10 fantastic house plants that can go outside in summer

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Written By Martin Cole

Plantsman, gardener, plant-obsessive

House plants that can go outside in the summer can give you double service. They can brighten up your home in winter and decorate your outdoor spaces in summer.

House plants that are robust enough to live outside in the warmer months can benefit from the fresh air, rainwater and natural conditions they will encounter. And, of course, and you can enjoy the sight of your plants enhancing your outdoor areas.

There is some advice below on how to prepare your plants for their outdoor adventure, as well as some tips for helping them survive and thrive outdoors.

But first, here are the details on 10 of the best house plants that can go outside in summer and be moved back in for winter.

1. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

The snake plant is an evergreen perennial with stiff, upright leaves. It is one of the toughest plants around, so naturally heads it out list. It tolerates a range of light and temperature conditions and can handle a bit of neglect.

Keep it in the same pot when moving it outside once temperatures are above 50°F (10°C) at night consistently. Bring back inside before night temps drop below 50°F (10°C) in fall.

2. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

golden pothos

Pothos is a vine plant with green or green/yellow variegated heart-shaped leaves. It is versatile and adaptable.

Keep in same pot or even plant in the ground outside once day and night temperatures are above 60°F (15.5°C). Bring back inside before night temps are below 50°F (10°C) in early fall.

Read our full Golden Pothos plant profile.

3. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)

Aglaonema
Aglaonema ‘Sparkling Sarah’

The Chinese evergreen has patterned oval leaves and does well in indoor bright, indirect light or outdoor shady spots.

Move it outside once day and night temps reach 60°F steadily and bring back inside before night temps drop below 50°F in early fall.

Read our full Aglaonema plant profile.

4. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

spathiphyllum wallisii - plants that can go outside in summer

The peace lily has dark green leaves and white blooms. It likes indoor bright, indirect light and outdoor shaded, humid spaces in summer. It is a tough plant, so well suited to the indoor-outdoor lifetsyle.

Keep inside until outdoor day and night temps hit 60°F (15.5°C), then move outside in its pot. Bring back inside when night temps approach 50°F (10°C) in fall.

The full Peace Lily plant profile is here.

5. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Zamioculcas zamiifolia

The ZZ plant has shiny, rounded leaves and can tolerate neglect. It is a robust plant, which is why it makes the list, but it needs to be in shade, so be careful where you place it.

Place it outside once day and night temps exceed 60°F (15.5°C) and bring back inside to its indoor pot before temps drop below 50°F (10°C) at night in early fall.

Read our full ZZ Plant Profile.

6. Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)

philodendron hederaceum

The philodendron is a fast-growing vine with heart-shaped leaves. It is a house plant favourite because withstands a wide range of temperatures and lighting conditions.

Keep it in the same pot when moving it outside after temperatures consistently reach 60°F day and night. Bring the philodendron back inside before night-time temperatures drop below 50°F in early fall.

Read our full Philodendron hederaceum plant profile.

7. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

crassula ovata
Crassula ovata” by Forest & Kim Starr is licensed under CC BY 3.0

The jade plant is a succulent shrub with thick, round leaves. It prefers drier conditions and bright light.

Move the jade plant outside once outdoor temperatures reach 60°F (15.5°C) during the day and remain above 50°F (10°C) at night. It can withstand more light than most of the other plants on this list, as long as you gradually introduce it to the brighter light. Return it indoors before temperatures fall below 50°F at night in early autumn.

8. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Ponytail palm

The ponytail palm is a small tree with long, drooping green leaves. It is quite tolerant of both indoor and outdoor environments and can stand bright light and heat. That is why it is one of the best house plants that can go outside in summer.

Keep it in the same container when placing it outside after temperatures consistently exceed 60°F day and night. Bring the palm back inside before the temperature drops below 50°F overnight in the fall.

There is more on the Ponytail palm here.

9. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Chlorophytum comosum (spider plant)

The spider plant is another tough and versatile plant. It produces runners and plantlets and thrives in bright, indirect light.

Move it outside once outdoor temperatures reach 60°F (15.5°C) both day and night, keeping it in the same pot. Return the spider plant to its indoor container if temperatures fall below 50°F (10°C) at night in early autumn.

