What plants will work best in an elementary classroom? One whole side of my room has windows, facing east. Also, school rooms have extreme variation of temperatures during the school year. Thanks

Thanks for your question Bonnie, Your east facing classroom will get a half day of sun at the best. This means that you’ll need to limit your choices to low light plants. Couple that with the wide swings in temperature that classrooms have and you’ll need to only consider durable low light houseplants. African Violets for instance have been crossed off the list. I have some suggestions for a few that should have no trouble with your conditions. Heart-Leaf Philodendron. It is a vining plant most often seen grown in a hanging basket. Your light conditions will suit it. Pothos, A variegated vine that somewhat resembles the well-known heart shaped philodendron except that the leaves are variegated for a splotchy yellow/green look. Asparagus Fern. The foliage does indeed resemble the wispy, feathery foliage of the asparagus we grow in our garden. Also mostly grown in a hanging basket. Peace Lily. Peace lily is will known as the champ of low light conditions. In your setting, low humidity might be an issue so it will enjoy regular misting. Spathipphyllum (another name for the Peace Lily) is one of the most popular house plants due to it’s ability to thrive just about anywhere as long as it is a low light setting. In fact you’ll need to make sure that it is not in direct sunlight in your classroom. Aloe Vera. The healing plant Aloe Vera should also do well. Make sure it gets as much of that morning sun as possible. The gel inside the leaves is great for treating burns and other skin rashes and cuts. These are just a few that come to mind but you should do a search on the internet for ‘low light plants’ to see if there are others that appeal to you. One note though, in your setting you’ll need to make sure that you keep the plants very much on the dry side especially in the winter. Plants only need enough water to replenish what is lost to evaporation. For low light plants the need is very small. During the winter, the days are so short and the room will be so cool at night and on weekends that it will be especially important to keep them on the dry side. It will be tempting to give them “little extra water for the weekend”. Try to avoid this. Plant can tolerate dryness much better than wet conditions. The plant might get wilty from dryness but, once watered< the dry roots and wilty leaves can bounce back much more quickly than if they have been drowned. Think of it this way You could survive much longer without any water to drink than you could underwater without any air to breathe. Peter Bowden

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