Houseplants: Summer Care

Summer can be tough on houseplants. Warm temperatures, dust and changing light and humidity can stress indoor plants. Luckily, summer is also a great time to give your houseplants a little vacation outdoors and some extra tender loving care.


Start by moving your houseplants outside to an area that stays lightly shaded all day. Under a shade tree on the patio or on a covered porch is perfect. Use a hose to spray the foliage and remove any dust. Dusty leaves can harbor insects. It may take several passes with the hose to get the leaves clean. If that doesn't do the job, wipe the leaves down with a moist towel. Rinsing the towel in lukewarm water with a drop or two of mild dish soap should help remove the dust. If you use soapy water, rinse the foliage with fresh water afterwards.

While you are rinsing the foliage, repeatedly water the root ball as well. This will help leach out any salts that have accumulated in the soil. After thoroughly leaching the root ball, fertilize with a houseplant food according to label instructions.  Also look carefully for any pests and if necessary, treat with an insecticide listed for houseplants. You can keep listed pests from coming back while feeding at the same time by using Plant Food Plus Insect Control Spikes.

After the plants dry, you can move them back indoors but many gardeners prefer to leave them outside for days or weeks, especially if the plants have been struggling. Outdoor conditions will usually revive the plants. Just don't forget to water and fertilize regularly.