Adjusting Tropical Plants to the Outdoors
To say that indoor gardening has become a trend over the past few years would be an understatement; obsession might be a better term for it! It seems that more and more Canadian homes are rejecting the cold, white landscapes that cover our winters for lush, tropical jungles that fill their living rooms (and every other room) with vibrant colours. We may not be able to ignore winter, but at least this way we can still get some clean air!
Now that the cold weather is starting to ebb once again, you have a choice to make: do you take your houseplants outside or keep them in? To be clear, there’s no right or wrong answer here. Many of us like to take our houseplants outside for the summer months, since so many flowering tropicals need that bright sunlight to bloom. Plus, a banana plant can double as a shade umbrella! Here are some helpful tips to get your tropicals to flourish outside:
1. Outdoor temperatures must be above 10°C (50°F) both day and night, though we’re more comfortable waiting until it reaches 15°C (60°F). This usually happens around mid- to late June, Mother Nature permitting, until around Labour Day weekend when we have to bring our houseplants back indoors. Keep checking those weather updates to make sure your plants don’t get chilly.
2. Your plants will need to slowly adjust to outdoor elements, or else they’ll get sunburnt or stressed. Put them in a shady spot on the first day, then morning sun the second day. Gradually increase the amount of direct sun over the next week or so.
3. Outdoors, tropicals will dry out faster and will need to be watered more frequently. Rainfall can help with this, though a wet summer could lead to other issues. Check your plants to monitor their soil moisture, and water according to weather patterns.
4. Keep your tropicals in their pots. Planting them directly into the garden may look gorgeous, but you’ll have to dig them up and repot them come the fall and this puts a lot of unnecessary stress on your plants. Try burying the entire pot into the garden to get the same effect.
5. Keep your plants in one spot to cut down on stress. Once the temperature starts to drop at the end of the season, it’s much safer to bring your tropicals back inside then moving them back and forth. They’ll go through an adjustment period once their back in the house, usually by dropping their leaves. Prune their branches and mist them daily to help them through the transition.
Like we said above, there’s no rule that says you have to put your tropicals outdoors. If you choose to adjust your tropical houseplants to the outdoors they can create a beautiful tropical feel in your outdoor spaces. However if indoors if what fits best, they are just as happy there too!