If you’re a nature and garden enthusiast, you might have a few indoor plants in your home to stay as close to nature as you possibly can. But if space becomes a concern or you’ve decided it might be best to move your indoor plants outside, you might be wondering if indoor plants will survive the outside world.
Houseplants will survive outside in the right conditions and if gradually acclimatized to the temperature outdoors. Houseplants are known to thrive in outdoor conditions and will enjoy the fresh air, warm temperatures, and sunlight from the protected position you place them in.
Having indoor plants adds a nice touch to your interior décor and the ambiance of your home. It also promotes growth and healthy living through caring for something that needs your help to live. So, when it’s time to move your beloved indoor plants outside there is a right way of doing so. Keep reading below to find out how you can help your indoor plants flourish outdoors.
How can Houseplants Survive Outside?
All plants are naturally cultivated and grown from the soil on our earth. When plants are kept indoors, although they will live in the right conditions, their roots will always be tied to the earth. Therefore, houseplants will survive if you put them outside. They just need a little help to endure.
As spring to autumn are the growing seasons for most plants, this would be the best time to put your houseplants outside if you want them to survive. Winter would not be an ideal time to move your house plants outside as the cold elements of nature can kill your plants.
Here are a few factors you need to keep in mind when deciding to acclimatize your house plants to the outdoors:
Thawing out after winter
Winter is not a time for plants, indoor or outdoor, to thrive, and your indoor plant won’t survive outside if the weather is still too cold to promote growth and if the soil is still thawing out after a long and harsh winter.
Although it may look on the surface as though your garden has thawed and is ready to accept new plants, the soil underneath can still be frozen, and while the soil is frozen your plants can die from the shock of the cold, or from root rot where the plant stems absorb too much water when the soil melts.
It is recommended that you wait a few weeks into spring before taking your indoor plants outside.
Optimal growing conditions
For your plants to flourish they need optimal growing conditions. Rain, for example, might be too much water for the houseplants you hardly ever water inside. If you live in an area that gets lots of rain you might want to consider potting your plant under a covered area rather than planting it in the garden.
Plants also need nutrients, and they get this from the soil. We recommend testing the soil before planting anything there to make sure it’s a good place for growth. Depending on the indoor plant you’re moving outside, there might not be enough nutrients in the garden soil.
Your plants will need light, but not too much light because you don’t want to burn or overheat them. Consider a shaded area of the garden or come up with a DIY project to provide just the right amount of sunlight.
Keep an eye on the weather news and move your plant inside any time the weatherperson says there’s a frost, a storm, or a heatwave coming.
When plants become acclimatized to the cool indoor temperate of your home, it can be hard for them to adjust to extreme temperatures even if they’ve been outside for a couple of months.
Indoor plants don’t need to be watered all that often because the temperature of the indoor world doesn’t exhaust them or make them work too hard to survive. This means they aren’t often thirsty and can live on being watered every 1 to three weeks, depending on the plant and your indoor climate.
When indoor plants are taken outside, they may need to be watered more often because of evaporation, air movement, brighter lights, and faster growth. Be careful not to overwater them or they may succumb to root rot.
How to Acclimatize your Houseplants to the Outdoors
When thinking of moving your houseplants outside, for whatever reason, you should do so gradually. For your houseplants to survive outside you need to acclimatize them to the outdoor environment you live in.
Transferring your house plants outside too fast can shock them and the stress can kill them. This is obviously something we want to avoid.
Taking into consideration the abovementioned factors to keep in mind when transitioning your plants from inside your home to your garden, here is how to slowly acclimatize your plants:
Start by moving your houseplants to a covered area like a porch or patio
Avoid leaving your plants in direct sunlight the first few times you take them outside. Although plants need sunlight to grow, indoor plants aren’t used to feeling the sun directly on their bodies, and just like humans can burn, plants can burn too.
It would be best for your plants if you kept them under covered areas for a few weeks to avoid any direct sunlight.
Move your houseplant back inside at night to avoid frost
If nighttime temperatures are due to be less than 45 degrees it would be best to bring your houseplant back inside at night to avoid damage from frost.
As well as plants suffering sun damage, they can also obtain frost damage which can stunt their growth by damaging their cells and plant tissue. Too much exposure to low temperatures and frost will result in your plant dying.
When temperatures are above 55 degrees you can leave them outside
Once nighttime temperatures start to get slightly warmer, you can begin to leave your indoor plants outside. They’ll enjoy the warm air and cool breeze of the nighttime and flourish when the sun comes out in the morning to wake them.
Some plants can gradually be placed into direct sunlight for optimal results in growth while others cannot.
Here are some indoor plants that can be placed in direct sunlight when moved outdoors:
- Jade plants (money plants, succulents)
- Aloe Vera
- Herbs (basil, rosemary, lemongrass, sage)
- Ponytail Palm
- Desert Rose
Here are some indoor plants that don’t like to be placed in direct sunlight when moved outdoors:
- Peace Lilies
- Dumb Cane
- Dragon Tree
- Chinese Evergreen
Fertilize and water your houseplants more regularly than you did when they were protected inside
You will need to feed and water your plant now that it has a new environment to keep it strong. You will find that your plant needs to be watered more often than it did when it was inside but that’s because it has outside conditions to contend with now and will get thirsty from working hard to grow.
Don’t overwater them and find the right fertilizer food for your plant. Different plants like different fertilizers and some won’t take well to the wrong sort of fertilizer.
Protect them from insects with specialized insect repellent remedies
Now that your indoor plants are outside, they are susceptible to insects like snails, ants, termites, cane toads, bean beetles, moths, etc. that are not good for your plants.
To repel these bugs from ruining your beloved plants you can try some remedies to keep them at bay.
- Spread eggshells beneath and around the plants
- Mint and rosemary are natural bug repellants
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Hot pepper spray
Should You Bring Your Houseplants Back Inside for Winter?
When the temperatures start to drop again and are getting lower than 55 degrees, you will want to bring your houseplants back inside to avoid dying in the cold.
While your indoor plants would have loved their holiday outside, winter and a lack of sunlight and warmth start to slow down your plant’s growth through a lack of photosynthesis. Your plants will stop growing if they become too cold and will eventually die if left uncared for outside.
Nature is a strange and wonderful thing, isn’t it? Nature has been proven to have benefits for those struggling with mental health, stress, and anxiety concerns, so bringing plants into our home is a good way to try and stay around nature as much as we can.
But remember, all plants did come from the earth outside and will need to be replenished occasionally outside with natural elements. This is why green thumb gardeners gradually move their houseplants outside in the warmer seasons to stimulate their growth and health.