Houseplants and Heat Waves

Houseplants and Heat Waves

Does keeping your houseplants outdoors during hot weather hurt them? The answer is no. 
The county I live in sends me a text when there is a heat advisory. This summer, I’ve gotten a lot of texts. This summer has been a hot one. And while my husband and I are super vigilant about keeping our three dogs out of the heat and well hydrated, we never worry about certain members of our household in really hot weather: our house plants.

Houseplants like hot weather
We’ve moved many of our houseplants outdoors to the porch for the summer and they are doing fine. In fact, they are loving it. (It helps that we have a tiered wire rack where they can all hang out together.) Most have put on growth spurts and I can see there may be some pruning in our future when we move them back indoors.

At home outdoors
Why are our houseplants doing so well? It’s like they have been transported back home to the jungle. Most of all common houseplants hail from tropical areas, such as Africa, Central America, and Asia -- basically the areas of the globe that ring the equator. Our porch in summer is pretty hot and humid. Just the way they like it.

Watch sun exposure
While elevated temperatures won’t bother your plants outdoors, exposure to too much sun may. Make sure plants are placed in outdoor areas that match their light needs. For example, ferns and ivies love shaded areas because they naturally grow on the jungle or forest floor protected from harsh light by a canopy of trees. Other tropicals are happy growing under open skies. Yucca, aloe, succulents, and crotons thrive in full sun if they're acclimated to it.

Water often
Houseplants that are outdoors are exposed to wind which can cause them to dry out more frequently than they would indoors. Make sure to keep them well watered (which is way easier to do outside because you can use a hose).

Consider your plants indoors
During hot weather, your indoor houseplants are the ones you need to pay attention to the most. As mentioned above, most houseplants love heat and humidity. Air conditioning removes both from the air in your home. During a heat wave, when you crank up your AC, it makes their environment less hospitable to these tropical natives.

To keep your indoor houseplants happy during summer, locate them away from air conditioning vents. And increase the humidity level around them by using a humidity tray. Your houseplants will thank you.

Written by Karen Weir-Jimerson