Top 5 plants that enjoy summering outdoors.
These plants were chosen for their extremely good looks, as well as, their low maintenance characteristics. Add to outdoor containers for extra flower power or tropical appeal of the foliage. Introduce these plants from the greenhouse environment to the outdoors gradually. Keep in mind to give them the proper amount of shade or sun. Tip: When plants are moved outdoors, place them carefully because foliage and flowers can burn quickly in full sun.
FLORIST HYDRANGEA: Luscious, multiple florets sit like clouds on top of plants with deep-green leaves. This heavenly plant has been hybridized for indoor use with its larger flower heads and smaller root system. Satisfy your hunger for color with light or dark pink, big-sky blue, purple or snow-white blossoms.
Light: When blooming inside, these hydrangeas prefer medium to fairly, bright light. If moved outside to the garden in the warmer seasons, they prefer dappled sunlight... morning sun and afternoon shade.
Temperature: Indoor hydrangeas prefer a temperate climate between 55-75 degrees but they will tolerate a range of 34-90 degrees. Don’t push them though, their small root system, most likely, won’t survive freezing temperatures.
Water: Hydrangeas love their water so keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy.
PHALAENOPSIS ORCHID: Exotic flowers float like butterflies on long stems that hover above medium-green leaves. Plant breeders have worked hard to create a tropical plant with such long-lasting blooms and not many maintenance requirements. The buds and flowers can last up to 3 months!
Light: Phalaenopsis or Moth orchids prefer filtered light because the direct sunlight can quickly burn the soft tissue of their paddle-shaped leaves. When indoors, place them in an east or west window, but a lightly shaded south exposure should be okay, too. If outdoors, keep them in a protected spot such as a screened or covered porch.
Temperature: Although these orchids aren’t particularly fussy, this type of orchid prefers a range of 80-85 degrees during the day and 60-65 degrees at night.
Water: Keep Phalaenopsis plants on the moist side since they don’t possess the well-developed water storage systems of other orchids. However, do not allow them to become completely dry or to stand in water for any length of time. Water approximately every 7-10 days—depending on the season and air circulation.
Re-bloom? Where and when to cut the stem: When the primary spike has finished flowering out to the end, secondary spikes can be encouraged to branch out by cutting the main spike at the proper location. After the plant stops blooming, cut the stem just above the node located below the first flower on the spike. A new spray of flowers may emerge from this node and bloom approximately three months after cutting.
KALANCHOE (pictured): If you want some 'flower power' indoors or outdoors in summer, brightly colored Kalanchoes are an excellent choice. These easy-care succulents are native to dry areas. They are valued for their thick, fleshy leaves with scalloped edging, as well as the clusters of star-shaped flowers in pink, yellow, orange, red, or white. Look for single or the fancy, double-petal varieties, too.
Light: Kalanchoes prefer cool, well-lit locations that will prolong their blooms. Indoors, try to avoid drafts of hot or cold air that can cause blossoms to drop and leaves to yellow. Outdoors, they will bloom in bright light on a porch or dappled sunlight.
Temperature: Kalanchoes thrive in warm temperatures… never below 55 degrees.
Water: Let the soil surface dry out between waterings. Indoors in winter, water the plant deeply and allow it to dry out completely before you water the plant again. As an added precaution, pour off excess water that collects in the saucer to avoid root rot. They thrive in winter houses with low humidity. Outdoors, water deeply when top inch of soil is dry. Don't allow plant to remain in soggy soil for long.
Blooming: Remove the first set of blossoms as they fade to encourage a second flush of flowers. Cut off spent flower stems and pinch back leggy growth to keep plant more compact.
BROMELIAD: The most common bromeliads (such as the Aechmea, Neoregelia, and Guzmania) grow in rosettes of relatively large, strappy leaves around a central cup. The green leaves often glow against the sunset colors of red, purple, orange or yellow. Bromeliads can provide an exotic accent to any home's décor. Plus, they are long-lasting and extremely, low maintenance houseplants. Outdoors, they will add texture and a tropical feel to containers on patios.
Light: For best results, grow these tropical plants in a bright location… but not in direct sunlight. However, they can also tolerate lower light conditions for short lengths of time.
Temperature: They are very tolerant of temperature fluctuations. Hotter conditions will demand more humidity, but never allow them to be in temperatures lower than 40 degrees.
Water: Water plants thoroughly when top few inches of soil is dry. Water the soil weekly during the growing season and reduce watering during the winter rest period. Never let the plant sit in standing water. If the light, temperature or humidity levels are high enough, you can water the plant through its central ‘cup’.
Fertilizer: Bromeliads are light feeders, so only fertilize actively growing plants. Use a diluted solution of houseplant fertilizer, as directed on label. Or, mix slow-release pellet fertilizer into the soil.
Re-blooming? Bromeliads seldom re-bloom on the same stalk. A ‘pup’ will develop when the ‘mother’ bloom colors begin to fade.