I have a blueberry plant that's a few years old now, and when I left it outside it grew berries, but indoors it did not, despite nearly the same conditions. This got me wondering if my plant knew it was indoors or not.

Suppose the lighting, soil, amount of watering, and atmosphere are the same. The temperature would be different since outdoors the temperature varies a lot, but indoors the temperature is generally the same. Could a fruiting plant be able to tell if it is in an indoor environment or outside? By "detect", "know", or "tell", I mean that the plant behaves differently, not that it is sentient.

  • 1
    Lighting is not the same indoors unless you have substantial lights such as 1000 watt metal halides. Jul 21, 2021 at 15:56

3 Answers 3


Specifically about your blueberry:

According to this resource what you might be missing is the "chill hours" below 45º F which is really a likely difference between indoors and outdoors. Also the lighting indoors is not likely the same as the comment mentions.

Find your thrill with blueberry chill!

And more generally:

Plants can be sensitive to tons of different variables that one might not be aware of at first, like:

  • Lighting hours and quality
  • Shadow time
  • Air temperature
  • Air temperature changes
  • Soil temperature
  • Soil humidity
  • Soil acidity
  • Nutrients density
  • Soil percolation (sandy/clayey/just right)
  • Insects and other pollinators availability
  • And likely many more I'm leaving out because I don't know about them yet.

So plants can and will detect when some of these variables are not to their liking, either outdoors or indoors.

Sometimes you have to bring the plants indoors or cover them (for example if it will freeze and they cannot withstand it) and sometimes you must take them outdoors or cool them somehow (for example blueberries in winter)


Blueberries are self-pollinating, but a big part of self-pollination is environmental. This is a good article describing conditions affecting self-pollination and being indoors without wind and pollinating insects would very likely reduce the chance of pollination.

  • That's also a great point!
    – user36333
    Jul 21, 2021 at 15:58

Other than chill requirement, blueberries are primarily pollinated by bees - the pollen is quite sticky and therefore not easy for wind to move it around, so although they are self pollinating, the bee/insect intermediary is essential, see here https://entomology.ces.ncsu.edu/small-fruit-insect-biology-management/blueberry-pollinators/

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.