Putting plants outside

Joe1980(5)May 30, 2011

Now that it's getting warm finally, in fact, here in WI it went from heat 3 days ago to A/C today and this week, I am pondering my options for placing my babies outside. Mind you, I've never put them outside, so I'm new to this. The exception is succulents, which I've always put out in the sun. I am having anxiety about burning my plants. I realize you need to harden them up before allowing direct sun, but my problem is that my deck faces south-east, and there is really no place that is totally shaded all day. I do have a gazebo, with the table & chairs underneath, so there is protection from the sun, but like I said, at some point, the sun angles in at just about any spot. Staying on one said, there is exposure to eastern sun for a few hours, then shade the reast of the day. Directly in the corners, the gazebo frame breaks up the sun. I also worry about nasty weather; wind, heavy rain, and even hail.

For succulents I have jades, portulacarias, a desert rose, and a large snake plant. All but the heavy snake plant have been put out in full sun on any day that's sunny and 65 or higher, then brought in at night. Basically, they're fully acclimated already, and have been soaking up sun all spring. Now here is a list of my non-succulents that I have NEVER put outside.


Variegated Schefflera

Lemon-lime Dracaena

Ficus Alii

2 Chinese Evergreens

Plain old Ficus, a small one

What's the best approach with these guys? I figure to keep the chinese evergreens indoors, but I hear that the rest will be happier outside. I also fear pests, especially since I noticed something was digging in my jalapenos this morning, which are in the 5-1-1 mix. All of my tropicals are in 5-1-1 mix, the succulents in gritty mix. I have also noticed that my pachira leaves get quite tender when I put it outside, and rip easily. I'd like to avoid destroying my plants in my attempt to make them happy. Thanks in advance everyone.


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Joe, aside from your gazebo, how about an area on the side of your house? Or under a large tree?

Before accumulating a zillion plants, I'd take tropicals out on cloudy days. Listen to the weather report, wait until they predicted' cloudy, the next 3 or 4 days.

Another option is to set tropicals out one hour, the next day two hours, etc, continue doing this until plants have acclimated.

I'd keep the Sans, Chinese Evergreen and Dracaena indoors. Your Lemon-Lime will scorch unless it's placed in a very very shady spot. The same with Chinese Evergreens.

Rain is actually good for plants..there's nothing you can do about winds knocking plants down, other than placing a brick inside the pot.
Belive me, I'm not far from the 'Windy City.' There are times I've lifted felled plants 7-10 times in an afternoon.

As for insects..well, unless you spray the area, 'ants, spiders, earwigs' they manage to find their way in.
I don't mind bees, especially for fruiting/flowering plants; they usually leave after doing their thing. lol.

Although last year was a Honey-Bee disaster. These bees decided to build a nest in one of my pots. They were entering and exiting through large, side drainage holes.
I wasn't aware. While hosing, I must have startled them because the next thing I knew, a swarm of these little b****** were around me. I got stung at least 5 times..This never happened before, and don't know why they chose the one pot to make their nest. Although these bees are tiny, their stingers hurt like he**.

Are you in a woody/tree area? If not, there's less chance of creepy-crawlers making a home in your soil/mix.

Joe, was your Pachira in direct sun? My two do much better outside, since they're in a shadier spot. In summer, mine are cared for as tropicals, in winter, like succulents.
Don't forget squirrels. They've eaten several holiday cactus and a very pretty avocado. Including the pit.

Other than the things I've mentioned, you have nothing to worry about. lol..
Really, plants love the outdoors. If they need repotting, now is the time. New growth/roots need room to grow.
Tropicals enjoy humidity, fresh air and sun. Succulents need fresh air and soak up the sunlight.

