Now that the weather is consistently warmer and the days are getting longer, we all want to spend more time outside. This includes your houseplants! Most common houseplants are tropical natives and prefer a warmer, more humid climate so a light filled summer outside may feel like a little taste of home and can be the perfect catalyst for growth and renewal in your plants. With a bit of planning and care, the plants that adorn your indoor environment can enliven your outdoor environment too.
Much like we need to acclimatize our seedlings to the outdoors prior to planting, our houseplants also need this kind of care. Bring your plants out for a few hours a day, particularly if the nights are still a bit chilly. When the overnight temperatures are consistently 55-60 degrees or higher, consider starting to leave them out overnight. Send your hardiest plants out first, such as Jade plants, Snake plants and Aloe Vera. Cacti and succulents prefer warmer weather, so hold off on taking them out until it is consistently warm.
Most houseplants are not used to many hours of direct sunlight while indoors so be careful with placement when you bring them out. Your plants can easily become stressed as a result of shock due to intense direct sunlight. Dappled light is ideal so start by putting them in shady nooks, under trees and on the covered porch. One exception-your cacti are desert plants so they can probably handle a full day of direct sunlight. Expose your other sun loving plants gradually to more direct sun. Keep your orchids and other plants that do not enjoy a lot of direct sun indoors in partially shaded areas. If you see any evidence of leaf burn, your plant is getting too much sun and it should be placed in a shadier spot.
Summer can be prime growing and flowering season for your plants and they will need the proper nutrient support. Summer is the time to fertilize! Also, make sure your plants are getting enough water, particularly when it is windy. Plants can lose a lot of water through transpiration which occurs more rapidly in dry and windy conditions.
Finally, pay attention to the weather report. If heavy soaking rain is in the forecast, definitely bring in the cacti and consider shielding more delicate plants. Rain can be good for watering or washing the dust off of leaves but too much rain can be harmful. Likewise, if it will be exceptionally windy, make sure to protect your smaller, more fragile plants. At the very least, you don’t want one of your favorite pots to end up shattered on the ground. With a little planning, care and attention, your houseplants will have a healthy and happy summer outside and will enrich and beautify your outdoor living space.