Ed93April 20, 2012

A quick question. Keep in mind I'm a little bit of a nervous nelly... But I moved all of my plants outside in the porch (philos, dracaena sanderiana, spider plants, pachira, sansevieria, corn plant, peace lily, parlor palm, and majesty palm). The nightly lows sometimes dip into the forties. And the high have been sixties and seventies and at the lowest fifties. Have I jumped the gun a little bit? I figured they woul be ok but I want to try to avoid damage.

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Also, the porch is very shady. The Pachira and the majesty palm are getting good light but should I move sanderiana and The corn plant out on the patio for more sun or would they be ok in a mostly shady environment? The same goes for the parlor palm and the spider plants.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 10:56AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Of your list, I've had all but pachira. A dip into the 40's shouldn't bother any of them.

Anything beyond very early morning or late evening sun has caused sunburn on peace lily and parlor palm for me, never tried majesty palm anywhere but deep shade.

The philo, sans, and spiders can handle a significant amount of full sun (in general, there are so many diff ones!). The others would be in the middle - no mid-day sun.

The best way to judge your particular plants is to gradually move them into more and more sun until you notice a little burn. Back them up a bit & there you have found the perfect spot.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 11:53AM
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Even if your porch is shady, it's much brighter than when your plants were indoors. In spide of window direction.

Like Purple said, all of your plants should be acclimated, from shade to brighter light.

Three plants to keep an eye on: Sans, Parlor Palm and Corn Plant. Sans colors could fade, but Corn Plant and Parlor Palm leaves can burn. Been there done that.

As far as temp, most plants are a lot hardier than we think. If temps were to dip 35F or lower, I'd think twice about keeping them outdoors.

Hi Purple. Toni

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 12:36PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

There are a few issues with being hasty about moving houseplants out too soon. First, if you've fertilized recently, ammonium toxicity can become an issue at soil temps under 55*, particularly when using urea and sometimes organic fertilizers, like fish emulsion. Second, many growers think that because there is no visible damage that is immediately apparent, that there must not be any ill effects. Not so. Most house plants have higher temperature requirements in order for the plant to carry on normal photosynthesis and absorb/transport nutrients. At cool temperatures, some nutrients may not be able to be utilized and photosynthesis can be greatly impaired. This can occur at temps as high as 55* in some plants. Unfortunately, the plant's ability to return to its normal photosynthesizing ability when temperatures return to more favorable levels often lags the temperature movement by a period of days. This is one of the reasons I usually suggest moving plants outdoors when nights are reliably above 55* or moving them in and out as temps allow. Houseplants exposed to cold nights & warm days usually fare poorly in their ability to carry on photosynthesis when compared to plants grown under warm night and day conditions.

Essentially, when exposed to cool temps, your plant goes on battery power. Instead of getting its energy from current production, it eats into it's energy reserves because it's using energy faster than it can produce it; so, even though you can't SEE with the eye what is occurring, trying to keep your houseplants at temps above 55* at all times, and preferably even warmer, is the best course.

What plants tolerate is different than what they prefer, and the little things, when taken as a whole, are what makes the difference between thriving and just surviving. It's good to remember that our jobs as growers center on reducing or eliminating factors that limit growth and vitality; and one of those factors, for a very high % of houseplants, would be temperatures too cold for the plant's systems to operate efficiently.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 1:01PM
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Thanks! This has been helpful. Temperatures aren't going to be consistently chilly for too long so if it starts to go much further down I'll bring them in. I think when it comes to sun and temperature plants are a little hardier then I suspect them to be. Upper forties has really been as cold at night as its been (fifties has been more the norm)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Today is the highest it has been this year- 60F and my plants have been outside for a few hours for the past 2 days now, I bring them in at night, sill in the 30's. So far they seem happy. I keep a close eye on the temp outside, if under 50F (in the shade) they come in. But i only have a few small ones so it isnt a big deal to move them. ;) Plus I am pairanoid with them... lol.

I hope I am doing them no harm with this inside/outside thing. Would hate to lose any of them.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 3:11PM
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Al is correct in all he stated and I would add that when moving any plant outside it should be shaded for at least a week to acclimate to the much more intense sunlight. Most any Dracena will tolerate full sun and produce the best growth when grown in full sun but need to be acclimated to outside light properly. These plants are woody lilies in the family Agavacea native to the jungles of central and southern Africa some such as the Corn Plant-Dracena fragrans reaching heights in excess of 25 feet. The Majesty Palm comes from Madagascar and while young under 8 foot prefers a bit of shade but when larger will also prefer more sunlight just be sure to not let this palm as with most palms dry out.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 6:43PM
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