Green Living

What to Consider Before Moving your Indoor Plants Outside for the Summer

Moving Indoor Plants Outside for the Summer

You aren’t the only one who loves the balmy temps and sunny days of summer weather–your plants do, too! Plant Mom answers all your questions about moving your indoor plants outside during the summer months.


Can all plants go outside?

Yes, almost all of our indoor foliage plants can go outside. In fact, they will absolutely adore the fresh outdoor air. The main thing to keep in mind is the intensity of the outdoor sunlight when placing your plants outdoors. Just because a plant can go outside, doesn’t mean it can be placed in full sun. It is best to place your plants in locations that mimic indoor lighting requirements. It’s also important to acclimate your plant to an outdoor environment.

How do I acclimate a plant to the outdoors?

Start by placing your plant in a shady area for a few hours each day, and slowly increase the outdoor time over 7-10 days. You can expose your plant to the morning sun after about five days. Never allow your indoor foliage plants to sit in the full sun. Even plants that can handle high light such as a Bird of Paradise, Sanseveria, Ponytail Palm, and Cacti also need at least 10 days of increased time in the sun to acclimate to the intensity of the full outdoor sunshine after living indoors. 

Moving Indoor Plants Outside for the Summer

When do I know it’s safe to bring my plant outside?

It is safe to move your plants outside when the outdoor temperatures stay consistently above 50 degrees. Pay attention to the weather report. If nighttime temperatures are set to fall below 50 degrees, bring them in for the night. Bring them back outside when temperatures rise.

Will I need to water my plant more once it’s outside? 

This will depend on rainfall, wind, and humidity. The same principles apply for checking the soil for moisture as they do inside. Place your finger into the soil about 2”-3”. If it feels dry, water thoroughly, wait a day, and check again. You may indeed find that your plant requires more water when it is outside, but this is not always the case. It is important to keep a close eye on any plants you’ve moved outdoors. 

Moving Indoor Plants Outside for the Summer

Do I need to mist my plant when it’s outside?

It depends on which area of the country you reside. In the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast and along the West Coast, summer humidity levels should be sufficient for indoor tropical plants. However, if you find yourself in the Southwest or a desert climate, misting your plants often is a good idea. You can also use a pebble tray.

Is it possible for my plant to get a sunburn?

Yes! Even sun-loving plants can burn if not acclimated properly, or placed in an area of intense sunlight. Bleached foliage can indicate sunburn, as well as brown striping on the leaves where they were exposed to direct sun rays. Sunburn isn’t usually lethal. You can clip off the affected leaves and wait for new leaves to form. Move your plant to a shadier area and it will bounce back. 

What if it rains? Can my plant stay outside? 

Absolutely!  Especially during a gentle and steady rainfall. Be mindful of the wind – always secure and protect your plants if the gentle rain turns into an all-out thunderstorm. Severe wind and rain can damage the foliage if your plants if they are not sheltered from the elements. Keep in mind where your plants are sitting once the rain stops and the sun appears again. Take care to protect the foliage from the bright sun rays.

Any other tips?

  • Once outside, check your plants’ leaves on a regular basis for any pests.
  • Fertilize regularly, especially if there has been quite a bit of rain. Too much rain can leech the soil of nutrients. Plant food will replenish any lost nutrients from the soil. Follow the instructions and always make sure the soil is damp before applying any fertilizer. 
  • When placing your plants outside, remove it from the saucer so the water can flow freely from the bottom of the pot during any rain showers. 

Check out Plant Mom’s favorite plants to bring outside here.