Many of us enjoy Tropicals and other plants indoors over the cooler months, but once patio season begins it can be ever so tempting to bring those plants outside to pretty things up. Before you do, take a quick moment to read on and save yourself some potential heartache!
You might not realize, but bringing indoor plants outside in haste can increase the risk of damage, prevent growth, or in extreme cases, kill the plant altogether! Extend the enjoyment of your plants inside and out by following this simple guide:
• Start by bringing plants outside for an hour or so at a time, slowly increasing the duration over a 2 week period until the plants are out all day long.
• Avoid direct intense sun for the first while, even if the plant requires full sun.
• Avoid extra windy spots which can upset the foliage and dry out the soil.
• Avoid exposing the plants to excessive rain.
• Only leave plants out permanently once the threat of frost has passed.
The same rules can apply to seedlings started indoors. It may seem like a pain, but this practice, known as "hardening off" helps maintain a happy and healthy plant!
If you don't have the commitment, in the very least be sure to bring in the plants at night. We all know how wrong the weatherman can be—even if it doesn't call for frost, you won't want to risk it. That is how I utterly destroyed my geraniums just a few weeks ago!
(Re-edited from a post originally published 5.18.11 - CM)