Moving house plants outdoors in summer

During the summer, you can improve the health and appearance of your house plants by moving them outside.

Most indoor plants revel in the fresh air (although it’s best to keep tender tropical plants, such as moth orchids and African violets, indoors.) Rain will wash away accumulated dust, while increased light intensity promotes healthy growth.

But although they’re already accustomed to shade and warm temperatures, your plants will suffer if moved outside all in one go, so acclimatise them first.

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Put them outside

Most house plants be put outside between May and September. Timings do vary around the country and from year to year, so to be safe, wait until about 2-4 weeks since the last frost. If your garden is exposed, then you may also choose to wait a little later.

Hardening off

Accustom your plants to the cooler temperatures and increased light intensity outside gradually before you move them out for the summer. Put the plants in a shady spot outside during the day and bring them back inside at night for one or two weeks first.

Where to put them

House plants are at risk of scorching when outside, so gradually increase the light they receive. Orchids, bromeliads, Christmas cactus and air plants can be hung from the branches of a tree, for shade and protection from pests.

Summer care

House plants will require regular watering as they dry out quickly when they're outside, so check the compost regularly. Also, look out for pests such as aphids, slugs, snails and caterpillars. It’s also worth feeding regularly with a house plant fertiliser when watering.

Returning indoors

Move your house plants back to the house before the first frosts. Check them for pests first, including slugs hiding under the pot. Prune off any scorched or damaged leaves, plus any spent blooms. If your plants are dry, soak them in a basin of tepid water.

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