Of course, you love them up close and intimate in your windowsills. But when warm weather finally stabilizes for good in spring, you have another option. Send your houseplants outside to play. Most houseplants love a little vacation outdoors. Not only do they bask in the fresh air, but their care and maintenance can be quicker when watering is simply accomplished by grabbing a hose. Plus, you share some of the watering duties with Mother Nature when it rains. Here are some suggestions to make your houseplants “happy campers” outside.
Making the Transition
Although most houseplants love the fresh air sequence when the weather stabilizes, be sure that the mercury is reliably rising before sending them outside. For most houseplants, we’re talking at least 45° F. or warmer at night. Plants that prefer warmer conditions such as begonias, orchids, alocasias, and members of the African violet family would prefer 50° F. or higher at night.
Go with a gradual transition when sending them out. Just like people tend to get sunburned on their first beach day, houseplants are also not accustomed to the rays outdoors after spending winter on the sill. Even plants that ultimately love the sun are going to scorch if unfiltered hot sun hits their leaves for the first week or so outside. Put them in a shady spot or cover them with a sheet and then gradually beam them up.
Right Plant/Right Place for Houseplants
When deciding on summer staging, keep light preferences in mind when matching your plant with its summer happy place. A shade-loving plant like a fern or a Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is not going to thank you for setting it in a sunny spot. On the other hand, most succulents will love basking in sunbeams once they’ve become acclimated to life outdoors.
Check labels for sun needs, or ask at a local garden center. And of course, a hose nearby will make maintenance as easy as turning on the faucet.
Repotting for Summertime
You want to give your plants all the oomph they need to accomplish summer athletics. Spring is prime time for repotting and the right sized container will cut down on the maintenance time. A houseplant with cramped roots will cry for drinks continually. On the other hand, you don’t want to over-pot your plants. When handing out promotions, go no more than 2 inches at a time when repotting into a larger container. Coast of Maine’s Bar Harbor Blend Organic Potting Soil is a great overall fit for providing the nutrition that houseplants need to put on their summer growth.
Houseplants to Keep Indoors
Some houseplants are more comfortable left inside. Hoyas burn so easily that it is risky to send them out unless you can guarantee full shade. Orchids can be finicky and are best kept where they have been thriving over winter. And of course, there is no harm in keeping oversized, hard-to-move plants where they’re doing well and entertaining you. For companionship, you might want to keep low maintenance plants indoors that require only occasional visits with the watering can—such as cacti and succulents.
Written by award winning author, Tovah Martin. Photos also taken by Tovah Martin. Find her books and more information on her website: tovahmartin.com