought on by climate change. Excessive heat is one of the biggest threats to endangered species like the African lion, which has been confirmed to be extinct in many areas thanks to the rapid loss of its prey. Other threatened animals include the polar bear and the Amish population in Kentucky who have both already faced disastrous losses at the hands of warming temperatures.
In contrast, tropical and shade loving shrubs can tolerate low light conditions better than most other plants which are considered outdoor plants. Shade tolerant shrubs and trees should be planted in the southern United States, where summer temperatures are traditionally high, with the exception of Texas, where summer temperatures are considered to be tolerable by some. A tropical plant can even tolerate temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
But which plants are best for use in the outdoors, the indoors or the outdoors? Should you go with a deciduous tree or an evergreen shrub? Should you put tropical or even miniature trees outside your house to give you a breath of fresh air in the summers? Which kind of shrub should you choose to spruce up your backyard, especially if you live in a sunny window zone? There is no uniform answer to these questions, and you need to know exactly what you want before starting your project.
If you are planning to bring flowers indoors for a few weeks during the winter, you will need to get a list of the recommended flowers for your zone from the National Weather Service. You can find them in your local library or bookstore. They list all the zones in the United States (and also the states of the District of Columbia) and provide a list of flowers that are ideal for each zone. This information can be used by landscapers when designing a plan for your outdoor planting, or it can be used to help you choose the right flowers for your indoor garden. Just check the conditions of your local weather service offices for a list of ideal flower zones.
Many plants will do well both indoors and outdoors, and there are hundreds of different varieties available. In fact, you could fill an entire book with names and descriptions of flowering plants that are perfect for either setting, including containers such as hanging baskets, tubs, and terracotta planters. Almost any flowering plant, from the familiar houseplant to the exotic New Zealand trees that frame a beautiful conservatory, can do well as an outdoor plant. The key is to match your needs with the right types of plants.
If you are looking for living and thriving plants that you can move inside if the temperature drops, look at the Perennial section of your local garden center. Many perennials, including clematis and Dutchman’s lace, can survive temperatures dropping below freezing for several years. Other options for the perennials category include California poppy and bladder wrack. Both these plants come in both container and annual forms, and both have a long history of being a source of houseplants. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find!