Houseplants – Heading Outdoors for Summer

houseplantsoutsideEveryone’s heading outdoors for summer, so why not your plants, too? A lot of our customers ask us if they can grow houseplants outside, and the answer is YES! There are many beautiful foliage and blooming houseplants that can make a huge impact on your porch or patio during the summer.

A summer outdoors is a real benefit to most houseplants. Nearly all of them like the brighter light that they can get on a shaded porch or patio. Almost no houseplant (except tropicals), however, likes full sun. Most of them need protection from strong wind and beating rain and are not well suited to growing in an open garden border.

Temperature above 55°F: A first precaution is never to move any houseplants to an outdoor location until the temperature can be relied upon not to sink below the minimum acceptable tender varieties – 55 to 60 degrees. This includes night time temps, too. Now is the perfect time to do this! (June is the earliest safest time in most northern areas).

Location: Check carefully to learn the position of the sun at various times of day. A spot that seems ideal in morning hours may become far too sunny for most foliage plants by midday or afternoon. Therefore, it’s unwise to put plants in locations that will require shifting at certain hours during each day. One error in memory, and your favorite plant can be completely ruined by leaf burn.

At first, move houseplants to a shady outdoor location where they receive no direct sunlight. Plants that favor low light conditions can stay in those locations all summer.

Others can be gradually introduced to direct sun over a couple of weeks. Eventually, sun-loving houseplants, such as hibiscus, gardenia, mandevilla, and other tropical plants can be placed in locations that get 6 hours of direct sun or more.

houseplantsoutside2Checking for insects: Unless your summer vacation spot for houseplants is screened, you must check much more often for insect infestation. If it occurs, treat promptly with appropriate insecticide, following manufacturer’s instructions. And always check such plants before you bring them indoors at summer’s end.

Watering: If you like to slip clay pots inside decorative metal or ceramic containers, make certain rain will not fall directly onto a plant, fill up an outer container with water, and water log the soil, causing root rot.

Remember that your watering schedule will differ from the one that you maintained indoors. Strong winds and hot, dry weather mean frequent waterings; conversely, prolonged rainy spells when humidity is high call for longer intervals between waterings. The leaves will also benefit from a shower, removing any dust buildup and help the plant’s photosynthesis.

Before you make the movewe recommend giving the plants a little TLC. For large plants, consider holding off on watering several days before the move to lighten the load. It may be best to use a dolly or cart to move larger plants outdoors. Trim any foliage and deadhead flowers that don’t look too great – you want your plants to look brand new for their summer vacation! Add a fresh layer of potting soil (or other medium depending on the plant) to the container.

Now it’s time to make the move. Once outside, give your plants a nice watering – thoroughly soaking the root ball and showering the foliage. Watering the leaves will give the plants the humidity they need, and also cleans the pores of dust and debris.

The best time of day to move your plants outdoors is in the morning. Prepare the plants and the location the night before. Doing the hard stuff in the morning when temperatures are not too high will keep you cool, and will give the plants’ foliage time to dry out during the day before temperatures drop at night.

Find more information about houseplants on our Tips and Info Page

Houseplants – Heading Outdoors for Summer

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