Are Plants Okay to Put Around Your Air Conditioner?

There has been an ongoing debate about whether it is okay to landscape around your air conditioner or not.  Seemingly solid arguments get made on both sides which makes it difficult to know what the correct answer is.  In fact, it is such a topic of debate that some manufacturers, like Trane, have finally come out and made definitive recommendations and explained why.

What’s the Reasoning Against Landscaping Around Your AC?

The biggest argument against landscaping around your AC is the encroachment of the plants on your unit.  Plants growing against or into your unit adds moisture and potentially interferes with moving components, both things that will add stress to your outside AC unit.  This, however, is not a problem so long as you keep what you plant spaced appropriately around your unit and properly trimmed back.

The second main argument against planting shrubbery and other foliage near your AC is that somehow it will impact air intake.  This is a common myth as air conditioning units do not intake any air at all.

Why is Landscaping Around Your AC Good?

The theory behind the pros of landscaping around your outside air conditioner is threefold.

Drainage Control

Mulching or placing a stone bed around your AC can help to control moisture and drainage issues The Daily Mirror.  Keeping in mind that water is bad for your AC, it’s easy to understand why this is important.


Any electronics are more likely to fail under high-heat stress.  Providing shade for your outside unit helps keep it cooler during the summer and operating under less heat strain.


Proper landscaping is, simply put, beautiful.  Adding the right plants and other yard features is visually appealing.


To wrap it up, the correct answer is clear: you do want to landscape around your outside AC unit.  However, you want to make sure what you plant is spaced a bit back from the unit and you keep everything well maintained.

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