When To Put Houseplants Outside

Your plants enjoy the warm temperatures and sunny days of summer just as much as you do! The Grow-HowTM Team provides all the information you need in regards to bringing your indoor plants outside throughout the summer.

Can all plants go outside?

Yes, during the hot summer months, all of our interior foliage plants can be moved outside. After all, there is where plants originated! They will adore breathing in the crisp outdoor air. When putting your plants outside, one of the most important things to consider is the strength of the outdoor sunshine.

Many typical houseplants thrive in bright, indirect light that is filtered by the canopy of taller trees above as they do in their natural habitat along the forest floor. You should avoid placing your plant in regions that receive direct sunlight if the plant you have indoors prefers indirect light. Additionally, it’s crucial to get your plant used to being outdoors.

How do I acclimate a plant to the outdoors?

The process of progressively acclimating your plant to a new environment, such as a change in temperature or light intensity, is known as acclimation. In order to avoid undue stress that can hinder growth or harm the plant, proper acclimation enables your plant to gradually adapt to its new environment.

Start acclimating your plant by putting it in a shaded place outside for an hour or two on the first day, and then gradually increase the amount of time it spends outside over the following seven to ten days. Most plants can tolerate direct sunlight during the morning hours since it is significantly less intense. About five days after you begin the acclimatization process, if your plant will receive morning sun, start putting it in the sun for brief periods of time each morning. It is better if plants with a preference for indirect light are protected from the sun by around 10 a.m.

Even plants that can tolerate direct sunshine, like a Bird of Paradise, Sansevieria, Ponytail Palm, and most cacti, need to be introduced gradually over the course of at least 10 days. This will prevent them from experiencing burnt leaves while they adjust to the strength of the full outdoor sun.

When do I know it’s safe to bring my plant outside?

When the outside temperature remains consistently above 50F, you can bring your plants outside without risk. Pay close attention to the forecast. Bring your plants inside for the night if the temperature is forecast to drop below 50F. When it becomes warmer, put them back outside.

They’ll probably be fine if you forget and expose them to lower temperatures for a brief time. Their growth may be temporarily stunted by temperatures below 50F, and leaf damage may result from temps as low as 35F. Most indoor plants will lose all of their leaves in freezing conditions, but if the exposure was only brief, the roots will usually survive.

What time may I begin moving my indoor plants outside?

It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s warm enough at night for most plants to survive—especially houseplants—just because your neighborhood nurseries are starting to sell summer annuals. To be safe, don’t even think about putting indoor plants outside until one month following the last frost.

Some advice claims that once the evening temperature is constantly above 55 degrees F, your plants will be fine. I advise waiting until the temperature is constantly over 60 degrees, and I personally wait to put my plants outside until the evening temperature reaches 65 at least once. Although I’m a little more of a protective plant parent, make sure the afternoon temperatures are at least 55 degrees to assure success.

Can indoor plants be placed outside?

Moving your indoor plants outside in the summer will enhance their health and attractiveness.

The majority of indoor plants survive in outdoor environments, however it’s preferable to keep delicate tropical plants indoors, including moth orchids and African violets. Rain will remove collected dust, and brighter light encourages healthy development.

Your plants will suffer if you take them outside all at once, even though they are already used to shade and warm weather, so acclimate them first.

What degree of cold is too much for houseplants?

Planting too early might result in a crisis if a cold snap is impending, whether it was because you were seduced by some striking hue at the garden center or simply wanted to start the gardening season early. It’s not difficult to help your seedlings survive the great frost, but it does take some planning.

When temperatures drop, you can usually rely on improvised protection for plants. The necessary tools must be prepared in advance to protect plants from frigid mornings for larger plantings, such as a food garden.

Knowing when prized vegetation starts to turn frost-burned brown will help you know what to do when freeze warnings are in effect. As a general rule, plants typically freeze when the temperature stays at 28°F for five hours.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. When temps drop to 32–33F, seedlings often die because of their delicate new leaves. There are many low-temperature thresholds for tropical plants. Some collapse at temperatures below 40°F, while others break down at 35°F. Other plants are naturally resistant and can endure temperatures as low as 18 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Do a search in gardening books and internet resources to discover the threshold for your plants.

