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Preparing Indoor Plants for the Outdoor Season


Plants, just like humans, need a gradual exposure to the bright sunlight of summer.  If you simply bring your plants directly from their indoor space directly into the bright sun, you can expect burnt leaves, stunted growth, and even in some situations death.  But following these simple steps will help prevent sun related tragedies.

Check-List Before and During the Move

  1. Check for pests and disease.  The outdoor environment is the perfect environment for doing a complete examination of your plants.  Check the stems, under the leaves and in the creases of the leaves for any little creepy crawlies.  Address the need as it arrives.
  2. Check to See How Your Plant is Growing.  Turn the plant upside down and check the drainage hole.  If you see roots growing through the bottom, it is time to upsize but do not jump the garden spade when you do this.  Only go up one size, which means if your plant is in a 6-inch pot now only go up to an 8-inch pot.  When following this step, always follow good transplanting protocol.
  3. Prepare for the Move.  When plants are first moved to the outdoor environment, they will need to be placed in the shade regardless of the plant’s light requirement.  After the plant has been out for a while, the individual plant’s growth requirements will be met.
  4. The first day of the move.  Prepare for this day and arrange a space around a shade tree or on a porch.  Move all plant material that you plan to displace outside to this tree.  Water as usual.  During this first day, the plants will only stay outside for one hour.
  5. The remaining days of the move.  Continue to move the plants outside every day and increase the time by two hours until eight hours have been met.  Once this has happened, it is time to move individual plants to their permanent outdoor home.  That means shade-loving plants will remain in the shade and may be accompany by partial shade-loving plants.  Vegetation that requires direst sunlight can also be moved to the correct location.
  6. Outdoor Care.  Plants need additional care when they are outdoors.  This includes more frequent watering, fertilizing, and pruning.  Just keep to a schedule when fertilizing and always check the soil moisture before watering.

Bringing your indoor plants outdoors can be an uplifting experience.  It frees up the indoor space for more seasonal items while allowing the plants to experience their natural environment.  But before you make the move, always check with your local extension agent for your local frost-free date.  This is the date that represents the first time your indoor plants should be exposed to their outdoor home.


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