Moving houseplants outdoors
You can improve the vigor of houseplants by moving them outdoors for the summer, but it's best to wait until night temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and all danger of frost has passed.
Harden off plants by placing them in a shaded area for a few days and gradually exposing them to longer periods of sun. Provide protection from wind by using screens of burlap, shingles or other material.
Plants such as jade, poinsettia, asparagus fern, cactus and hibiscus can take full sun once they are hardened-off. Christmas cactus, azalea, umbrella tree, weeping fig and citrus prefer shade.
Fertilize houseplants on a regular basis and carefully monitor the pots for moisture. During hot spells, you may need to water pots daily. Sink small, potted houseplants directly into the garden to help keep roots cool and moist. Protect plants with plastic buckets if hail threatens.
In the fall, before danger of frost, trim off damaged or leggy growth and give plants one last light fertilization. Examine foliage and soil for signs of insects before you bring plants indoors. If an insecticide is necessary, read the label carefully and follow instructions. Also check the drainage holes on pots for slugs or pill bugs, which you can remove manually.
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Updated Friday, April 19, 2013