Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Houseplants Love Patios: Moving Your Indoor Plants Outside For The Summer


After being inside all winter, there's nothing like sitting outside on a warm day. Even houseplants enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and change of scenery but you'll need to take a few steps to insure a smooth transition. Timm Hahn, CLT and interiorscape specialist at David J. Frank offers the following advice for moving indoor plants outside for the summer ...
"Houseplants can be a great addition to a deck or patio, and most appreciate their time in a more natural setting. However, if you take a plant from an indoor environment and expose it to outside elements too quickly, the plant can very easily become stressed and go through varying degrees of shock ... or worse. Rather than rushing your houseplants into the great outdoors, help them adjust to their new environment. A gradual acclimation to outdoor conditions is the best way to lessen the stress and give plants a welcome summer vacation.

Light is one of the biggest factors contributing to plant shock. In fact, the intensity of outdoor sunlight is far greater than that found in the home, even in the sunniest of rooms. Although most houseplants are used to some natural light, it's difficult for them to go from one extreme to another. In order to make this relocation more successful, with the least amount of plant stress, you should not place any houseplant outdoors in direct sunlight. Instead, choose a nicely shaded area on your patio or under a tree, and allow your plants to take in the fresh air for a few hours each day. Then gradually move them to an area with a little sunshine and slowly increase their outdoor time and exposure a bit each day. After a couple of weeks, your houseplants should be well adapted to their outdoor setting and comfortable for the remainder of the season.

Once your houseplants have been fully acclimated to the outdoors, there are still a few considerations to bear in mind. First, houseplants will need more water and nutrients during the warmer months, so you'll have to increase their watering and feeding intervals. However, be careful not to over do it. Too much water or food can be just as bad for houseplants as too little. Secondly, they might be pestered by any number of pests. Inside, there are far fewer opportunities for insects to bother your plants, but be familiar with and prepared to take action against common insects if you move them outdoors.

The last and often greatest factor to consider when moving plants to a patio or deck is the wide range of summer weather conditions. Wind can be a huge stressor for houseplants as they are not accustomed to strong or sustained motion. Wind can also dry plants out, toss them about or knock them over at times. To prevent problems associated with wind, place houseplants in a well-protected area, such as near a wall. Rain is another potential hazzard: a light drizzle can provide a welcome drink, but downpours can have devastating effects on houseplants, beating their leaves, washing soil out of their containers and drowning their roots. Finally, remember that outside temperatures can vary greatly and change quickly, so be mindful of the forecast. Most houseplants originate from tropical-like regions so they will need to be brought in on cool nights or whenever the thermometer threatens to dip below 55 degrees.

Just like us, houseplants appreciate the fresh, warm air of spring after a long dreary winter. If you take the time to make their move outdoors a gradual one and protect them from extreme elements, they will thank you with healthy, vigorous growth and more beautiful blooms throughout the year."