Read our Spier Plant profile here

10. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Nephrolepsis exalta, hawaiiensis
Nephrolepis exaltata subsp. hawaiiensis by David Eickhoff is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Boston fern has elegant, long, feathery fronds. It prefers bright, indirect indoor light and shady, humid outdoor spaces. Transport it outside once day and night temperatures exceed 60°F consistently and bring it back inside before the thermometer dips below 50°F at night.

House Plants that can go outside in summer

Preparing the house plants that can go outside in summer

The house plants that can cope with the more hostile outdoor environment are, as you would expect, at the tougher end of the house plant spectrum. But, even so, there are some step you need to take to get your plants ready for their change of environment.

Here are the best tips for preparing the house plants that can go outside in summer:

  • Gradual Acclimatisation:
    • Start by placing your plants outside in a shaded, protected area for a few hours each day.
    • Gradually increase their outdoor time over 1-2 weeks to help them adjust to the brighter light, temperature changes, and wind.
    • This is probably the most important tip, and it is especially important to manage exposure to direct sunlight carefully. Indoor plants are used to relatively low light, so their leaves will be scorched by too much sun exposure.
  • Pest Inspection and Treatment:
    • Before moving plants outdoors, inspect them thoroughly for pests.
    • Treat any infestations with appropriate methods, such as insecticidal soap or neem oil, to prevent spreading pests outdoors.
  • Repotting if Necessary:
    • Check if any plants have outgrown their pots and repot them into slightly larger containers with fresh potting mix.
    • This gives them more room to grow and ensures better nutrient availability.
  • Pruning and Cleaning:
    • Prune any dead or yellowing leaves to encourage healthy growth.
    • Clean the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and allow for better photosynthesis.
  • Watering Adjustment:
    • Water the plants thoroughly a day before moving them outside.
    • This ensures they are well-hydrated and better equipped to handle the transition.
  • Fertilization:
    • Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to support their growth in the new environment.
    • Avoid over-fertilizing, which can stress the plants.
house plants that can go outside in summer
House plants adorning an entrance door in Croatia

Protect your house plants when they go outside in summer

Once you are ready to place your indoor plants outside for the summer, there are some further things you to consider before moving them to ensure that they survive and thrive in their outdoor conditions.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Avoid Direct Sunlight Initially:
    • Place plants in a location where they will receive indirect sunlight or dappled shade to prevent leaf burn.
    • Gradually introduce them to more direct sunlight if their specific light requirements allow.
    • Plants that generally prefer low light conditions should be placed in permanent shade. Cacti and succulents and the like can be exposed to more sun over time.
  • Monitor Watering Needs Closely:
    • Outdoor conditions and higher light levles can dry out soil more quickly. Check soil moisture regularly and water as needed.
    • Ensure pots have good drainage to prevent waterlogging.
  • Remove plants from their decorative pot holder:
    • Don’t leave your plants in their decorative ceramic pot holders. These have no drainage holes, so the plants risk becoming waterlogged, especially if you don’t keep a watch on them and there is lots of rain.
  • Protect From Extreme Weather:
    • Be ready to move plants indoors or to a sheltered spot in case of strong winds, heavy rain, or hail.
    • Use stakes or supports for taller plants to prevent wind damage.
    • Group plants together for support.
  • Check for Pests and Diseases Regularly:
    • Inspect plants frequently for signs of pests or disease.
    • Treat any issues promptly to prevent spread and damage.
  • Use Pot Feet for Drainage:
    • Elevate pots off the ground to improve drainage and prevent root rot.
    • This also helps keep the pot from overheating on hot surfaces.
  • Adapt Fertilization to Growth:
    • Observe plant growth and adjust fertilization accordingly.
    • Outdoor growth may be more vigorous, requiring more frequent fertilization, but always follow product guidelines.

House plants that can go outside on summer
House plants outside in summer in Korcula, Croatia

If you live in a cold climate, like I currently do, your house plants give you a year round sense of warm humid rainforests or dusty hot deserts.

You can really lift your outdoor seating areas in summer by bringing the tropical or desert vibe outside.

Give it a try and let us know in the comments how it goes or whether you have any questions we can help you with.

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