Happy (very rainy) first day of Summer! It's the perfect time to let your indoor plants soak up some sun, good ol' Virginia humidity, and fresh air. Grab your oversized sunhat and SPF my green-thumbed friends, because we've got some tips and tricks to make this transition a breeze. Your baby is all grown up, so let's see what they can do in the great outdoors.
Test the Waters (Literally!): Before taking the plunge, make sure to check the weather forecast. You don't want your precious plants caught in a sudden downpour or battling strong gusts of wind. Choose a calm and sunny day, as if your plants were heading for a relaxing beach vacation. A little rain won't hurt, of course. But torrential downpours? That's not their love language.
Gradual Exposure, Like Getting a Tan: Just like us, plants need time to adjust to the sun. Start by giving them short outdoor excursions - a few hours in a partially shaded area, shielding them from potential sunburn (can you aloe aloe?). Slowly increase their outdoor time, and they'll reward you with some impressive growth. Just make sure you don't give them the same treatment we all gave ourselves in our teenage years. Their sun damage will show a LOT more quickly. Full sun should generally be avoided in favor of pleasant shade or nice, filtered light. Which leads me to....
3. The Gardener's Sunhat: You wouldn't go outside without sunscreen, would you? Well, neither should your plants! Introduce them to the outdoors with a horticultural shade cloth. This will protect their delicate leaves from getting sunburned and keep them looking fabulously green. Natural shade will work too. Your shade source will depend on what is accessible to you and your plant baby.
4. Get Your Move On: When it's time for the grand outdoor relocation, think like a professional mover. Make sure the new container has drainage holes, because nobody likes wearing wet socks. You can even upgrade them with fresh, nutrient-rich soil if you feel like it needs an extra boost. Note from Mom: If you have used systemic granules in your soil, PLEASE swap it out for fresh soil before putting your plant outside. The harsh chemicals in the granules will kind of...maim our pollinator friends.
5. Keep an Eye Out for Unwanted Guests: Keep an eye out for pesky pests trying to make their way into your plant's happy place. Regularly inspect your plants for unwelcome visitors like aphids or spider mites. A little vigilance goes a long way in keeping your plants pest-free and growing like crazy!
Okay, it's time. You're now armed with the knowledge to make the most of the warmer months by moving your indoor plants outside. Remember, if you are like me and will completely forget they exist, I would advise AGAINST moving them outdoors. However, with a little planning, gradual exposure, and some vigilant pest control, your leafy friends will thrive in their temporary outdoor abode. So, if you are ready, let your plants enjoy the sunny side of life. Cheers to a beautiful summer full of new growth!