January 15, 2020

House Plants Outdoors

Many houseplants benefit from a summer spent outdoors. Move them into open air when the weather is thoroughly warm in spring or early summer, and bring indoors well ahead of frost time in autumn. They need the same care as other plants in the garden. Provide routine pruning, regular spraying to prevent insect damage, watering in the absence of sufficient rainfall, and biweekly or more frequent feedings of soluble fertilizer. It is easier to care for potted plants being summered outdoors if they are grouped together in one or two places rather than scattered over the garden.


Any location that receives protection from whipping winds and hard rains can be decorated with container plants. They are especially enjoyable near entranceways, on steps, terraces, patios, porches, walks, landing strips by driveways, tops of walls, sun decks, and rooftop gardens. Many houseplants thrive in the summer under large trees, heavy-foliaged shrubs, or beneath groups of perennials such as day lilies and hostas. Some of them do well in hanging baskets, window boxes, and large planters.


For the ultimate in summer care of house plants, use a lath house, shaded cold frame, or air-conditioned greenhouse. When plants growing in containers outdoors are kept moist and protected from searing winds, they are more tolerant of sunlight. Kinds that prefer sunny locations indoors usually do well outdoors in sun-drenched places, but partial shade will also give pleasing results. House plants that prefer semi-sunny and semi-shady locations indoors thrive outdoors in the dapply shadows cast by majestic trees, or on the north side of a building. True shade-loving plants, can be summered outdoors in a shady, moist nook which receives little or no direct sun. More information about plant types and care with Plant Spot app free on itunes.



Moving day for houseplants may be scheduled for any convenient time after the average date of last frost in a given area. If you do not know this date for your community, ask a neighbor who gardens successfully, or your County Agricultural Agent. He represents the United States Department of Agriculture, and generally has an office in the county courthouse.


In the Northeast I begin to move cool-loving house plants outdoors in late April or early May. By the third weekend of May, most of the tropicals are situated for the season. All plants growing in built-in planters and in the large tubs, which play a part in our interior decoration, are left inside all year. In addition, from late April until early November, we keep the fireplace filled with ferns, caladiums, episcias, small angel-wing begonias, African violets, and gloxinias. A portable fluorescent light with two 20-watt daylight tubes keeps the plants in good condition. The light unit itself extends far enough into the chimney so that the reflector cannot be seen.