Tips & Tricks for moving indoor plants outside for the season!
The time has come! The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the plants are thriving! Summer is here and houseplants throughout the Chicagoland area (& beyond) are bursting with new growth. The only thing they would love more than the sun beaming through the windows, is being outside in the warm, humid air.
Moving houseplants outside after a long, dormant winter is a slower process than most think. Simply putting your plants directly outside, in the scorching sun, will only cause harm to them. There are few things to consider before moving your beloved plants outside for the summer months.
When can I bring my plants outside?
It’s safe to move your plants outdoors when the temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Watch the weather reports to match sure temperatures aren’t dropping too low at night. If temperatures drop below 50, it’s okay to bring them in for the night.
A couple nights of temperatures below 50, shouldn’t harm your plants too much and they should be okay in the long run, but keep an eye out for any drastic changes in weather before bringing them outside.
Just like all plants have different needs when it comes to watering, light, and humidity, the same thing goes to temperature. Some plants, like Palms for example, can tolerate temperatures as low as 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Whereas Dracaena cannot tolerate anything below 60 degrees. Research the type of plant you are looking to put outside and be sure the temperature is not too low for them.
Hardening off Plants
In the winter time, the sun is further away from the earth and most of the time in Chicago, it isn’t even out. Most plants adjust to the winter by going dormant and taking a rest from growing. As the sun starts to get closer to us and shines more, our plants can feel that through photosynthesis.
What does the term ‘hardening off’ mean? It is a process that helps slowly transition your plants to new environments. It is very important to avoid the plant becoming stressed. If your indoor plants are put outside into immediate, direct sunlight, they will most likely burn. To avoid sunburn, we want to slowly harden off our plants to brighter light exposure. Moving your plants outdoors but in shade when first transitioning them, will help them. Leave them in a shaded area for about a week or so before bringing them into direct sunlight. A partial shaded area will work, too.
Be sure to know if your plants even want direct sunlight. Most houseplants can do without. If your plant seems to be burning even after you have acclimated them, move them into a shadier spot.
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to watering your outdoor plants.
- Temperature, sun exposure, and wind–Higher temperatures, more sun exposure, and wind speeds will cause your plants to dry out quicker. Lower temperatures, shadier spots, and slow wind speeds will cause plants to stay moist longer.
- Humidity–For those who live in Chicago, humidity levels are very high in the winter time. The higher the humidity, the less your plants will need watering. In places that have a more dry environment, plants will dry out fast requiring more frequent waterings.
With keeping these factors in mind, remember that you and your plants are both going through a routine change up. Keep a close eye on them for the first few weeks out there to make sure they are adjusting well.
Fertilize regularly! Rain can drain out the nutrients in the soil so fertilizing outdoor plants is extra important.
Be sure to check for pests. Although the natural predators outside mostly keep them away, there’s still a chance your plants can develop pests.
Don’t use saucers! Let water flow freeing so they drain properly.