Do you have a covered porch or patio that is shaded but exposed to bright light? To many of your houseplants, that could be what an island getaway is to us. 

After a long dark season cooped up indoors, we ache for a breath of fresh air and brighter locales. Our plants are no different. 

Depending on where the plant calls home inside will direct it's integration into the outdoor world. Plants requiring bright indoor light will adjust easier and more rapidly than those with less light needs. Also, if you prefer chilly temps inside your home this time of year, your plants will need to get acclimated to their warmer vacation temperatures. Initially putting them out in the evening and leaving them through the following morning hours will help ease their temperature shock. You may notice some wilting and leaf drop when first moving them outside. 

Be sure to keep a close eye on soil dampness as they will most likely need additional watering. Be careful, ho~ver not to overwater as that can translate into root rot quickly. The old "stick your finger down one inch and see if it's damp" is a good test. If it comes out dry, it's time for a little water. Some folks like to set their plants out where they can catch moisture if a gentle rain is in the forecast. Free water is always welcome, but do take care to return them to the shade once the sun comes out, especially if leaves are wet. They are tender and quite easily scorched. 

Most houseplants enjoy a time outdoors on the porch or covered patio or under a shaded pergola. I've even hung basket from low-hanging strong tree branches. Nearly any plant can adapt. Over the years I've set out or hung philodendrons, pothos, Christmas and Easter cactus, mother-in-law tongue, aloe and succulents, ficus and even African violets. Moving them outside allows for rearranging inside spaces for a few months. 

Once cooler temps return in the Fall, you will need to perform a few "health checks" on your plants before their return trip inside. Give the whole plant a close look, removing any dying leaves. If insects are found, usually a good spray of water will blast them away. Giving plants a bath in that manner is a good idea anyway prior to bringing them inside and easier than placing them in the shower. Check growth of the plants and repot if needed which is also easier done while outside. Once back in the house, expect to see some early leaf drop while they reacclimate to cooler temps and lower light. Cut back or stop fertilization heading into the cooler months being careful not to overwater. 

Enjoy having your plants inside again and smile knowing they've had a good summer just like you. 

Happy Gardening


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