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Moving Your Indoor Plants Outside for Summer – 6 Key Tips

aloe vera plant in a white pot indoor

Moving your indoor plants outside in summer will allow them to take delight in reaping the benefits of nature, such as light rainfall, the sun’s warm rays, fresh air, and beneficial pollinators. Furthermore, if you have been nursing seedlings indoors over winter and want to add them to your garden bed, they will need some time to adjust.

If your plants are suddenly moved from the indoor environment to the elements of the outdoors, they may quickly become stressed. To help you make the transition, we’ve put together a list of tips for moving your plants outside for summer.

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Acclimate your Plant

Your plants must be gradually acclimated, introducing them to a new environment where the light, temperatures, and elements change. This process allows your plants to transition without causing stress that can cause harm and affect their growth.

You will start by placing your plant in the shade for about an hour or two on the first day and slowly increasing the time over the following week. Plants are more tolerant of direct sunlight in the morning because the rays are less intense. If you are moving them to an area where they receive morning sun, begin exposing them to these conditions about 5 days after you have started the process of acclimation. When your plants require less indirect sunlight, ensure they are shaded by around 10 am.

Most plants will require at least 10 days of gradual acclimation.

divider 4 The 6 Key Tips for Moving Indoor Plants Outside

1. Wait for Temperatures to Warm-up

Plant in a pot indoor
Image By: yanochkandreeva, Pixabay

Most houseplants are native to warm tropical climates and tolerate low light conditions. To avoid potentially damaging your plants from the cold, wait for the temperature outside to reach above 65˚F. Although most plants can tolerate temperatures below 60˚F, stay patient and wait until it’s warmer because night-time temperatures can drop significantly.

Temperatures below 50˚F can stunt your plant’s growth, and below 35˚F can damage the leaves. Freezing temperatures can damage your plants, but the roots should survive if it is only for a short period.

2. Don’t Forget About the Wind

Boxwood plants with a green leaf
Image Credit: Eliz A, Shutterstock

Wind can be quite a challenge for plants that have been indoors and can blow them over, break the stems, dry them out, and even chill them if the weather is cooler. Gauge the wind and where it blows hardest in your garden. Choose areas where your plants are sheltered, or only move established plants that you know won’t get knocked over.

3. Avoid Direct, Harsh Sun

basil plant on a sunny spot indoor
Image Credit: khushboo21, Pixabay

The sun’s heat can be harsh and can end up being a challenge for your indoor plants because it can be twice as intense outdoors. Placing them directly in the sun could burn them. Put the plants in a shady location, especially when you first start moving them, and even if your plants are hard to direct sun, they still need to adjust. Keep checking on them, and make sure they are getting enough water.

4. Use Pots with Drainage Holes

indoor garlic plant
Image Credit: Serenethos, Shutterstock

Your pots must have drainage holes; if water is unable to drain, water from the rain can accumulate and lead to root rot. If it hasn’t rained for a few days, check your plant’s soil to determine if it’s dry, as it will dry out faster outdoors, and water it accordingly. If it rains and your plants are planted in pots with good drainage, you won’t need to water them.

5. Check Your Plants for Pests Weekly

Corn plant infested by pests_RachenStocker_Shutterstock
Image Credit: RachenStocker, Shutterstock

It is normal to notice a few bite chunks missing from your plant leaves once you move them outdoors, but it’s essential to check them every week for pests that are making your plant their new home, as you don’t want them to move back inside with your plants when summer is over.

If the pests are causing damage to your plant, try using organic pesticides or helpful companion plants that may deter pests. Remove and trim the affected leaves often and ensure they are free from insects when moving your plants indoors.

6. Expect Some Leaf Loss in the Fall

Yellowing leaves causeur of root rot
Image Credit: Amverlly, Shutterstock

When it’s time to bring your plants back indoors, don’t be alarmed if they begin to lose some leaves. This is normal because, being indoors again, they will absorb less light, which means less food.

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Benefits of Moving Your Plants Outdoors

As you know, light is food for plants, and even the darkest shade is still brighter than the light that makes it through the window. Moving plants outside in summer will activate dormant lateral buds, so if you have a plant that looks a bit bare, it will grow fuller, especially with light pruning.

The color of your plants will be more vibrant, and the leaves will be larger. You will likely notice more flowers, and sometimes, plants like cacti will even produce some blooms.

Will You Need to Water Your Plants More Outside?

Because the wind, higher temperatures, and changing light levels will cause your plants to use more water, they need to be watered more often. Rainfall is also another factor. Naturally, if your plants have received water from rainfall, they won’t require frequent watering. It is also vital that they do not receive too much rainwater, which could cause over-watering and root rot.

Always check your plant’s soil to determine if they need to be watered, and when it has rained, empty the saucer from the pots and check that the soil is not waterlogged.

If you live in a dry climate, misting your plants can help cool them down.

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Moving your indoor plants outside for the summer is a great way to encourage growth and blooming, but it is essential to gradually acclimate your plants before settling on a new spot. Ensure your plants are protected from wind, pests, and direct sunlight.

If your outdoor conditions are not ideal, especially for smaller, less established plants, you can keep them inside but move them to an area where they receive abundant light. While your plants are living outdoors for the summer, take the opportunity to enjoy the space inside and perhaps replace them with cut flowers from the garden.

Featured Image Credit: Devanath, Pixabay


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