Can I Put My Houseplants Outside Now?

Can I move my houseplants outside now that spring is here?

Hi Stan,

Houseplants love to go outside in April once the weather warms up. Spring and summer is when they hit their yearly growth spurt and bursting into bloom. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be amazed at how much your plants can grow in just a few months. succulentLearn how to grow and care for succulent plants at Jade and Hoya plants, hanging ferns, begonias, and even ficus and rubber tree plants can be beautiful additions to your patio and lawn areas if you follow these simple guide lines.

Wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees and there is no danger of frost. Move houseplants to your porch or patio gradually; you don’t want to shock them with a sudden change in their environment. Start by setting your plants outdoors for a few hours each day and then bringing them back inside for the night. Increase the time each day until by the end of the week, plants are well settled into their new location.

Red, yellow, oranges begonias

Begonia Plants

Do not place houseplants in the direct sun. There are very few indoor plants that can handle direct sun without having their leaves get ugly burn marks. Plants that really belong outdoors but that have been sheltered inside for the cold winter months, such as geraniums, kalanchoes, hibiscus, or jasmine are an exception and can gradually go into direct sun.

Once your plants have acclimated and started to produce new leaves, it’s time to fertilize. Always keep in mind, too much fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. is worse than not enough. Excess plant food that’s not absorbed, remains in the soil, burns the roots, and causes brown leaf tips. Making sure the soil is moist when you do feed your plants is another way to help prevent brown leaf tips.

Now that your plants are outside in warm temperatures and getting plenty of bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., you’ll need to increase the amount of water you give them. Most houseplants can survive being under-watered, but quickly die from root-rot when over–watered, so don’t drown them.

Being outside introduces indoor plants to a whole new group of insects. Keep an eye out for signs that these unwanted visitors may be munching on the leaves and flowers. I often spray my plants with Hot Pepper Wax just as a preventative.

Finally, be sure to bring your houseplants back inside before nighttime temperatures get below 50 degrees. In only takes a few minutes for all the beautiful new growth to be damaged by cold air.