Bringing House Plants Outside

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Bringing Indoor Plants Outside For The Summer In Canada
Bringing Indoor Plants Outside For The Summer In Canada

Bringing House Plants Outside

As Canadian house plant people we know the struggles of achieving the jungle like appearance. Especially in a climate with 9 months of winter. Bringing houseplants outside for the summer can help give your indoor plants a much needed boost of growth. This Gardening In Canada article looks at exactly how to go about bringing house plants outside.

If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley & I am a soil scientist with a YouTube channel. On the Gardening In Canada website I aim to bring you science based information. This Science can be use for plant care both indoors and outside in the garden. If you are a plant person located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, The Maritimes and anywhere in between you are in the right place. 

How To Select Which House Plants Should Go Outside?

Step 1 of bringing your houseplants outside for the summer is choosing which plants should be placed Outdoors. When selecting what house plants to bring outside you want to take a few things into consideration. One of those things is how valuable or how easily replaceable is the plant.

I don’t say this because bringing houseplants outdoors is a surefire way to kill them. But rather I mention this because we cannot control Mother Nature. This means you can expect a gust of wind, hail, high heat, pests & even critters causing the plant damage.  This is why you should keep any valuable, meaningful or hard to replace plants indoors regardless of the season.

Bringing Dieffenbachia Outdoors For The Summer

Not all plants will to fall into the first category. So next you have to take into consideration the leaf type. Any leaves that are thin or malleable are not ideal candidates to be placed outdoors. An example of this is dieffenbachia. This is because I find pests will generally find a home in these plants.  Another thing to consider is how many crevices or nooks and crannies are located on the plant’s leaves and stems.

Bringing Rosary Plants, String of Pearls, Dolphins, Bananas etc. Outdoors For The Summer

I mention this because when the season is done you will need to physically clean off your house plants. This is a preventative measure to make sure you do not bring pests indoors. However, if the plant has a difficult stem or leaves to clean it’s going to be much more tedious. A great example of this would be something such as the rosary plant. The small leaves and the delicate vine make it difficult to properly clean off. 

The last type of plant I find less-than-ideal to put outdoors during the summer months the palm family. Due to the stock or main stem of the plant being a layering of leaves. Each layer of leaves can harbor pests. It’s very difficult to clean between these leaf layers on the stock. This means you almost always you will end up with mealybugs.

The Best House Plants To Bring Outside For The Summer

The best plants to place outdoors in my experience are monsters, philodendron, syngoniums, tetrasperma, snake plants, cacti and succulents. All these plants are relatively easy to clean up before bringing back indoors,. And respond well to a pesticide application right at the beginning of fall.  Check out the video below for a how to on bringing house plants outside.

How To Harden Off Houseplants Before Bringing Them Outdoors.

Once you select which houseplants are bringing outdoors for the summer you can begin the hardening off process. Take this nice and slow because the plants are used to end or lighting and conditions. If you simply throw your plants directly into elements you will end up with transplant shock regardless of you transplanting them or not.

Signs You Didn’t Harden Off Your Plants Long Enough

A common sign that you have hardened off your plants too quickly would be yellowing leaves, droopy stems and leaves, brown patchiness or worse case a die off. If this happens to you I suggest bringing them back indoors until you see a rebound. Meaning the wilting has stopped or your new growth.  If you’ve been able to get your house plant to rebound then you can restart the hardening process. Remembering bringing house plants outside should be a slow steady process.

Hardening Off Indoor Plants Going Outside Step-By-Step

The hardening off process for a houseplant going outside for the summer should take approximately two weeks. The best way to do this is waiting till the temperatures Outdoors are above 10 degrees at night. We wait till the 10 degrees at night because anything below this temperature can cause stunted growth.

The first stage of the Hardening off process would be to bring your plants outdoors in a shaded and sheltered area. By sheltered I mean no exposure to wind or sun. You will want to leave the plant in this area for approximately 5 days. If you notice the plant is showing slight signs of shock consider leaving the houseplant in that position until it perks up.

After the initial 5-day waiting period you can now move the plant into a shaded unsheltered area. Leaving the plant in shade you are beginning to strengthen the plant by moving it into an area that may be exposed to more wind.  You’ll want to leave the plant in this position for approximately another five days. Again if you’re noticing a wilting of the house plant leave it in that position until it bounces back. 

Once you’re done with the hardening off period you will move them into their permanent home. 

Selecting A Spot Outside For Your House Plants

When it comes to selecting the spot for a house plant outside you need to take into consideration the lighting needs.  Most houseplants will do best in a partial shade area that means you will want to place a plant in an area that it will not be exposed to full sun.  This area can simply be under the eaves of a home or at the base of a tree. One of my favourite places to put a house plant that needs shade is under a gazebo seating area. This will give the gazebo seating area a tropical vibe.

