Using Tropicals and Houseplants Outdoors

Think back to when temperatures first started rising this spring, and you stepped outside and took a deep breath of fresh air — refreshing, right? Our houseplants and tropicals feel the same way when introduced gradually outside for the summer. Bringing these bold tropicals and lush houseplants outside is also a great chance to create a true at-home oasis in your own backyard.

Moving Indoor Plants Outside

The last frost here in Bettendorf takes place around mid-May every year, and we need to wait a few weeks after this has passed until we can transition our houseplants outdoors. Indoor plants need to be slowly introduced to outside since they are leaving their controlled, stable indoor environment for the great outdoors.

Put the plants in your patio or in a shady spot outside for a few hours every day for one or two weeks. Then, slowly introduce them to sunlight and more time outdoors until they’re ready to be outside all on their own with no supervision (besides regular watering and feeding — plants really are like children!).

What Indoor Plants Can Go Outside?

You can leave your plants in the pots they’re in and either incorporate them into your landscape or let them make an impact on their own somewhere prominent, such as near an entrance. You can also repot them to create arrangements, but make sure to keep your tropical plants together since they have different fertilizing requirements than the other plants you have outside.

Here are some tropicals and houseplants that you can bring outside for the summer:

  • Begonias come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes. Some are loved for their flowers, while others are known for their foliage. They’re great for adding color to shady spots.
  • Boston Ferns have bright green foliage that add a lacy, textured look to your yard. Boston Ferns make bold statements on their own or work well to fill in gaps in your arrangements.
  • Bougainvillea is a true showstopper with its bright clusters of flowers. Some varieties work great in hanging baskets, while bushier varieties do well in a regular pot.
  • Crotons have rainbow-colored foliage that add a vibrant, tropical vibe to your landscape. Use them in a tropical-themed planter or beside annuals for a fun impact.
  • Dipladenia are tropicals with showy pink, red, or white flowers. Use them as the main attraction in mixed containers or on their own in pots or hanging baskets.
  • Hibiscus plants have large, showy flowers and are probably precisely what you picture when you think of the word “tropical flower.” Place hibiscus in a container where you want to make a bold, tropical statement.
  • Jasmine has fragrant, pale star-shaped flowers and dark green foliage. It has a medium texture and blends into your landscape, so it pairs well with bolder or fine-textured plants.
  • Mandevilla draws the eye up, with its showy pink, red, or white flowers growing along its climbing vine. Show it off in a hanging basket, or have it climb a trellis the center of a container with other plants surrounding it.
  • Spider Plants have long, narrow leaves and small white flowers. Spider Plants look marvelous in hanging baskets on their own or spilling out of containers in arrangements!

Bringing your indoor plants outdoors in the summer adds a fresh and unexpected look to your landscape while giving your houseplants lots of extra sunshine to charge them up for another winter indoors. All it takes is a tropical plant or two to completely transform your space into a tropical getaway!

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