When To Put Houseplants Outside: A Seasonal Guide

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Houseplants have a way of bringing life and vibrancy into our homes. But as the seasons change, many plant enthusiasts ponder the question: When To Put Houseplants Outside? According to a survey by the National Gardening Association, over 30% of American households participate in indoor gardening. As temperatures rise, these indoor green thumbs often consider giving their plants a taste of the great outdoors. This article serves as a seasonal guide to help you determine the best time and conditions for transitioning your beloved plants outside.

The Science Behind Moving Houseplants Outside

Houseplants, much like us humans, enjoy a change of scenery every now and then. But before we dive into the how-tos, let’s understand the why.

Many of our favorite indoor plants hail from tropical rainforests, where they thrive under the canopy’s filtered light. Moving them outside, even for a short period, can mimic their natural habitat, providing them with a spectrum of light that’s hard to replicate indoors. This exposure can lead to enhanced growth, richer coloration, and even flowering in some species.

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The outdoor environment, with its fluctuating conditions, can be a shock to houseplants used to the stable indoor climate. Sudden exposure to direct sunlight, for instance, can cause sunburn. But fear not! With the right precautions, the benefits can far outweigh the risks.

Picking the Right Time

Timing, as they say, is everything. And when it comes to deciding When To Put Houseplants Outside, this couldn’t be truer.

Wait for consistent warmer temperatures. A good rule of thumb is to move plants outside when nighttime temperatures consistently stay above 50°F. Anything colder, and you risk shocking your plant.

Nighttime temperatures play a pivotal role. Plants, especially tropical ones, are sensitive to cold drafts and can suffer if exposed to chilly nights.

Lastly, consider your local frost dates. Even a brief exposure to frost can be detrimental to most houseplants. So, always ensure the last frost date has passed before making the move.

Transitioning Houseplants: Step-by-Step

Alright, green thumbs, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

Transitioning Steps Details
Gradual Exposure Start in a shaded area, and increase sun exposure over a week.
Acclimation Allow plants to adjust to new conditions, reducing shock.
Monitoring Watch for distress signs in leaves (yellowing, wilting), and adjust location if needed.

Start with gradual exposure. Think of it as helping your plant get a tan without sunburn. Place them in a shaded area for a few hours each day, gradually increasing their exposure to sunlight over a week.

Acclimation is key. Just as you wouldn’t jump into a cold pool without dipping your toes first, your plants need time to adjust to the new conditions. This slow transition helps reduce the risk of shock.

Lastly, keep a close eye on your plants. Monitor their leaves for any signs of distress, like yellowing or wilting, and adjust their location accordingly. Remember, plants can’t speak, but their leaves sure do tell tales!

For more detailed insights on moving houseplants outdoors, check out this comprehensive guide.

Houseplant Acclimation Process

Protecting Houseplants from Direct Sunlight

Ah, sunlight! While it’s the lifeblood for most plants, too much of it can be, well, a tad overbearing. Especially when we’re talking about houseplants that are used to the cozy confines of your living room.

Sunlight Protection Details
Recommended Locations Filtered sunlight, morning sun with afternoon shade.
Signs of Sunburn Yellow/white patches on leaves, crispy leaves.
Transition Strategy The gradual transition from indoor to outdoor light conditions.

The difference between indoor and outdoor light intensities is like comparing a gentle morning stretch to a full-blown gym workout. While indoor light is often diffused and consistent, outdoor sunlight can be intense and varied.

So, where should you place your houseplants outside? Look for locations that offer filtered sunlight or areas that get morning sun and afternoon shade. This ensures your plants get their dose of Vitamin D without the risk of sunburn.

Yes, plants can get sunburned too! Signs include yellow or white patches on the leaves, or they might turn crispy (and not in the delicious potato chip way). To prevent this, always ensure a gradual transition from indoor to outdoor light.

Protecting Houseplants from Sunlight

Watering and Fertilizing Outdoor Houseplants

Watering plants isn’t just a chore; it’s an art. And when your houseplants take a vacation outside, their watering needs can change.

Outdoor conditions, especially wind, and sunlight, can dry out the soil faster. This means you might need to water your plants more frequently. But here’s the twist: if it rains, you might not need to water them at all. Mother Nature’s got you covered!

Speaking of rain, it’s not just about quenching your plant’s thirst. Rainwater can help flush out salts and minerals that accumulate in the soil. It’s like a mini detox for your plant.

