We often only think of houseplants as
growing indoors, it is important to recognize that all
houseplants originated from the outdoors. Although houseplants
can survive indoors, they have evolved to survive in
an outdoor, natural environment. With that in mind,
it can be very beneficial to summer houseplants outdoors.
The following are some of the benefits
of summering plants outdoors:
- Pest Control
- There are many insects outside which naturally prey
upon houseplant pests. Often times, placing infected
plants outdoors is the most effective way to get rid
of pests (It often works better than any pesticide).
So if you have spiders or other bugs on your outdoor
houseplants, do not worry; they will not harm your
houseplants. These are beneficial insects, and they
are the best form of natural pest control.
- Higher Light –
Indoors, light usually only comes from one source,
such as a window, and is therefore limited. However,
outdoors, plants are exposed to higher light levels,
and varying light intensities during the day.
- Higher Humidity –
Most houseplants originate from tropical areas, and
are adapted to high humidity levels. Humidity levels
are highest in the summer, but indoors, humidity may
be lower due to air conditioners, closed windows,
etc. Outdoor houseplants are exposed to high humidity
levels, which are very beneficial to houseplants’
growth and health.
- Air Movement –
Outdoors, there is usually some type of air movement,
such as a light breeze. This is very beneficial to
houseplants, as moving air helps to minimize pest
and fungal problems.
- Rain – Outdoor
houseplants that are exposed to rain will be watered
with a very pure water. Indoor tapwater often has
added chemicals, which can damage some sensitive plants.
Plants that are sensitive to water will benefit from
being watered with rainwater.
- Natural Environmental Changes
– In most cases, plants have evolved to respond
to certain environmental changes. For example, many
flowering plants bloom with shortened day lengths,
or based on differences between day and night temperatures.
Often times these environmental changes can be difficult
to mimic indoors, but outdoors, the plant is naturally
exposed to these changes.
Below are some tips on how to successfully
summer houseplants outdoors:
- Be careful not to move houseplants
outdoors too early. Houseplants are best moved outdoors
once night temperatures reach about 60-65?F. If houseplants
are moved outdoors too early, the sudden change in
temperatures can stress the plants.
- Since most houseplants are shade-loving,
low-light plants, they should not be placed in direct
sunlight. Houseplants will do best in a shaded location,
such as on a porch, or under a large tree. If plants
with high light requirements are being placed in brighter
sun, be sure to gradually acclimate plants to stronger
- Look for locations where houseplants
will be semi-protected from the weather. Strong winds
and heavy rains from summer storms can damage houseplants,
so look for locations next to your house, under overhangs,
or under large canopy trees to protect plants from
- Remember that plants summering outdoors
are exposed to summer heat, and brighter light, so
they will dry out faster than if they were indoors.
Be sure to keep plants properly watered while they
- Plants should be brought back
indoors during the fall (usually around September
to October) when nighttime temperatures drop to about
50?F. Warmer growing plants can be brought inside
earlier, and cooler growing plants can be left outdoors
longer. This fall outdoor period is especially important
for flowering houseplants. Outdoors, houseplants are
exposed to a drop in night temperatures, and shorter
day lengths, which they might not experience indoors.
This change in temperature and day length is usually
helpful in getting otherwise difficult flowering houseplants