Airing Out The Houseplants For Summer

By Mary Ellen Ellis | September 19, 2021
Image by Jobrestful
by Mary Ellen Ellis
September 19, 2021

With a house full of cats, I don’t have a lot of houseplants anymore. There’s too much nibbling and risk of toxicity, but I do have a few that are safe and have survived kitten attacks. I like to take them out for the summer because it feels like they appreciate the fresh air. 

Houseplants That Go Outside for Summer

It feels a little bit like an early summer ritual, when temperatures are consistently warm enough to take plants outdoors. When it’s no colder than about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius), I celebrate the warmer months by parading these plants outside: 

  • A tray of succulents I’ve been working on for a few years, which includes some echeveria, living stones, and hawthoria
  • A philodendron that has survived my home for decades now
  • Another plant that has been with me for over 20 years, a large peace lily

The succulents seem to like a nice sunny spot. The other two are happiest in the partial shade of the back patio and thrive with the humid days we get during the Michigan summer. 

How to Do It Right

Before you start giving your houseplants fresh summer air, learn from my mistakes. Here’s what I’ve found to be true when moving plants outside for the season: 

  • It’s important to acclimate them to the heat and sun. Give them a few hours in the shade for one or two days, then move them into partial shade for a few days. Take at least a week to ease your houseplants into the new environment. 
  • Plants that need regular water will need even more outside, unless of course, it rains regularly. I water the peace lily and philodendron almost daily. 
  • Pay attention to drainage. I don’t water the plants indoors nearly as much, which means drainage is less of an issue. Make sure your container drains well after a big rain. 
  • Bring the plants back inside before it gets too cold.

Letting houseplants get fresh air and sunshine in the summer helps them thrive. Once they have acclimated, it’s also a great chance to repot. Some plants need regular repotting in a bigger container. Others, of course, like my peace lily, benefit from being a little rootbound. Know your plants, which ones can go outside, and what their sun and water needs are, and taking plants out for the summer is easy.

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