Can you bring a houseplant outdoors?
The majority of houseplant owners have placed their plants outside, perhaps because they were not doing well. Perhaps they decided it would improve their plant’s health because “plants naturally grow outside, maybe I’ll get the same results outside”. Thankfully, most houseplants don’t die outside, which is why they’re often called houseplants. But why is this so? Are there exceptions? What we’re going to explore below is whether it possible to take houseplants outdoors at all? The answer isn’t as straightforward as a simple yes or no, but rather an “it depends”.
In certain situations, it is acceptable to take houseplants outside. Following is a list of those circumstances:
- You live in an environment similar to the plant’s natural habitat.
- The houseplant you have is a winter hardy plant.
- The weather is warm and sunny during the summer.
You can inquire about each of these scenarios to see if it applies to you. If it does, you may be able to bring your houseplants outside. As long as none of the above situations match your situation, you can’t take your houseplant outdoors and it’ll likely die in the process. We will also discuss alternative methods of taking houseplants outdoors.
The plant’s natural environment
You are more likely to be able to take your houseplant outside with no problems if you live in a climate that’s similar to the climate where your houseplant grows naturally. You can move your houseplant outside and find that it feels right at home and might not even have to adjust to the new environment. It might even grow better outdoors if you live in a climate that matches the natural habitat of the plant. Typically, the houseplant thrives in weather very similar to the garden’s environment. Here are a few examples of climates that are also similar to the garden’s:
- You live in a tropical area: You can grow things like Alocasias, Monsteras, and Philodendrons outdoors
- You live in a dessert: You can grow things like cacti and succulents outdoors
- You live in the Mediterranean: You can grow spider plants and Ficus trees outdoors
As you can see, where you live can affect the types of plants you can grow outdoors. If you live in a warm environment with very dry air, you might still be able to grow tropical plants, but you have to water your plants very frequently to ensure they have enough moisture. If you live in the natural habitat of your plant, you will not need to do anything at all to take care of it, since the environment will take care of it for you.
Winter hardy plants
A cold climate, such as in Northern Europe, the northern part of the USA or Canada, or Southern hemisphere South America makes it impossible for tropical plants to flourish outdoors, especially during the winter. In the winter, houseplants that are winter hardy can survive temperatures of zero pounds per square meter without any problems. If you have plants that are winter hardy as well, you can also take them outdoors without any problem.
Plants that will not survive the winter will get too cold when found outdoors during the spring, autumn or winter, and this will likely kill your houseplants. The only time you might be able to bring some of your houseplants outdoors is on the hottest days during the summer. You should keep your plants indoors every day if you live in a cold climate. It’s best to make sure the plant stays alive indoors instead of taking the risk to bring it outside during the winter.
Bringing plants outdoors in the summer
When you live in a colder area you can bring your houseplants outdoors only on a warm summer day. Nevertheless, even then you can’t really answer the question “Can you bring your houseplant outside?” with a definitive “Yes!”. Whether or not you should bring your houseplant outside to sit in the sun on this warm summer day depends on the weather. If you are bringing a succulent outside, make sure it will stay dry on that day. The rain won’t affect your succulent if it’s a little bit, but if it’s raining all day, it will leave it overhydrated.
Nevertheless, your Monstera would thrive in this warm and humid environment. Make sure you have proper drainage, and your Monstera will survive outdoors during this season. Make sure you bring it inside before the sun goes down, because this is when it begins to cool down quickly.
Alternatives to bringing your plants outdoors
There are several reasons why you should bring your plants outside, such as:
- Bringing your plant outdoors to get extra sunlight
- Bringing your plant outdoors to get rid of pests
- Bringing your plant outdoors for rainwater
Having said that, these aren’t the only solutions for ensuring the health of your plants. You can also situate your plants near southern facing windows in the northern hemisphere and northern facing windows in the southern hemisphere to ensure they’re getting plenty of sunlight.
It’s important to bring your plants outdoors to ward off pests. However, if you can’t do that for whatever reason, like not living in the right climate or the weather not being ideal, you’re not out of options. When pests are outside to attack your houseplants, you may do an even greater amount of harm than the pest did to your plant. You should save your plants’ life by treating them indoors and allowing them to recover. Keeping your plants outside may shock them, and will reduce the chances of them recovering.
You might think that bringing your plants outside to get rainwater would be a great idea, but this also poses an unnecessary risk. When using rainwater to water your plants, collect it in a proper rain collection system, let it sit for a day or two in your house to cool, and then use a watering can to saturate your plants. You could potentially damage your plants’ sensitive roots with rainwater when it comes down from the sky. This could result in root rot. Unless you have excellent drainage methods, there is no good way to control the amount of water your plant receives when it is sitting outside in the rain. If you do not have good drainage, use a watering can to give your plant a drink.
Although taking houseplants outside may seem like a great idea, whether it’s a good idea or not depends on the situation. Before releasing a houseplant outdoors, there are numerous factors to take into consideration, including: does my area have a climate similar to that of the plant I’m bringing outside? Will the plant survive in colder temperatures? Is it warm/dry/humid enough? There are many things you can do to help your houseplant without moving them outdoors. You can water them daily, or you can observe them from inside. You can move them outdoors periodically, for example.