Spending one’s life between four walls and enjoying daylight only through the glass of a window: the environment we impose on our houseplants is not a natural one… So why should we be surprised to find them so restless at the end of winter? It is time to take our houseplants out to the garden so that they can finally enjoy these ideal conditions.
When to take the houseplants out?
Don’t be in a hurry! Houseplants are cold. Wait until the end of June to take them out, as soon as the beautiful days return and the temperatures stabilize at night in a high range. They can then be placed on a balcony, a terrace, a patio or in the garden!
Why take houseplants out to the garden?
It is not very natural to grow plants in an enclosed environment; they need air, light and moisture to grow in good conditions. The majority of so-called “green” or “houseplants” are tropical plants growing naturally in the world’s rainforests, so it is difficult to create optimal growing conditions in our interiors.
In summer the climate presents mild nights and a less marked thermal amplitude between day and night. It is rare that the temperatures fall below the fatal -12°F which is responsible for thermal shocks on these plants; this period is therefore favourable for a few vacations for your plants which will find outside a perfect luminosity, sufficient ventilation and healthy humidity thanks to the rainfall.
A full of energy
During the summer, the climate that prevails almost everywhere in metropolitan France can be very beneficial for our houseplants. Temperatures are mild, even hot during the day, and the coolness at night is less marked. The luminosity outside is much better: engine of photosynthesis, it is conducive to the development of plants. As for the rain, it cleans the foliage and provides excellent quality watering.
More generally, houseplants will find a very healthy atmosphere in the garden, both humid and airy. In our houses and apartments, on the contrary, they too often suffer from dry air, proximity to heating sources, static air. So don’t hesitate any longer and give your houseplants a vacation: take them out!
A progressive release
When can we take the plants out of the house?
It is necessary to wait until the risk of frost is eliminated before taking houseplants out in the garden. Most of them are tropical species that do not tolerate any degree below zero. So be patient, and wait until June in areas where late frosts are frequent.
A period of transition
The golden rule for your houseplants to fully benefit from their stay outdoors is to avoid abrupt changes. The transition between the indoor and outdoor environment should be as smooth as possible. Do not place your plants in direct sunlight. Instead, find a shady spot that is well sheltered from drafts, and leave the plants there for at least ten days, the time it takes for them to adapt to their new habitat. It is very important to respect this acclimatization phase.
How to take houseplants outside?
To avoid that your plants undergo a shock, they will have to be accustomed gradually to the strong outside luminosity and the slightly different conditions of culture. Before taking them out, place them closer to a window without direct sunlight at the hottest hours and open them very often in good weather so that they get used to natural ventilation.
After a week, take your plants out in dense shade, in a place with little wind and where they will not be exposed to drafts. Basket the foliage to remove any dust and water the houseplants. Leave them there for at least a week.
After that, it’s all about individuality. Find out the light requirements of each plant. A cactus will be able to withstand full sun without worry if it is gradually exposed to it, whereas a fern will need dense shade. Place your plants according to these criteria, knowing that many of them tolerate a bright light but always subdued by a large tree.
Don’t neglect watering, and don’t forget to drain the water from the cups to avoid asphyxiation of the roots. Add fertilizer for houseplants very regularly because you will find that in these optimal conditions your plants will grow much faster!
What kind of watering to plan?
Outdoors, the rain will replace the basins and remove the dust on the leaves of the plants.
But outside, photosynthesis is more active, so their water needs are also higher! A drip connected to a timer is a very good watering solution. Test it before you go on vacation to make sure everything will go well while you’re away.
Don’t have such a system? Remove the cap from a bottle of mineral water and then place the bottle, filled with water, on an individual drip watering device placed in the ground.
When to bring them in again?
Houseplants can enjoy this pleasant stay outside for several weeks. However, remember to bring them in as early as mid-September, when temperatures are already beginning to decline.
No balcony, no garden?
You can also have your plants stay in a brighter room for the summer. If you are away for 2 to 3 weeks, then use containers with a water reserve: your houseplants will be completely autonomous!
Plants with smooth foliage accustomed to humid atmospheres in the house generally like outside. They appreciate the regular showers offered by the rains which remind them of their country of origin and which rid them of certain parasites (such as whiteflies, red spiders…). Group them together to facilitate care and watering during dry periods.