Can Plants Survive In Cars? Some Can Be Pretty Tough

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Updated on January 23, 2024 by
car plants

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If you have a green thumb and happen to love plants around you everywhere you go, then you’ve probably thought about keeping a small plant in your car. It’s not the worst idea when you think about it. If you have a long commute in the morning and afternoon, having a bright plant in your car can make the ride a little easier. But can plants survive in cars? Surprisingly, some can be tough little suckers and they can survive living in your car.

Other plants might not be able to handle the cold or humidity the inside of your car might face, depending on where you live. Things could south pretty fast if you aren’t careful, though. Keeping a plant alive in your car is definitely a careful game of picking the right plant, caring for it properly, and making sure nothing and no one in your car disturbs it. And, believe it or not, there is a lot to consider when you think about keeping a plant in your car indefinitely.

The Benefits Of Plants In Cars

Daniel Hjalmarsson/Unsplash

Because you have to be extra careful with plants in cars, you might eventually decide they aren’t worth the trouble. No one will fault you for that, but there are a few benefits to keeping the right plants in your car. You can have a naturally sweet smelling interior, for starters. And it can also play a small role in purifying the air in your car.

Plus, if you are looking for a way to brighten up what might be a dour and gray or black interior, a bright car-safe plant could be what you need. But is there even such a thing as a truly car-safe plant? There is a lot to think about when it comes to keeping a plant in your car and it can be a little much for some people to take on.

What To Consider If You Want To Keep A Plant In Your Car

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When you’re picking out a plant to put in your car, the first thing you need to think about is the pot. Plant pots are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can find one that will fit the greenery you’re choosing. Potted plants also come with drainage holes, so you don’t have to worry about your plant getting waterlogged.

The second thing to consider is the plant itself. Make sure the plant you choose can handle the conditions in your car. Some plants, like ferns, are naturally moisture-retentive and will need to be watered regularly. Other plants, like succulents, can handle a little less water and won’t need to be watered as often.

When it comes to light, most plants need some light to grow. However, some plants, like cacti, are photosensitive and will die if they don’t have enough light. Fluctuations in light levels can also be a problem for some plants, so you’ll want to make sure your plant has a sturdy stand that can handle being moved around.

Extreme temperature changes can also be a problem for some plants. If you live in a cold climate, make sure your plant is tolerant of cold temperatures. If you live in a hot climate, make sure your plant is tolerant of high temperatures. Fresh air is also important for plants, so make sure your plant has a way to get fresh air.

Not all plants want to be as hot as your car can get in the summer months. And if you live somewhere where the air is especially dry, the inside of your car can get stifling or even downright unbearable. You will have to keep your car windows cracked when you aren’t in it so that your plants can get some air from outside.

And in the winter months, your car could turn into a terrible place for any kind of plant. Depending on where you live and how treacherous the winters can get, your car can reach below freezing temperatures. There aren’t many plants that could survive such conditions, especially with little to no sunlight.

But if you are intent on keeping a plant in your car, make sure you keep it in a place where it is less likely to fall over easily. Your dashboard might seem like the perfect spot to keep a plant in terms of getting sunlight and being able to see it, but one wrong turn and it can fall over and perish. A cup holder would probably be the best place for a plant in your car. It will still get at least indirect sunlight and it will have a little cocoon for its pot.

3 Plants That Could Survive In Cars

Lucky Bamboo

lucky bamboo
Lucky bamboo is an easy to care for plant pretty much anywhere. All you need to do is place it in water and keep it hydrated. You can keep it in a cup in one of your cup holders. As long as the water doesn’t get too low, it can be an easy to care for plant for your car during the warmer months.

Pothos Plants

Pothos plants
Pothos plants are another option. They are easy to grow and take care of and can be planted in either soil or water. You could easily keep one in your car as long as you know how to properly trim them. They can grow swiftly and vine, so you will need to keep an eye on its growth if you decide to keep a pothos in your car.

Snake Plant

snake plant
Or, you can go with a snake plant. It’s easy to care for and grows straight up, so there is little danger of dealing with an out of control plant in your car. It also requires very little sunlight too, and it’s okay if the soil dries out. For some plant owners, those are not only ideal conditions for in-house plants, but make for super easy to handle car plants.

Bonsai Plants

Bonsai plants are also an option if you’d like to grow plants in your car. These trees and plants are grown in containers. The art of bonsai started in Japan in ancient times. They were once only for the elite of Japan; however, during the Edo period (1603-1867), bonsai plants came to be a recognized art that was appreciated by everyone.

The plants are artistically styled and grow slowly in their containers. Growing plants is a hobby that almost anyone can enjoy. Bonsai trees can fit in your car, though some may grow too large for your vehicle.

There are all kinds of bonsai plants and trees, including maple trees, fruit-bearing trees, and more. Raising these plants requires caring for the shape of their shape. Occasionally their branches or stems may need to be cut off, branches may need to be wired, and more. These plants require water, too, of course!


Succulents are a great option for people who want to keep a plant in their car. They are very easy to take care of and they don’t need a lot of water. Some succulents, like aloe vera, can even survive in low light conditions. Succulents can be the air fresheners of your car, adding a little bit of fragrance without having to use any artificial fragrances.

Scented Geraniums

One of the easiest plants to keep in your car is a scented geranium. These plants are typically hardy and can handle a lot of different conditions. They also have a long blooming period, so you can enjoy their fragrance for a while. Just be sure to water them regularly and don’t forget to move them to a new location every so often so they don’t get too root-bound.


Cacti are another great option for people who want to keep a plant in their car. They are easy to take care of and they don’t need a lot of water. Plus, they look great in a car. If you want to keep a cactus in your car, make sure to check it regularly and give it a light dusting of soil every few weeks. Indoor plants might not be able to handle the low humidity and cold temperatures in a car, so make sure to research which cacti are best for car living before you buy one.

Tips to Grow Plants in Your Car

  • Keep a thermometer in your car to ensure the temperature is correct for the plants you choose.
  • Your plant(s) need to be placed in a secure position, such as in the cupholder or on the dashboard. This will keep your plant(s) from moving around as you drive. Placing your plant(s) securely also ensures the soil and water will not spill in the car.
  • Put a box in your car with a place to keep plants secure in the container.
  • Use the back seat of the car to place the container, only if you don’t see the back seat very often.

Should You Get a Car Plant?

Rachel Lees/Unsplash

It all comes down to how much you are willing to care for a plant in your car. Technically, it is possible, but there is a lot to consider. You will need to keep a close eye on how your specific plant fares in the heat, cold, and without much direct sunlight. You will also have to decide if you are willing to permanently give up a small area in your car, like one or both of your cup holders. Yes, it is possible for some plants to survive in cars. But it can be a big commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

You can find DIY instructions for keeping plants alive in cars on the internet, but the best way to do it is to consult with a professional. They will be able to give you specific advice on the best plants that will grow in your car and how to care for them.

On Amazon, there are a few different types of plants that can be kept in your car. If you are a beginner, it might be a good idea to start with something small like a cactus. However you need to know how to take care of a plant if you want it to last. This is because leaving it inside a car overnight can kill it if the temperature gets too low. Extreme heat or cold can also kill a plant if it isn’t taken care of properly. A hot car in the summertime can also kill a plant.

When you are planning to grow plants in your car, you need to be aware of the climate where you live. Some plants might not be able to survive in cold weather, for example. In the end, it is up to you to decide what kind of plant you want to keep in your car and how you are going to take care of it.

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