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Spring is finally here. It’s so exciting. We can all take our plants outside, and have them grow a huge amount. It’s going to be amazing. Moving our plants outside is something that a lot of houseplant owners, and indoor gardeners love to do. It’s one of the most exciting times because when we move our plants outside, they can soak up the natural light we can save on our indoor grow lights. Plants can be getting exactly what they need with the wind and the pollination, and it is just absolutely fabulous.
There is always an intense amount of new growth outside as well. You can sit on your porch and sip your tea and enjoy the beautiful foliage growing around you, and then you get to take them indoors and have these big, beautiful plants at the end of the season.
There are a lot of benefits to moving your plants outside, and we do talk about those in another video. But today we wanted to talk about some of the things you can do to take advantage of having your plants outside and enable them to grow as much as possible.
We’re going to go over those five different things today, and hopefully, by the end of it, you can be prepped to take your plants outside for springtime.
The first thing we wanted to talk about that you can do is repotting your plants. When you take your plants outside at the end of wintertime and the beginning of springtime, their root systems might have filled up the pots over winter, or they might be close to filling up the pots. You do not want your plant going outside, having a very full root system, and outgrowing the pot in the middle of summertime. It can be very annoying and set your plant back during its high growth period.
If you’re repotting it in the middle of spring and summertime, while it’s trying to push out all of this new growth, possibly producing fruit or flowers at the same time, it can cause your plant to lose those leaves, along with those fruits and flowers. So you definitely want to make sure that you’re repotting them before you set them out there. This is so the roots can grow back in prime conditions. Then your plant can go ahead and have full growth outside and you don’t have to disturb them the entire growing season. You can just report them when you’re bringing them back indoors if they need it.
Their root system is going to grow as the entire plant grows.
So you also want to make sure that the pot is going to work for the outside conditions that you’re putting it in. For example, inside, maybe a terracotta pot was the best thing for you because you were trying to prevent over-watering in the wintertime, moving them outside in the springtime. They’re going to dry out much faster, especially with the wind. If you’re in a southern state where it dries out and it gets really hot, then perhaps a terracotta pot is not going to be the best thing for your plant. You may want to switch it up to a plastic or ceramic pot so it holds onto more moisture for you. It just depends on the plant’s needs.
Clean your leaves
The next thing that you can do after repotting your plant is clean off the leaves. Your plant has sat through the entire winter holding onto all the dust, dirt, and debris from your home. It may not have been able to photosynthesize very well. When you are taking your plant outside, you want to make sure that they’re going to be able to absorb as much sun as possible, so that way they can grow as much as possible.
Also, when you’re repotting your plant, you probably got some dirt on the leaves.
I know I always do. I can never repot a plant without getting a bunch of dirt all over the foliage. Make sure that you are cleaning off the leaves. You can use an insecticidal soap as well.
It’s also best to do a pest check on your plants well and treat them for pests before you put them out. So that way your plant can be at its best going forward outside. If you have a particular plant that has a heavy pest problem, generally try to rinse off the leaves as much as possible and then set them outside. A lot of times you can have natural predators coming onto the plant to take care of a huge pest infestation versus if you just set a plant outside that had just a little bit of a pest infestation, it might not be enough to call all those predators over. They probably have a larger snack elsewhere and then your plant will struggle with pests the entire season. So that’s something to keep in mind as well.
Make sure that you’re cleaning your leaves, taking care of your plant as far as that goes, and making sure your plant is going to be as healthy as possible when you’re setting it outside. You can make the best decision for your plant based on what you see when you’re cleaning the leaves.
Prune your plant
After you’re done cleaning the leaves, you want to go ahead and prune your plant. Because your plant is going to be growing prolifically outside, it is going to run wild with the shape that it has. So, if you have a plant that only has one vine, it’s going to grow that one vine super huge for you, which may be what you want. However, if it’s not what you want, you want that vine to branch out and have two or even three vines, then maybe prune that. If you have a particular plant that already grows very quickly and has overgrown, maybe you want to trim that back and kind of clean that up a little bit so that it can take advantage.
Tradescantia especially, is one of those plants where they have stretched out over winter and need to be pruned back quite a bit. Repot cuttings up top to have a very full, lush-looking pot that can grow throughout the summertime. It just depends on what style you’re going for with your plant, and what’s going to work best for your plant in your particular situation.
Check The Weather
After you’re done pruning and shaping your plant the way you want it to be, you want to take a look at the weather. The majority of indoor house plants are not frost tolerant. You do want to make sure that you are well past the frost date. You do not want to put your house plant out on your porch, have it be big and beautiful going through 70-degree and 80-degree days, and then suddenly it drops down into the low 30s, or upper 20s overnight. Also, you would come out to a very sad, unhappy, no more leaves, plant. It a probably not going to make it plant, unfortunately. So definitely make sure you’re checking the weather, and that you’re paying attention.
You research your plant and you make sure that your plant can survive in the condition that you’re putting it out outside. Just because it’s a warm, beautiful day outside today does not mean that it’s going to stay that way, and it does not mean that it is now time to bring all your house plants out.
You may even have to jump around a little bit. Bring them out when it’s warm on the warm days, bring them back in on the cooler days, and just pay attention throughout the days when it’s getting warmer and cooler. Or stagger cooler temp-loving plants and then the warmer-loving plants as the season goes on. Some people like to do that. Other people like to go ahead and just bring all their plants directly out as soon as they know that it is going to be warm for the rest of summertime. So it just depends on what’s going to work best for you.
The last thing that we wanted to talk about is when you are moving your plants outside, make sure that you’re acclimating them. This is such an important step that we actually have an entire article on how to acclimate your plants and what acclimating means for your plants.
Essentially, the short version is, it’s making sure that your plants can handle the conditions that you’re putting them in. If they’re going from a very dark area and you’re going to put them in the bright, direct sun outside, they’re going to burn, they’re going to be sad, they’re going to be cranky, and they’re going to lose leaves. They’re certainly not going to be putting out any new beautiful growth. So definitely make sure that you’re giving them a little bit more light at a time.
If you’re switching them from warm temperatures to cool temperatures.
They need to be acclimated. Drop the temperatures and put them in a cooler room a little bit, or move them out for a little bit cooler temperatures, but not as cold as it could be. Kind of adjust slowly. Plants do not like big events happening in their lives. They really don’t. They like small, tiny adjustments and they tend to throw fits and lose leaves and stop new growth and those sorts of things.
If we end up shocking them too much, it can also cause them to become susceptible to pests and fungal and bacterial issues like root rot. So it’s worth taking the time to acclimate your plant, to be rewarded with a healthy plant throughout the summer so you can have a big, beautiful plant to do whatever you want with at the end of the season.
Acclimating your plants is one of the most important things to do to make sure that your plant is fully taking advantage of being outside this season.
I know it sounds like a lot of work prepping your plant to go outside.
It is definitely worth it, though, for the incredible growth that these plants will have when they’re put outside. Inside will definitely never be able to give them all the things that they can get outdoors.
The lighting is different inside. It’s filtered inside. They’re not going to get the things that they need like they can outside. They can get watered and rained on regularly. They can have natural predators come by. Also, they can have natural pollinators. Instead of you having to constantly worry with a little paintbrush whether your plants are getting pollinated or not, they can also soak up nutrients just by the wind and the air.
A lot of house plants are aroids or epiphytic plants, and just being outside can create a huge difference in their growth. It’s worth taking the time to shuffle them outside especially if you follow all the tips in this article today.