Now, onto fertilizing. The great outdoors can be a buffet for your plants. With increased light and fresh air, they might grow more vigorously. A little extra fertilizer can support this growth. Think of it as giving your plants a protein shake to go with their workout.

Repotting and Encouraging Growth

Sometimes, a change of scenery calls for a change of… pots? If your plant has outgrown its current home or if the soil looks exhausted, moving it outside can be the perfect time to repot.

Choosing the right container size is crucial. You don’t want your plant swimming in soil, but you also don’t want it feeling cramped. A good rule of thumb is to choose a pot that’s 2 inches larger in diameter than the current one.

Once repotted, your plant has more room to stretch its roots and grow. With the added benefits of outdoor conditions, you might just see a growth spurt! So, keep an eye out, and maybe even document its growth journey. It’s like watching your child’s first steps, but greener.

For more insights on moving houseplants outdoors, this detailed guide is a treasure trove of information.

Houseplant Growth Journey

Dealing with Pests and Diseases

Ah, the great outdoors! A paradise for plants, but also a playground for pests. When you decide on When To Put Houseplants Outside, you’re introducing them to a whole new world of creepy crawlies.

Common culprits include aphids, spider mites, and the ever-so-sneaky slugs. These little critters love munching on your precious plants. But fear not! With a keen eye and some preventive measures, you can keep these pests at bay. Regularly inspecting the underside of leaves and using natural insecticides can work wonders.

But what if your plant does get infested? First, don’t panic. Isolate the affected plant to prevent the pests from throwing a party on your other plants. Treat the plant, and if things get too wild, consider moving it back inside. After all, home is where the heart (and fewer pests) is.

Preparing for the Return Indoors

As summer fades and cooler temperatures creep in, your houseplants start dropping subtle hints. Drooping leaves, slower growth, and that look in their eyes (okay, maybe not the last one) are signs it’s time for them to return indoors.

Transitioning plants back to indoor conditions isn’t just about picking them up and moving them inside. It’s a process. Start by placing them in a shaded outdoor area for a few days. This helps them acclimate to lower light levels. Once inside, keep them away from direct heat sources like radiators.

Post-outdoor care is crucial. Check for pests (again!), water them appropriately, and give them some love. They’ve had a big adventure, after all.

The Impact of Outdoor Exposure on Houseplant Health

Taking your houseplants on an outdoor excursion isn’t just about giving them a summer vacation. It’s about boosting their health in the long run. Outdoor exposure can strengthen plants, making them more resilient and vibrant.

However, like all good things, there are potential risks. Overexposure to sunlight, unexpected frosts, or a buffet invitation to pests can be detrimental. But with careful observation and understanding of your plant’s responses, you can mitigate these risks.

The key is balance. Know when to expose them and when to shield them. And always, always listen to what your plant is trying to tell you. They might not speak, but they sure do communicate.

For more insights on moving houseplants outdoors, check out this comprehensive guide.

And if pests become a persistent problem, our article on Common Houseplant Pests and How to Deal with Them is a must-read. Stay green and keen!

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the ideal time to put houseplants outside?

The best time to move houseplants outside is during the warmer months, typically late spring to early summer when nighttime temperatures consistently stay above 50°F.

How do I acclimate my houseplants to outdoor conditions?

Gradually introduce your plants to the outdoors. Start by placing them in a shaded area for a few hours each day, gradually increasing their exposure to sunlight over a week.

Can all houseplants be put outside?

Not all houseplants are suitable for outdoor conditions. Tropical plants generally enjoy outdoor summer conditions, but plants like succulents might prefer to stay indoors.

How often should I water my houseplants when they’re outside?

Watering frequency may increase when plants are outside due to higher light and wind exposure. Always check the soil moisture before watering.

What precautions should I take against pests?

Before bringing plants back inside, inspect them thoroughly for pests. Consider using natural insect repellents or neem oil as a preventive measure.

Can direct sunlight harm my houseplants?

Yes, moving plants from moderate indoor light to intense outdoor sun can cause sunburn. It’s best to provide them with filtered or indirect sunlight initially.


Understanding When To Put Houseplants Outside is crucial for their health and vitality. By following this seasonal guide, you can ensure a smooth transition for your plants, allowing them to thrive and flourish in the great outdoors. Remember, every plant is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Always monitor your plants and adjust care routines as needed.

Thank you for reading!