Home Plant guides Can you bring a houseplant outdoors?

Plant outdoors in the rain Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

Can you bring a houseplant outdoors?

Taking houseplants outside is something most plant owners have tried in the past. Perhaps your plant wasn't doing so well, so you decided to put it outside because "plants naturally live outside, perhaps it'll make my plant healthy again". You've probably found out that most houseplants are called houseplants for a reason, they die outside. But why is this and are there exceptions? Can you take houseplants outdoors at all? This is what we're going to explore in this post, because the answer to this question isn't a simple yes or no, but rather a "it depends".

There are certain situations in which you can take your houseplants outside, this is a short list of those situations:

We'll go over each of these situations and see if this applies to you. If it does, you might be able to take your houseplants outdoors. If non of these match your current situations, you can't take your houseplant outdoors and doing so will most likely kill your plant. We'll also go over a few alternatives to bringing houseplants outdoors.

The plant's natural environment

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Jungle Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

If you live in a climate that's very similar to the climate in which your houseplant naturally grows, there is a high chance that you can take your houseplant outdoors without any problems. Your houseplant will feel right at home outdoors and might not even have to settle in to the new environment. If you live in a climate that's similar to your plant's natural habitat, your plant might even grow better outdoors. It'll feel right at home and chances are that it will thrive outdoors. Here are a few examples of climates that are very similar to where the houseplant naturally grows:

  • 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 depends on which plants you can grow outdoors. If you live in a warm area, but it's very dry, you might still be able to grow your tropical plants outdoors, but you'll have to water very regularly to make sure your plant gets enough moisture. If you live in your plant's natural habitat, you won't have to take care of your plant at all, as the environment will do that for you.

Winter hardy plants

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Plant covered by snow Photo by Alex Dukhanov on Unsplash

If you live in a cold climate, like Northern Europe, The northern part of the USA and Canada or on the Southern hemisphere parts of South America, it's far too cold for tropical plants outdoors, especially in the winter. However, this doesn't automatically mean you can't bring any of your houseplants outdoors. If you have plants that are winter hardy and can survive in freezing cold temperatures in the winter, you can bring these outdoors without any problems.

If you bring any non-winter hardy plants outdoors during the spring, autumn (fall) or winter, they will get too cold and this will most likely kill your houseplants. They only time you might be able to bring some of your houseplants outdoors is on the hottest days during the summer. However, if you live in a colder climate, it's a good idea to keep your plants indoors all year. It's better to be sure that your plant stays alive indoors than take the risk to bring them outside.

Bringing plants outdoors in the summer

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Plants outdoors in the sun Photo by Elisa Hane on Unsplash

The only time you, as a person living in a colder climate, can potentially bring your houseplants outdoors is on a warm summer day. However, even then the answer to "Can your bring your houseplant outdoors?" is not a definite "Yes!". Whether you can bring your houseplant outdoors on this warm summer day depends on the weather on that day. If you're trying to bring a succulent outdoors to sit in the sun, you need to make sure it's going to stay dry that day. A little bit of rain is no problem, but if it's raining all day, it will over water your succulent.

However, this would be a great situation for a Monstera. It loves the warm and humidity. Make sure you have proper drainage and your Monstera should be fine outside during this time. Just make sure it's indoors before the sun goes down, because this is when it'll start to cool down quickly.

Alternatives to bringing your plants outdoors

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There are a few legitimate reasons to bring your plants outdoors, like these:

  • Bringing your plant outdoors to get extra sunlight
  • Bringing your plant outdoors to get rid of pests
  • Bringing your plant outdoors for rainwater

But these are not the only solutions to help your plants. For example, you can also place your plants closer to a southern facing window (northern hemisphere) and northern facing window (southern hemisphere) to give your plants a good amount of sunlight.

Plants in a window sill Plants in a window sill for extra sunlight

Getting rid of pests is an important reason to bring your plants outdoors. However, if you can't because you don't live in the right climate or the weather isn't perfect, you're not out of options. There are plenty of ways to get rid of pests on your houseplants by following the steps outlined in "How to get rid of spider mites on your houseplants" and others. Bringing your houseplants outside to get rid of the pests may do more harm to your plant than the pest ever did. So it's better to treat your plant indoors and allow it to recover. Putting it outside could shock, your plant and this will make it less likely your plant will ever recover.

Bringing your plant outdoors to get rainwater sounds like a great solution, but this is also an unnecessary risk. If you want to use rainwater to water your plants, collect it in a rain collection system, let it sit in your house for at least a day to get to room temperature, and then use a watering can to water your plants. Rainwater could be too cold for your plants when it falls out of the sky. This could harm your plants' sensitive roots and cause root rot. There is also no good way to regulate how much water your plant is getting when you're letting it sit outside in the rain. This is okay if you have great drainage, but it's easier to use a watering can to water your plant.

Conclusion

Bringing your houseplants outdoors can seem like a great idea, but whether you should actually do it is not always a clear "Yes" or "No". There are many things you should consider before bringing your houseplant outdoors, like: do I live in a climate that's similar to the natural habitat of my plant, can my plant survive in colder temperatures, is it warm and dry/humid enough? Whether or not you can bring your houseplant outdoors doesn't always mean you need to. There is a lot you can do to help your plant that doesn't involve moving them outdoors for a certain period of time.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide or donate a plant in order to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: outdoors, winter, humidity, sun, pests

Posted on: November 28th, 2020

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