Take it up

Moving plants away from potential danger is the simplest cold-protection strategy. Potted plants and seedlings in flats both benefit from this. Moving plants onto a porch with a roof, into a garage or shed, or under a deck frequently provides sufficient shelter.

Rely on Water

Just before sunset, water the soil to raise the temperature of the surrounding air overnight as the water evaporates. Water-filled buckets or gallon jugs should be left in the sun all day. Move them close to threatened plants at night. Air temperatures will be moderated by the water, and if it freezes, heat will be released. To boost midday heating, paint a few water-holding containers black for best results.

the air flowing

The biggest harm is done to plants by cold, motionless air. To prevent frost from accumulating on plants, you can use an electric fan all night to create a breeze. Never forget to keep electrical connections dry.

Plants Should Be CoveredPlants should be covered with sheets, towels, blankets, cardboard, or a tarp to protect them from everything but the harshest freezing (28F for five hours). Inverting baskets, coolers, or any other container with a firm bottom over plants is also an option. Before it gets dark, cover plants to keep warm air in. Coverings shouldn’t ideally contact the foliage. If windy conditions are anticipated, anchor cloth coverings.

When the temperature rises and the frost has melted in the morning, remove coverings. Under dense covers, heat from the sun can accumulate and cause plant death.

Blankets that collapse

Row covers, or gardening blankets, should always be accessible. These covers are created in various thicknesses from plastic or synthetic fibers. Lay row covers directly on the plants, or suspend them over a bed with pegs to form a tunnel.

Activate lights

An incandescent light bulb produces enough heat to raise the temperature of the air around it just enough to keep a plant from freezing. For this method to operate, bulbs must be close to plants (within a distance of 2-3 feet). (Fluorescent bulbs can’t produce enough heat to complete this task.)

Defend specific plants

Set up hot caps

At planting time, stiff plastic containers with venting holes are placed over the individual seedlings. Hot caps function similarly to cloches (small greenhouses), but the daily task of applying and removing the covering is eliminated by venting holes. Use plastic two-liter bottles or gallon jugs with the bottoms cut off and the lids removed to simulate a hot cap (but saved). In the evenings when the weather turns chilly, replace the lids.

A Wall O’Water tepee, which encircles individual plants with a sleeve of water-filled tubes, is a variation on the hot cap concept. During the day, the water absorbs the heat of the sun. The water gently freezes at night, releasing the sun’s stored radiant heat and preventing the air within the tepee from becoming frosty.

How much cold can indoor plants withstand?

The easiest time of year to kill a houseplant is definitely during the winter. Houseplants are put to the test by harsh growing conditions like low light levels, dry air, shorter days, and frigid temperatures.

Making care routine adjustments to accommodate seasonal growing circumstances is the key to ensuring that plants survive the winter. Review the fundamentals to provide your indoor plants with the best care during winter.

Winter causes the sun to set later in the day, which results in a 50% reduction in light levels near windows. During the winter, indoor plants that thrive near a sunny eastern or northern window during the summer may require a southern or western exposure. Similarly, plants near windows in the west or south that require filtered light in the summer might be able to endure direct sunlight in the winter.

To aid plants in adjusting to shifting light conditions:

  • If it’s possible, move plants nearer to the windows.
  • Window cleaning will maximize light transmission.
  • For the winter, move plants to new areas next to windows with more light.
  • Cleanse plants to allow leaves to utilize the light that is available to the fullest.
  • Add synthetic lighting. Fluorescent lights are sufficient. They generate less heat and are less expensive than conventional grow lights. For best results, place bulbs 4–12 inches away from plants.

Tropical plants, which make up the majority of indoor plants, like daytime temperatures of 65 to 75 F and nighttime temperatures of around 10 F lower. Low temperatures (below 50F) can be problematic for many plants.

In order to make the thermostats more comfortable for you, keep in mind that your plants also require some thought.

  • Keep plants away from heat sources and cold gusts.
  • Maintain a few inches of space between plants and external windows.
  • Plants should be moved away from windows at nightfall in cold climates if windows freeze over at night. Additionally, you may tuck a thick shade or another insulating item between the plants and the glass.

In the cold, homes might only provide 5–10% relative humidity. Houseplants prefer 40–50%. Brown leaf tips and the presence of pests like Spider Mites are indicators that plants are being stressed by low humidity. Learn how to increase the humidity around plants in simple methods.

