How and when to move plants outdoors this spring Home and garden

The mother is a jade plant, her “son”, “grandson” and the rest of the “family” spend the winter at Dennis Dannenberg’s house.

Originally from the eastern cape of South Africa, these succulents thrive in sunny dry weather. So Denenberg gives them plenty of time outdoors when the temperature is warm.

A few years ago, he moved jade plants outside his home in Mannheim to spend time in the sun. The temperature quickly reached the mid-80s and gave the plants sunburn.

“The leaves have dried up. It was awful, ”he says. “But they recovered.”

Many houseplants value their time outdoors for extra sunlight, warmer temperatures and higher humidity. However, move them at the wrong time or in the wrong place and their vacation can be bad, possibly deadly.

Follow these tips to help your plants sunbathe safely in the sun this spring and summer.

Why take plants outside?

At Hershey Gardens the largest plants of the educational and horticultural greenhouse wing go outside throughout the season to protect them from large crowds and improve their health. Large plants in motion include the orange tree calamondina and the recently donated cocoa tree.

“We can take them outside where it’s healthier for them,” says Jody Davy, the conservatory’s manager. “They will give good growth from the outside.”

The jade family at Dannenberg’s house along with plumeria, calla lilies, birds of paradise, aloes and cacti take to the streets.

“That’s where they want to be,” says Dannenberg. who conducts tours of his garden. “It really rejuvenates the plant.”

If the plant is growing too much, think about making cuttings. At Conestoga House and Gardens (which opens in the May 3 season), some of the tropical and subtropical plants grow so large that they are too large to return inside in the fall. Growing cuttings means that a smaller version can be saved.

In Hershey Gardens the smaller plants go out to the indoor area in the morning or two about every two to three weeks for showering and drinking. For example, the Mexican tree fern has a fuzzy trunk that traps dust indoors, she says.

“It really helps for these houseplants to take them out,” Davy says. “If we have any pest problems, it helps clear them of leaves. It helps to really moisturize up to the cracks of the plant, in all the small grooves and nooks and crannies.

The color of Croton’s leaves will glow when there is more sunlight outside.

A new banana plant will benefit from the wind to strengthen its stem. But a windy day can be too much for more fragile plants or pots that can tip over, Davy says.

Inside the Hershey Butterfly Greenhouse, humidity is typically 75% to 80%, and the level loved by tropical plants, she says. The educational horticultural wing of the greenhouse has high ceilings and a system of ventilation, ventilation, air circulation, which complicates such a high level of humidity. In the cold months, staff moisten the leaves, watered several times a week, and plants with watercress – twice a week. In the warm season, plants can get more moisture outdoors.

When should plants be taken outside?

As this spring has shown, temperatures can fluctuate. To be safe, wait until the threat of frost has passed. Instead of choosing a date on your calendar, keep an eye on the weather.

Dannenberg is looking for daytime temperatures above 50 and nighttime temperatures above zero. In case of cold, it covers the plants with bamboo leaves or stems cut from the garden.

Davy is waiting for the start until the morning temperature stays 55 degrees. It starts with moving the plant to a place protected from direct sunlight for an hour. On the fourth day the plants spend several days outdoors for two hours. After three hours a day the plants need to get used to the new environment.

Wait until the temperature reaches 60 degrees at night so the plants can stay outdoors around the clock, Davy says.

Mistakes to avoid

Do not place the plant in direct sunlight.

“The tropical plants you keep in your home come from the undergrowth in nature,” Davy says. “They’re not used to the direct sun.”

Instead, place them indoors or hang on a tree with lots of leaves. Sheltering plants on a covered porch or patio also helps prevent them from heavy rains or strong winds that can shred leaves and dry out the soil.

Do not allow the plants to dry out.

Even in the shade the plants will be more light than indoors. Outside also brings more air flow, so the plants may need to be watered daily or more often than once a day, especially at the beginning of their stay in the fresh air.

“Check it out and check it out often,” Davy says. “Don’t just say ‘OK, I smoked it for a week,’ because you may have a dead plant.”

When should you bring them back inside?

Apply the plants before the temperature reaches 40 degrees in autumn. Autumn is also a good time to transplant, especially if the plant and its roots have grown over the summer. For more tips on moving indoors, visit

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