Can these houseplants go outside?

Bayville, NJ

Hi all --

I have these houseplants that I want to put outside. Can anyone confirm that they'll be okay? I believe they will be but I want to be sure. And how much sun is okay?

purple passion
snake plant
spath (peace lily)
spider plants

Another question re the purple passion: I always understood that I should not get water on the fuzzy leaves... thus if I put it outside what will happen to it if it rains or otherwise gets wet?

The pothos was previously at my office for many years. After I got laid off I brought it home and put it outside, but almost immediately several leaves turned yellow, so I brought it back inside. I'm concerned about trying it outdoors again.

Any advice would be great! Thanks you!


Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

They can all be moved outdoors for summer. Just don't put them in direct sun. Once a leaf is burned then that leaf will be damaged from then on. If it is really ugly then you can cut it off as new ones will replace it. Start out in a shady area and as they get adjusted to their new home, you can gradually move them to the outer edges of the shade so they get more sun. They should all respond nicely. Peace lily is probably the one you want to shade the most due to large leaves.

Maybe someone else can answer the question about purple passion and water on the leaf. I would think it wouldn't hurt as long as it dries. What does it do in the wild? I'm sure it must rain where it is endemic.

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Hi Cindy: I agree with the post above. Just want to add that houseplants don't need full sun outdoors. That is why they are called "house plants".

I used to give my plants a vacation under a large tree for dappled shade/sun. Early morning sun is also ok.

The potho, philodendron, and snake plant are not sun lovers. They prefer bright light. The purple passion need more light to keep the purple color. Water won't hurt the leaves. Nature wouldn't be that cruel.

Watch for bugs. Bring your plants in 2 weeks before you expect to turn on central heating. Houseplants need to adjust from the outdoors before you turn your heater on. Give them a good spraying with Malathion to get rid of any bugs that try to sneak in for the winter.

Mount Vernon, OH

Other thing is if you move them outside a few of them may experience shock especially if it is different sun/shade . So I would put them somewhere it is almost like the house and then if the place you want them is brighter adjust them slowly.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

They adjust quickly as long as they don't get sunburned. Water well including foliage when you move them outside.

This begonia gets some afternoon sun for example:

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Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

It's good to remember there are no such things as 'houseplants' - only outdoor plants that tolerate indoor conditions to varying degrees. None of my plants spend the summer indoors. Some plants commonly grown indoors will thrive in full sun conditions & others need some protection from midday sun, or need shade. You'll just have to do your research or experiment to see how your plant reacts. It IS important to move all plants from indoors to shade before exposing to direct sun, though - unless they were growing under very bright supplemental lighting. Open shade (shade with open sky above) is best.

Generally speaking, plants love it outdoors and only tolerate indoor conditions.


Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Good point Al.

I'd like to add that most of the "house plants" are from tropical areas so they can handle sunny conditions very well in their native habitats. They just can't tolerate very cold conditiions.

It amuses me when someone says you mustn't get the leaves wet or you can't put this in the sun and yet most of the time that is not the case at all.

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Bayville, NJ

Quote from hcmcdole :


It amuses me when someone says ... you can't put this in the sun ...

THANK YOU ALL for such helpful advice!!

@hcmcdole -- It's funny you say this. I bought a couple of gorgeous colorful coleus and the person at the nursery told me emphatically they had to go in shade only. I've had them in the sun and they are absolutely thriving!

Thanks again for all the advice, I love this forum, so informative.


Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Whether or not a plant should be placed in sun or not, also depends upon what area of the country you live in--south or north. Also consider that the soil contained in a pot can get pretty hot and burn roots. Also dries out quickly.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Coleus used to be a shade plant--they have sun-loving ones now. If only they would develop some that are deer and bunny-resistant...

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Hmm, I have my coleus in big containers so rabbits can't get to them (at least I don't think they can) and hopefully my fence is a deterrent to deer but I know they can easily jump it if they wanted to.

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Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Ooo, pretty!

Chicago, IL(Zone 6a)

There is no reason, why almost any plant could not be going outside during the summer. The best examples are gigantic Alocasias in front yards here in Chicago (!). As long as the temperature and humidity fits the plant, you are pretty much good to go. I've seen tropicals THRIVE here in Chi-town during the summer in the most adverse soil-conditions.... However: Always make sure, that you have some cuttings or seeds or tubers or rhizomes or any other form of propagules to get a fresh start next year! ;)

MacCleary, WA

I have read not to put plants outside until nighttime lows are 55. I have no months where my average lows are above 51 in Washington state. Any advice on this. I have to many plants to bring in and out every day.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

You will find by experimentation what will tolerate cooler temps. I leave almost all my houseplants out until nearly frost conditions in Atlanta. Philodendrons are the first ones that come inside though because their leaves can be damaged by high 30's (possibly low 40's) temps at night. Small leaf philodendrons will quickly put on new leaves though while the bigger leaf ones are much slower.

A few photos in early October last year.

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MacCleary, WA

Thank you, hcmcdole. Wow, your plants are beautiful. I don't know how people with such gorgeous plants outside ever go inside at all. Those staghorns are glorious, as are all your pics. Are the flowering plants ginger. Thanks for the tip. I am facing I just have to bite the bullet and accept the short growing season for what it is. I got a good grow light last July, and what a godsend. I will be adding a second this July. To see growth in the winter is just such a treat.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

The staghorn started out as a tiny plant (from Walmart or Home Depot) probably 15-20 years ago. Two photos are in the ginger family (both from Home Depot a couple years apart) - one is Globba and the other a Curcuma. Both of these go dormant in winter so I put them in a dim location in the basement and don't water them.

Yes, lights are a must if you don't have a sunny window. I run 85+ shop lights in the basement in winter and most are turned off in summer when I move the majority of my plants outdoors.

I have five homemade shelves and probably close to 20 steel shelves. That gives me something to do in winter - lots of watering, sweeping floors, etc.

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