Overwatering is the most frequent issue that indoor plants encounter throughout the winter. 95% of indoor plants require the soil to almost totally dry out before watering. How do you determine whether plants need water?

  • Don’t only test a small area of the soil’s surface. When the root zone is dry, plants require moisture. Insert your finger up to two inches into the ground. Water the soil if it’s dry.
  • Pick up the pot. When soil gets dry, it becomes lighter. Lift pots right away after watering to feel the texture of the moist soil.
  • Plants won’t need water as frequently if winterized rooms are humidified. Water must be added to dry air.
  • The only exceptions to this rule are citrus and ferns in pots, both of which require continually moist soil. If you are uncertain, always do your research.

Never let plants sit in water that gathers in the drainage saucer overnight when you water.

Fertilize plants all winter long in mild climates. Winter fertilization of indoor plants is not recommended in the coldest climates with little natural light. When springtime outside plants begin to grow, fertilizer can be resumed.

In the spring and summer, when most indoor plants are actively growing, is the ideal time to repot them. Potted woody plants that entirely hibernate in the winter are the exception. Transplant those in the early spring before the buds break.

  • Numerous advantages of houseplants include bettering indoor air quality and lowering sickness rates.

Ponytail Palms (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Ponytail palms can be cultivated outdoors in either oblique or direct sunlight, and they prefer for their soil to become completely dry in between waterings. This plant should be moved outside gradually because being exposed to direct heat from indoors will shock it. This plant will adore soaking up the summer sun once it is outside. Purchase a Ponytail Palm HERE.

At 40 degrees outside, are plants healthy?

When nighttime temperatures fall to 45 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, experts advise bringing your plants inside. However, it could be wiser to take action much earlier, when the temperature inside and outside is roughly equal.

Should I place my indoor plants in the sun outside?

One of the most important elements causing plant shock is light. In actuality, outdoor sunshine is much more intense than indoor sunlight. Even while most houseplants need enough light, they can be difficult to transition from one extreme to another without the right preparation.

You shouldn’t put any indoor plants in direct sunlight outside in order to ensure a successful transfer and minimal plant stress. Instead, find a spot that is nicely covered, such as your patio or a tree, and let your plants enjoy some fresh air there for a few hours every day. Then gradually relocate them to a location with some sunlight, increase the amount of time they spend outside, and eventually leave them outside all day. The houseplants should be fully accustomed to their outside surroundings after a few weeks and can stay there all summer.

Is 37 degrees too cold outside for plants?

Eek!! The forecast calls for evening lows at or below freezing with frost! What shall I do?

The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to help protect your plants against cold conditions. Remember that a frost is different from a freeze. Additionally, following a frost in the fall, some crops, such as beets, parsnips, and carrots, only get sweeter to taste.

Know Your Frost Dates

Priorities first! Always keep in mind the first and latest frost dates that often occur in your area.

The first day of the year that a frost occurs is regarded as the first frost date as the fall weather begins to cool. The first freeze date of the year will come as the weather cools further, typically a week or two later (this is what kills most annual plants). The first freeze day and first frost date in Missoula are both in the middle of October.

The average last frost date is the first day of the year we may anticipate a frost when the weather starts to warm up in the spring. The last frost date in Missoula is May 18.

These dates are typically correct but by no means exact because they are based on historical meteorological data that was gathered over a 30 year span. Be diligent, keep an eye on the forecast, or set up a weather app alert to be notified when the nightly lows change. Use the four techniques listed below to temporarily safeguard your plants when temperatures are predicted to drop to near or below freezing.

Assess: How Bad Is It?

Plants are harmed by temperatures at or below freezing for longer periods of time than just a single day. Similar to how lower temperatures are tougher on plants than those at or near freezing, really cold temperatures that linger for several hours are significantly harder on plants than those that are at or near freezing for only an hour or less. When assessing the seriousness of the weather report, bear this in mind along with a few of the crucial definitions listed below.

When the temperature is forecast to drop to between 36 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a frost advisory is issued.

When there is at least an 80% likelihood that the temperature will drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, a freeze warning is issued.

The majority of plants are severely harmed by a severe or harsh freeze, 25 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.