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Name: Zyanne H.
Status:  student
Age: 7
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 3/26/2004

What is the difference between indoor and outdoor plants?


The inside and outside of houses are different from each other because of how the light and air acts. Outdoors, there is daylight and dark and rain -- and the temperature can go up and down a lot. Indoors, the temperature doesn't change a lot and the kind of light is different because it may not be on and off at the same times as daylight and dark. Also, indoor plants get water only when it is given by whoever owns the plant.

As you can see, indoor and outdoor plants live in different worlds. Plants that are supposed to grow well indoors are chosen so that they can live in indoor conditions. Not all outdoor plants do well if they are kept indoors. Some indoor plants can't live very well if kept outdoors.

ProfHoff 837

My indoor plants are plants that would not survive the winter outside in Chicago. They have a pretty small temperature range compared to some outdoor plants (they don't like it too hot or too cold). They do not flower or produce fruit, so they don't need insects to pollinate them (help them make fruits or seeds). They live all year--they don't have a period where they die back and re-grow. They don't re-seed themselves. Most of mine spread sideways through root growth. I usually put my indoor plants outside for the summer, and they all seem to be able to take the summer heat. I have to be careful with a few of them getting too much sun, though.

I have several types of outdoor plants: plants that grow from bulbs or root bundles underground every year and grow on their own, plants that grow from bulbs that I have to plant and remove every year because they won't survive the Chicago winters, plants that I grow from seeds every year, and plants that grow from seeds that dropped from plants the year before. I also have plants like evergreens that are there all the year, but seem to do most of their growing when it's warmer. Some of the plants are pollinated by insects to make new seeds or fruits for the following year, and others grow vegetables.

This summer, you could grow some plants indoors and outdoors and see what kind of differences you see for yourself. Maybe you could plant the same plants indoors and outdoors and see what happens. You don't say where you live, but I bet you can find some plants that you could experiment on in your area and weather. Have fun!

Pat Rowe

Nice question. It is more what we call them because of what they need to grow in our own homes. For instance, you might have an african violet plant in your home if you live in a climate where the winters are very cold and it snows often. African violets cannot survive we keep the in our home in a nice shady spot because they don't like too much sun either. African Violets are also pretty because they have flowers most of the time so people like having them in their homes. So we call this an indoor plant. But there are places in the world where they grow outside all over the place and people would not consider them an indoor plant.


It's not a really big difference, Zyanne. Each kind of plant has it's favorite kind of weather. Inside has different weather than outside.

If it grows best when it's warm, and it doesn't like too much sunlight, they call it an indoor plant.

If it needs lots of sunlight, or if your home has the kind of weather your plant is used to, then they call it an outdoor plant.

Sometimes a plant is both, indoors and outdoors. Then you can grow it where you want to.

If you have a plant in a little pot, you can put it somewhere for two days or a week, then see whether the plant looks a little happier or sadder. If it's sadder, try a different place. Put one cup of water on it, if the dirt feels dusty-dry. Some plants are pretty easy to keep happy.

Jim Swenson

Dear Zyanne,

What makes a plant indoors or outdoors depends upon what kind of temperatures it can stand. Some plants like really warm weather, the kind you might find in a tropical rainforest. If you don't live in a tropical rainforest, then this plant would be an indoor plant for you. You could raise it inside, keep it warm, and give it the extra love and care it would need to survive. Some plants might be indoor plants, in some climates and outdoor plants in others. People in Florida can grow orange trees in their backyards. Up here in Chicago where I live, there's no way an orange tree would survive outside in the winter. I might try to grow one inside if I had a big enough place.

Ask mom or dad to go to the library with you. You can find good books on gardening. Our country is divided into zones, depending on the average temperature of the area as well as dates for the last frost. This information helps gardeners decide what kinds of plants would best grow in their outside gardens. Most plants can be grown indoors if you have space. However, you must read about the plant you want to grow inside and see if you can provide it with what it needs to live.

I hope you have fun learning about plants.

Martha Croll

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