House Plant “Vacation”

Posted by & filed under Don Buma Blog, Garden News.

You might want to consider having your house plants go on a vacation once the weather warms up for good, night temperatures consistently above 55 degrees. It is often a real house plantrefreshing house plant pick-me-up for them after a long season of in-house low light levels. An area with dappled shade generally is most beneficial, although a porch or location with light, not dense, shade from trees will also work well. The location should receive adequate wind protection and if a water spigot is close by, so much the better.

Full sun should be avoided, especially early in the season. The plant’s leaves have grown and adjusted to low light conditions and placing them in the sun will cause them to sunburn. The technical term is photo-oxidize, but the result is the same – brown, crisped leaves. If it is possible you can even sink the pots in the ground. This will keep roots cooler and help to reduce watering frequency – particularly if the pots are made of clay. Peat moss placed under and around the pots will hold moisture and also helps keep the roots cool. It will also prevent clay pots from drying out as quickly.

Water when the potting soil dries to about ½ inch deep in the pot, dry to the touch and somewhat below the surface. Be sure that the water is not just running down between the pot and the root ball. If water starts coming out the bottom of the pot as soon as you start to water this is likely the case. Water slowly and intermittently while pressing the edges of the soil down around the rim of the pot. You might have to do this several times during the season as the root ball has a tendency to shrink away from the sides of the pot as it dries.

Rotate the pots an quarter or half turn every couple of weeks so that they develop even growth. You may be surprised how well they do. Be forewarned though, a disadvantage of placing house plants outside is that they can enjoy it so much that they may outgrow their inside home!