Your plants will do fine, Joe. Check regularly, and watch them grow. Toni

I'm sure your plants will be fine.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 3:00PM
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I figured on keeping the dracaena inside with the chinese everygreens. I didn't think my snake plant would want to be inside though. I figured it's a succulent, and probably likes sun. I have been plopping it out in the sun in small doses along with my other succulents for a while now, although not nearly as much do to the 50lb pot of griity mix. The problem with my house is that it sits at an angle in relation to the directions. I don't have a side of the house that faces north, I have a corner that faces north. So, the "shady" side of the house get a few hours of eastern sun in the mornings. Putting my plants out under the trees would be like giving the critters something new to play with. I have tons of critters here, including chipmunks, ground squirrels, regular squirrels, mice, shrews, frogs, toads, many rabbits, and tons of birds. I've had issues with chipmunks digging in pots on the deck in the past, and bluejays hiding seeds and corn in them too. It also seems that within minutes of putting anything outside, spiders are spinning webs all over them. Also, last weekend, my plants spent some time outside, and come Monday morning, while eating breakfast before work, I saw something bouncing across the kitchen. I found a tree frog playing around by the plants, which I got a kick out of, but I had to gently shoo him out the door, where he quickly jumped into a hibiscus on the deck. So, needless to say, I have critters galore, and being on a deck does not deter them.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 3:20PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I start by putting my plants into 'bright shade' at first.
Over the course of two weeks or so, I move the sunlovers into exposed areas.

My Pachira burns in the sun, so be very careful with that one. Mine Summers on the front deck
in the shade of a large maple tree, receiving only dappled or mosaic sunlight. I've burned the
leaves on mine at both ends of the season....in May and in September.

Portulacarias seem to handle the adjustment quite well.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 4:10PM
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Well, after toying with my plants for the day, I made some decisions. I have absolutely NO kind of FULL shade, and no ability to put anything under trees, because my trees aren't all that big. They get full out sunshine for parts of the day. I would literally have to move plants to match the sun's rotation. Anyways, even in the shade of sitting on the middle of the table under the gazebo, my pachira started to wilt with the 88 degree heat, and a slight breeze. In it went, back to it's sunny southwest window, where it grows 6 feet per year already, although this year I'm pinching growth. My ficus alii is still out, but I had to shift it around under the gazebo to keep it in the shade. I'll have to bring it in tonight, because I will be at work tomorrow, and can't be here to shift it around. Same with my schefflera, inside.

I guess it seems like I'll be keeping them all inside anyways, but, on a positive note, I can finally leave my succulents outside, although I see some mid 50's for lows coming. All in all, I get very good growth with no outside time at all, but it'd be nice to summer them outside. But, the hassel is too much with this instant jump to high 80's. It's a no win for me with outdoor plants, because I could always get more succulents for the full sun, but then I have no good place for too many in winter. Oh well, I guess I'll play with my tropicals inside, and my new attempts at bonsai outside.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:48PM
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Joe..My mind would be made up, just seeing SPIDERS!
Plants would all stay indoors. lol.

I cannot tolerate arachnids. Especially thick-body types. And it's not like we can spray Raid on our greens.

I feed birds, rabbits, and yes, even squirrels, in hopes they ignore my plants. So far so good..for some reason squirrels like Christmas/Thanksgiving Cactus. They'll dig up the entire plant/s, then eat down to the roots. I outsmarted them by placing holiday cactus in baskets on poles with hangers.
But honestly, my plants aren't the only reason wildlife get a meal..I love critters..except bugs!! Don't mind ladybugs, lightning bugs and butterflys. Even bees, as long as they don't sting me. lol.

Your frog story is so cute. lol.

Sans are succulent, but not all sux need full/direct sun. In fact, a few of my Sans colors faded because of too much light. 'In an east window.'

I've considered placing signs on each plant.. 'NO Insects Allowed,' but found most can't read or they're dilinquents and feel my laws don't apply to them. :)

Joe, the thing to do before bringing plants indoors is hose and rehose. Rid the webs, and soak insects or whatever makes a home in your medium.
My plants are hosed, twice outside, then again indoors. Toni

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 3:12PM
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