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  • Writer's pictureBath Garden Center

Which Houseplants Can Go Outside in Summer?

After a long and cold winter, many people like to put their indoor houseplants outside to warm up the soil, soak up some sun, and jump-start their summer growth. Many people, however, do not take into consideration the potential adverse effects this can have on indoor houseplants and end up doing more harm than good. If you have been considering putting some of your indoor houseplants outside, there are a few things you should be aware of.


Can You Put Houseplants Outside in the Summer?

flowering pear cactus growing outdoors

Acclimation

Indoor houseplants are accustomed to stable indoor conditions, including temperature, humidity, and light levels. When moving them outside, they need to be acclimated gradually to the outdoor environment. Start by placing them in a shaded area for a few hours a day, gradually increasing the time over a week or two. Immediately changing a plant's environment will cause shock to the plant and can easily cause it to die or be majorly set back.


Sun Exposure

Colorado has a high altitude and intense sunlight, which can be more intense than what your indoor plants are used to. Most indoor plants prefer bright but indirect light, so it's crucial to find a shaded or partially shaded spot outdoors to prevent sunburn or leaf damage. Very few houseplants can handle direct sun exposure in outdoor conditions, so avoid placing them in direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day.


Temperature

Colorado can experience significant temperature fluctuations, especially in the evenings. In early spring, even if daytime temperatures are in the 70s, nighttime temperatures can still be cool enough to send your plants into shock if left out all night. Before moving your indoor plants outside, ensure that the temperature remains consistently above 50°F. Be aware of any forecasted dips or spikes in temperature and be sure to bring your plants back inside until the weather evens out again. Just a few hours in extreme temperatures is enough to kill any tropical houseplant.


Watering

Outdoor conditions, such as wind and increased sunlight, can lead to faster drying of the potting soil. Monitor the moisture levels of the soil and water your plants accordingly. Be mindful not to overwater or let them sit in standing water, as this can cause root rot.


Pests

Moving plants outdoors may expose them to a different range of pests and insects. Inspect your plants regularly for signs of pests like aphids, spider mites, thrips, mealybugs, and others. If you notice any infestations, take appropriate measures to control them. When bringing plants back indoors at the end of the season, it is extremely important to quarantine your plants and perform preventative pest treatments. Even if you do not notice any pests on your plants upon inspecting them, many houseplant pests are very minuscule and can easily go undetected. The last thing you will want to do is to accidentally bring a pest infestation into your home where it could affect every other plant in your home as well.


7 Indoor Plants That Can Go Outside in Summer

Remember that not all indoor houseplants will thrive in an outdoor environment, even temporarily. Some plants are more sensitive and may not adapt well to outdoor conditions. Here are a few examples of houseplants that can generally handle outdoor conditions in Colorado:


1. Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

Sansevieria houseplant snake plant

Snake plants are hardy and can tolerate a wide range of light conditions, making them suitable for outdoor environments. As indoor houseplants, they are known for their high tolerance to low-light environments, though they are able to tolerate full sun just as well. If you choose to place your snake plant outdoors for the summer, it will definitely need more water than it did indoors, though you should still be aware of not overwatering them.


2. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

ZZ Plant houseplant

ZZ plants are known for their ability to tolerate low-light conditions and require minimal care as houseplants. These tuberous plants store water underneath the soil, making them particularly tolerant of arid environments. They can be grown outdoors during the summer months and are able to handle some direct sunlight, however, they prefer shaded or partially shaded spots outdoors.


3. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plant houseplant Chlorophytum comosum

Spider plants are known for their tolerance to low-light conditions in indoor settings. These plants, however, are very adaptable and if acclimated properly can handle full sun conditions outdoors. Their bushy, grass-like foliage adds personality to any indoor or outdoor space, and they will produce baby plants that cascade over the sides of their containers for you to propagate and share with friends!


4. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

Crassula ovata succulent jade houseplant

Jade plants are succulents that can thrive outdoors in Colorado. They prefer bright light and can tolerate some direct sun, though watch for burn damage and move your plant to a more sheltered area if the sun proves to be too hot. Ensure they are planted in well-draining soil and water them sparingly.


5. Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum)

Hen and chicks succulent plant

Sempervivum is a group of hardy succulents that can withstand the outdoor conditions in Colorado. While they can be grown indoors in containers, they are most often seen in outdoor landscapes as they can handle full sun, are drought-tolerant, and are perennial here in Colorado. Hen and Chicks are a great choice for outdoor containers or rock gardens.


6. Sedum

stonecrop sedum succulent plant

Sedums are a diverse group of succulent plants that come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. They are well-suited to Colorado's climate and can handle full sun. Some varieties of sedum are considered perennials in Colorado, while others are more suited as indoor houseplants. In outdoor landscapes, sedums are often used in outdoor rock gardens and as ground cover plants.


7. Pincushion Cactus (Mammillaria)

Mammilaria pincushion cactus

There are thousands of different types of cacti, and many are well suited to arid desert environments similar to Colorado. In many places throughout the state, it is even common to see certain cacti growing naturally. Depending on the type of cactus you have, it may fare quite well outside during the summer months. Mammillaria are a type of cacti that will grow well indoors as well as outdoors here in Colorado.


8. Echeveria

Echeveria succulent houseplants

There are thousands of different types of echeveria succulents, many of which grow well in hot and dry climates. These cute and compact specimens grow well in containers indoors and outdoors and can be placed in full sun conditions.


9. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) houseplant

Boston ferns are full, lush, and beautiful! Many ferns are not able to survive outdoors in our hot and dry environment, however, it is not uncommon to see these plants in hanging baskets adorning porches and patios throughout the city. Keep your plant out of direct sun and make sure it gets watered regularly.


10. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos Epipremnum aureum houseplant

Pothos houseplants are highly popular trailing plants that are often displayed in macrame hangers and other hanging baskets. They are low-maintenance, easy-care indoor plants that can also be grown outdoors in shaded areas. Direct sun may burn the leaves of this plant, so it is recommended to keep them in a sheltered area if you choose to keep your plant outside during the summer months.


Consult With Your Local Houseplant Professionals

Remember, even though these plants can handle outdoor conditions, it's still important to consider factors like acclimation, sun exposure, watering needs, and potential pests. Additionally, individual plant preferences and the microclimate of your specific outdoor location can impact their success. Always research the specific needs of your plants and evaluate their suitability for outdoor exposure before deciding to put them outside for any period of time. Once you do place them outside, monitor them plants closely, observe their response to outdoor conditions, and make adjustments as needed.


If you have any doubts or concerns about a particular plant, it's always a good idea to consult with your local plant experts here at Bath Garden Center & Nursery. Our professionals are familiar with Colorado's climate and are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to plants of all kinds and will be able to provide you with personalized advice specific to your situation. Reach out to us today or visit us at the Garden Center!

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