The majority of my houseplants spend summers outdoors. They thrive in our humid conditions. In fact, they prefer it. They’re healthier and happy. Growing houseplants is harder for me. In the garden I can grow most anything with success. In the house it’s a different story”¦ most plants succumb to my black thumb indoors, especially over winter.
Growing Healthy Houseplants
Although I love being surrounded by my plants, once the warm spring temperatures have returned (usually with nighttime temps remaining a consistent 55-60 F. (12-15 C.), I slowly begin moving houseplants outdoors. And they thank me for it in return with healthier, lush foliage and occasional blooms. My Thanksgiving cactus, for example, spends its time outside over summer and once autumn’s cooler weather makes an appearance (normally sometime in October), back inside it goes. The cactus then rewards me with beautiful flowers for the holidays – no additional care needed. Prior to putting this plant outdoors, I found it difficult to get any blooms. I tried the whole darkness for so many hours routine without success. For some reason though, allowing the plant to spend time outside when it’s warm seems to help. I’ve had a poinsettia for about three years that responds similarly.
Although the house feels rather empty in summer without my houseplants surrounding me, I know it’s for their own good”¦ and mine too. Stronger, healthier houseplants tend to make it through winter more easily. And I mourn the loss of plants less often. I do, however, keep some plants inside year-round, both for my sanity and because I simply have nowhere else to put them. This includes my African violets, pothos, parlor palm and a few others. This year my rubber tree plant remains inside. It’s gotten so big now that moving it back and forth is awkward and difficult. I know I should prune it back again, but then I’ll only end up growing another as I’ve done before. I have a smaller one too. I can’t seem to throw out the pruned off cuttings, so I plant them instead.
Whether I’m moving houseplants outdoors in summer (which for me begins in spring) or bringing them back inside to overwinter in fall, it’s an arduous task. I have far too many plants to count nowadays, and each year it just keeps growing. Yes, it’s an addiction but one that brings me (and others) happiness, especially when my houseplants have survived another winter and we begin the process all over again.