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I have been wanting to supplement my heating system with some plants that produce heat! I have become aware that there are around 14 species which generate significant amounts of heat for example the eastern skunk cabbage.

However I have also read that many species which are thermogenic release odours such as the smell of rotting flesh. I would rather avoid plants which will make my house smell like this!

Are there any plants which produce heat which would be suitable for storing in my house?

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  • $\begingroup$ I never knew there were such plants, thank you for educating me! Insulating the walls with plants or moss might be the most effective way, though. You want any structure that creates cusions of small air pockets along a surface. Like wall carpets that are used in some cultures, but green and pretty and happy. $\endgroup$ – gothamgreen Jul 28 at 23:20
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Philodendron bipinnatifidum is a thermogenic houseplant. It is somewhat toxic, so not pet- or small-child-friendly, but commonly grown as a houseplant. However, I do not know if the heat generated would be enough to significantly impact your house; my impression is that most thermogenic plants merely warm their immediate surroundings (so you may need a LOT of plants). As a side note, your scheme to use plant-based-heating would probably also have good effects on air quality :)

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, this is really more of a fun experiment than a serious project but I am not opposed to having many plants! I will investigate this species further thank you. $\endgroup$ – Brian Mullan Jul 29 at 18:29
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The heat the plant produces ultimately comes from the light it uses. Unless the plant produces heat just in the wanted time (winter?) from light absorbed another time; then you would be just as warm by letting the light directly warm your environment regardless of plants.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't see how this can be true. Light reflected off my white walls could be better spent absorbed by the plants and used to generate heat. $\endgroup$ – Cell Jul 29 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ Yes basically I believe they do not release heat immediately after obtaining the energy from the sun so they would be "smoothing" variation in temperature in the room by releasing heat e.g. at night. From what I understand some species are capable of melting snow in this way. $\endgroup$ – Brian Mullan Jul 29 at 18:28

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