Advanced Plant Care: Bringing your plants outside for the summer

Mature dracaena @monsterafever

Photo by @monsterafever
Can you bring your indoor plants outside during the summer months? Absolutely! But when creating your outdoor oasis not all plants were created equal. The most important thing to keep in mind when bringing your plants out is that the conditions outside are much more variable than inside. Here are some things to consider along with some plant suggestions.
Wait until after the frost free date to bring anything outside. The frost free date is traditionally Victoria Day weekend in Toronto but stretch it to June 1 if you’re being extra careful. It’s a good idea to acclimatize your plants to their new environment by bringing them out during the day and inside at night for about a week especially if they will be up on a balcony where it's very windy or if it's a particularly cool year.
Most plants should be kept out of all day direct sunlight though cacti, succulents, sansevieria and ZZ plants can tolerate this. Because the sun is stronger there's a higher risk of burning the leaves so water at the base of the plant not on the leaves or stalk of the plant. 

Photo by @wendydidi_plant
Never put a plant outside if it doesn't have drainage holes in the bottom of the pot - no exceptions. Also, keep in mind that because the sun is much stronger outside you will be watering more often than you're used to watering inside and be sure to use tepid water instead of freezing water from the hose.
This is the biggest issue when bringing plants out onto balconies. In this case stick to plants that will remain below the top of the railing for wind protection and your sansevieria, yucca, ZZ plant and sun-loving palm if above the railing line. With larger or hanging plants place them somewhere where they won't fall onto people if they topple or come loose from their hook. Keep in mind that windows reflect the sun so a plant could be getting intense sun from both sides. Consider creating shade and wind protection with outdoor curtains or a bamboo screen.
When plants are outside you need to have a keener eye for insects and funguses and apply insecticides or fungicides when needed as early detection is the best way to win that battle.
Other plants that can go outside (no direct sun):
  • Bird of paradise: Keep in mind her leaves tear easily so keep out of high wind.  
  • Schefflera
  • Sun-loving palms: Do a thorough spray down and change the soil before bringing them back inside for the winter because they're prone to spider mites.  
  • Dracaena marginata
  • Ficus lyrata: Some spotting on leaves may occur but that’s natural and if you’re down go for it!
  • Spider plant: Dappled light only, please.
  • Ferns: Dappled light for me, too.
  • Anthurium
  • Peperomia
  • Pilea 
  • Philodendron
Now go get your luscious summer backyard oasis on – you got this!

Author: Urban Gardener | Categories: Anthurium , Balcony , Bird of Paradise , Cactus , Dracaena , Fern , Ficus , Palm , Peperomia , Pests , Philodendron , Pilea , Sansevieria , Schefflera , Spider Plant , Succulent , Summer , Watering , Wind , ZZ Plants