We give our plants the best care we know how and sometimes that means spending the summer outdoors! Anyone else starting to feel a little panic about bringing our gorgeous houseplants back inside?
We hope you'll feel confident about the pros and cons of your houseplants spending the summer outside, and what steps need to be taken to bring your plants back indoors!
Where, When and Why
The frost is on its way and it’s time for our houseplants that have been thriving outside (need) to come in! Wondering about what time of year, and how to bring them in? We’re going to look at the pros and cons of houseplants going outside for the summer, as well as when and how to prepare them for inside!
Benefits of putting plants outside
Plants love the benefits that come from growing in fresh air. The fresh air provides them with the optimal level of gas (CO₂), and when combined with light and water the plant is able to maximize photosynthesis. It can also provide the plant with an excellent growth environment without having to control the humidity and light with equipment. As an added bonus, the rain will clean the leaves of the plants to keep them growing strong too!
Risks of putting plants outside
There’s definitely a few risks to putting your plants outside due to pests, temperature and weather. Their water and feeding schedule will need to be increased to keep up with the quick growth that will occur. If you place your plants outside too early or immediately in direct sunlight, they may experience shock. Storms can also knock plants down, causing breakage and shock. The last, and biggest risk would be that viruses, pests and molds can hitchhike a ride back into the house and spread to other plants when the summer is over.
When to put outside
It's good to put your plants outside at least 4 weeks after the last frost, which means in warmer climates, like the southern states in the US, you can start putting plants outside as early as April! One important thing to remember is to gradually accustom your plants to outside. If you put them straight outside, it can shock them pretty badly by either too much light or too drastic a temperature change. If you live in a warm location, start by putting plants in the shade and gradually move them after a week or two to a sunnier location.
When to bring inside
It’s a good idea to bring your plants inside a few weeks before the typical first frost, usually between the months of September-October. You want to bring them inside when the day/night temperatures drop below 45-55F (7.2-12.8C). If you have a lot of plants outside, start earlier and work in small groups. There’s a lot to do for each of them, so take your time and have fun with it rather than overwhelming yourself with a large group! You need to adjust the plants to less sun before bringing them in. Placing them in a shady place for a week or two before bringing them in will be a less shocking transition for the plants. Make sure you check for pests and disease before bringing plants inside.
How to prepare your house plants to bring inside
Once your plants have had a week or two in the shade outside they’re ready for you to prep them for the house! It’s important to check the plants and pots for pests and disease. It’s also good to evaluate whether the plant needs repotting or split up into smaller, multiple plants. If the plant does need to be repotted, place it in a pot one inch larger than what it’s currently in. If it needs to be propagated, plant it in its favorite soil mix and place it in an area that provides it with sufficient lighting. Sometimes the plants might need a little trim if their growth went a little out of control throughout the summer too.
Supplies needed for repotting and pest/disease control
- Bleach water (1 part bleach to 10 parts water)
- Insecticide spray
- Growing medium
Checking for pests and disease
- Familiarize yourself with common houseplant pests with this great post Top 5 Most Common Houseplant Pests and How to Overcome Them
- Check leaves (top and bottom), stems, soil and ‘trunk’ for things like insects, caterpillars and molds/virus’.
3. Give the plant and pot a shower with the garden hose on the strongest spray the plant can handle.
4. Wipe down leaves (if possible) with a clean rag (don’t use the same rag on each plant to avoid transplanting pests or disease). You can use a toothbrush can help clean the hard to reach places
5. Using alcohol or sanitizing bleach mix, clean the rims and lips of the pot.
6. Spray bleach mix on a rag and wipe down the larger surfaces of the pot, making sure to include the bottom of the pot too.
7. Spray the plant with insecticide, neem oil/water mix or soap/water mix making sure the top and bottom of the leaves are saturated.
If you have a lot of plants outside, it can definitely be a lot of work making sure each plant is prepared properly for the return indoors. Thus why working in small groups rather than dealing with them all in one day will turn it into a much more enjoyable event! Tackling pests while they’re outside makes it so much easier to isolate and deal with rather then bringing the plant inside and having it spread throughout the rest. Hopefully your plants will move through these transitions with ease and by the time you need to bring your plants it, your plants will have thrived from their outdoor experience!