How to Take Houseplants Outside During Summer

As long as you know a few basic rules about how to take houseplants outside during summer, you can reliably include time outdoors as part of your seasonal houseplant care. Many plants will enjoy their time outside and redouble their growth, but there are a few considerations that must be followed to avoid hurting the plant. Learn the answers to the following questions and you should know how to take houseplants outside during the summer.

How Warm Does It Need to Be to Take Houseplants Outside?

Many houseplants will do fine as long as it doesn’t frost, but it’s still important to watch for a late frost—or an early one at the beginning of fall. Some houseplants that like warmer temperatures should only be outside if it’s going to stay above 50 degrees. True tropical plants may need temperatures that stay above 60 degrees. Unless you live in a warmer climate, you may need to watch out for cold snaps and tropical plants even in the middle of summer. If there’s any doubt, it only takes a minute to bring houseplants back inside for a night, even if you thought they were ready to be outside for the rest of the summer. At the same time, look out for warmer days at the end of spring. Houseplants will do best outside if given a chance to acclimate to its new surroundings. Put these plants outside for a few hours during warm spring afternoon in preparation for making a full-time transition.

What Types of Houseplants can You Take Outside During Summer?

Under the right conditions, almost any houseplant can be taken outside in the summer. We recommend moving only those houseplants that are healthy, hearty, and/or like lots of light exposure. If you have an outdoor spot like a large porch with deep, constant shade, then you may be able to successfully move even shade-loving houseplants outside. We wouldn’t risk it, however, at least not with one of our favorite low-light plants. A mostly shady spot outside is like the sunniest spot inside. Still, most types of plants can live outside in summer if you slowly transition the plant by gradually increasing how much time it spends outside.  

What Houseplants Should NOT Go Outside During Summer?

While most houseplants will enjoy and take advantage of their time outside, this is not a cure for an ailing houseplant. More likely, trying to take a plant with weak growth outside will be the final straw. Likewise, you do not need to be overly worried about bugs and pests attacking the plant outside—so long as it is healthy. Another potential problem is houseplants that are pot-bound. With more roots and less soil, a houseplant will need to be watered more frequently and with less room for error. A better plan is to repot and let the plant establish itself before trying to move it to a new spot.

How Do You Water Outdoor Houseplants During Summer?

Just like inside, houseplants can be seriously harmed by root rot in waterlogged soil. It’s every bit as important to use pots with drainage and not overwater. When it comes to different types of water for houseplants, rainwater is among the best choices. Unfortunately, it may do more harm than good, if it’s thick, pelting rain from a storm. Plus, most houseplants need some shelter anyway to protect them from several hours of direct sunlight. A better way to use rainwater is a rain barrel that can collect and store water. Even when not using rainwater, many people find it easier to water plants outside. Using a garden hose is a lot more efficient than a watering can. Just be sure to clear the water in the hose before hitting the plants; the initial burst of water can be scorching hot.

Have a Year-Round Plan for Your Houseplants

To sum up, your houseplants can benefit from spending the summer outside, but you and they need to be prepared. More than just the plants themselves, you may need to think about your home décor. Will there be eyesores created by empty spots where plants used to be? How do you fill these spaces knowing that the plants will return in a few months? Are you putting tropical, sun-loving plants outside with the plan to use indoor grow lights and air humidifiers during the winter? You need a year-round solution and seasonal care guide for houseplants. Taking houseplants outside is an opportunity to use your creative problem-solving. The good news is that there are lots of solid plans and strategies to care for indoor/outdoor houseplants.

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