Plants that do best in full sun would include things such as cacti, snake plants and succulents. you will notice a lot of new growth on your plants that are placed in full sun. For example it is not abnormal for a snake plant placed in full sun to double in size over the summer season. The important part is that it is hardened off properly to avoid any burning that can occur.

If you have a vining plant such as a philodendron, monstera,  syngonium or tetrasperma you will want to ensure the plant is properly staked.  The staking of a vine plant outdoors is important because it will prevent breakage that can be caused by the wind. Another thing I noticed with vining house plants placed outdoors is that the wind can tangle the vines resulting in malformation of the new growth.

Bringing House Plants Outside Care Guide

If you’re choosing to bring your houseplant outside for the summer the care is quite a bit different than what you would have indoors. For example your watering habits will need to change an order to keep up with the new demand the plant will have. Because of the increased amount of sunlight, combined with the increase of air movement, your water needs will increase.

 This means in many cases you will need to set the cover pot aside for the summer months. My goal with my indoor plants being outside is to water them daily. So long as the plant is in a well-drained soil and its place in the proper living conditions root rot is of little concern. At the beginning of the season when the sun is not as intense you may want to consider watering once a week. However during the middle of the summer it is not abnormal if you had to water once-daily.

During this time of increased growth you will also want to consider  using good quality all-purpose fertilizer. You’ll want to use this at full-strength as directed on the package once weekly. Have a designated day of the week that you fertilize your house plans to keep you on a schedule. For example, I fertilize my houseplants that have been played outside for the summer on Saturdays. 

Words Of Warning When Putting Houseplants Outside.

When placing your house plant outdoors for the summer there are a few warning labels that should be attached. The first one being the fact that we cannot control Mother Nature. I mentioned this above but I cannot stress this enough do not place valuable plants outdoors. Bringing house plants outside does have its risks.

The second factor to consider when determining whether or not you want to place your house plants outside is bugs. The majority of pests you find on our indoor plants are harboured within the soil. When our plants are Outdoors we have lots of Predator bugs that are eating the chess from the leaves and the soil systems.

However when we bring her house plants indoors we no longer have the beneficial predatory bugs to help keep the pests at Bay. This means we do have to take caution when bringing our outdoor plants inside. There are many  precautions that can be applied when transitioning a plant from outside to inside. but you still will want to quarantine the outdoor plants for approximately one to two months. 

How To Bring Houseplants Back Inside For The Winter.

When you’re choosing to bring your house  plants back indoors for the winter you will want to ensure the pest doesn’t come with it. Stop 1 for bringing your plants back indoors is to bring them back in once your night time temperatures start dipping below 10 degrees Celsius. This will help you avoid any stunted growth or sudden blooming which will not work to your benefit. 

Before you bring your plants indoors, be sure to give them a thorough water and be sure to blast the leaves.  For example with a plant that has thicker leaves as a monstera you can place the hose on a jet setting. while blasting the leaves with water be sure to get into all the tiny crevices. Particularly located around the area where the leaf meets the petiole or a new leaf has emerged from the stem. 

Removing Pests From House Plants – Water Blasting

After you’re done blasting the plant down with water you will want to take a clean Rag and wipe down each leaf both top and bottom. The goal of the water blasting combined with the red white down is to remove any eggs, spider webs and ultimately pests.  Whiskey white down process you may choose to add a pesticide such as neem oil to the rag. This is just an extra assurance to ensure the pests aren’t transferred into the home.

Removing Pests From House Plants – Treat The Soil

After you’re done treating the upper biomass we have to move into treating the soil. Remember how I mentioned a majority of houseplant pests are located in the soil. Because the soil and plants for outdoors for the entire summer season it is likely there are eggs located in the potting soil. The best way to treat this is with biological pesticides.

I’ve written an entire article on biological pesticides and how to apply them. One of my favourite versions of this would be the nematodes and predatory mites. These two in combination will take care of a wide range of well-known indoor plant pests.

The last stage of bringing your  indoor plants back inside for the winter is to quarantine them. Despite the fact that we have treated both the upper bottom ask and the lower biomass we still don’t know the risk.  Simply place them in a room by themselves for approximately one month, the same as you would with any new plant.

There you have it, this is the complete guide to bringing house plants outside in Canada. The benefits of bringing your houseplants outside for the summer is huge. Like I mentioned it is normal to see a doubling in overall growth of the plant. If the goal is to have explosive growth and a jungle type vibe in your home then the work is definitely worth the payoff. One of my favourite plants to bring outdoors it’s actually the snake plant. This is because I see the most rapid growth in my snake plant during the summer months when they are placed in full sun. Leave a comment down below on your tips for bringing house plants outside.