Can I Move My Houseplant Outdoors?

  • 01 of 03

    Time for a Move

    woman watering plants
    A woman waters a peace lily on the patio. Peathegee Inc/Getty Images

    Here's the thought: All plants got their beginnings in the ground, outside, right? Give or take some fussy hybrids. If you're tired of looking at the same old plants on your shelves or maybe a few have gotten too big for their containers, perhaps you can try moving them outside.

    Not so fast, though.

    Origins and Growing Conditions

    Before there were houses, those plants originated in the wilds in different parts of the world: including Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and the Americas. Of the hundreds of thousands of plants that exist, houseplants are only a small percentage. Many became home dwellers through cultivation.

    Hardening Off

    There's more to making the move than simply picking up a root-bound looking specimen and relocating it to the patio or balcony. Hardening off is a process in which an indoor plant is exposed to increasing periods of time outdoors, so that when it's planted in the ground or replanted to another container, it can successfully make the transition.


    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Care Before the Move

    pruning plant
    Pruning leaves from a houseplant. Steve Cole/Getty Images

    Relocating a houseplant outside takes a certain amount of planning. For starters, move the plant outside when the temperatures have warmed up; late spring is a good time of year in most regions. Some pruning and maintenance will help also:

    • A few days before the move, stop watering the plant.
    • Trim any dead leaves and flowers, etc.
    • Pinch to encourage new growth.
    • Wipe or sponge leaves to remove dust and clean its "pores."


    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    New Digs

    transplanting flower
    Woman transplants hydrangea to another pot. M_a_y_a/Getty Images

    Once your houseplant is outdoors, transplant it to a slightly larger container with fresh soil--a mix of indoor and outdoor is ideal. Spray a fine mist to humidify it, and water thoroughly. Move it to a shady spot near the house, then gradually expose it to the light or sun (hardening off).

    Keep an eye on your plant and make adjustments if it shows sign of stress, like yellow leaves.

    Plants That Will Thrive Outdoors

    Many of the flowering plants you receive as gifts can go in the ground after you enjoy them. Don't expect them to bloom right away; just be patient and you might be surprised to see blossoms pop up in a couple seasons or a year or so. Depending on where you live, the climate, and soil conditions, you might be able to replant: