If you’re like me, you have a room of your house bursting with plants. As the weather turns warmer as we start into summer, it can be nice to bring your houseplants outdoors for the season. Many houseplants originate in tropical climates and find the bright shade and high temperatures of a covered porch in the summer to be perfect growing conditions. With a little work, we can get our plants ready for a growing outdoors.
Plants that have adjusted to the indoor life are accustomed to a very specific environment. Our homes typically have low light, low humidity, and relatively moderate temperatures with small fluctuations. Outdoor growing conditions are typically high light, high humidity, high temperature and have large temperature fluctuations between day and night. For this reason, plants can become stressed or even sunburned if they are brought out into the light too quickly or for too long.
First thing first: determine what kind of plant you have. Is it something that likes shade, like a sanseviera? Full sun, like a cacti? Or something tropical, like a philodendron?
Next, consider where you might put the plant outside. Is it a covered doorway or porch area that will get mostly shade, but still have the high humidity and temperature? Or is it totally exposed where it will get direct sunlight? Make sure the site you choose will have appropriate light conditions for your plant- a shade loving peace lily should not find itself in full sun out on the sidewalk.
Acclimate your plant by taking baby steps, if possible. If you intend for your houseplant to be in a part sun or full sun location, start by moving the plant outdoors in a shaded site such as a covered porch. Let the plant adjust to the new temperature, humidity, and brighter light conditions for a week or two before moving it to its final location for the summer.
Plants will need to have adjustments to their water and fertilizing schedule. If you only periodically watered your plant when it was indoors, you will likely have to water it much more frequently now that it is exposed to the elements. Wind and sun will dry out your plant more quickly, and as it adjusts to its new environment it will begin to grow more rapidly. During times of rapid growth, plants will need to be watered and fertilized more regularly to accommodate the new growth.
Have questions about moving your plants outdoors? Contact your local extension office for more information at: (404) 613- 7670.