May 31, 2011

Inside Plants take a Summer Vacation

This last weekend of May, not only marks the last frost-free date for us in New England, but it also is the start of our long, hot summer. With three weeks of cool rain, we have all been eager to get out and get some some, for with temperatures in the 80's and 90's, and relative humidity just as high, it does indeed feel as if it is suddenly summer. 

I use this last weekend in May to relocate houseplants and greenhouse tropicals from the glasshouse, to the deck stairs, the terrace and to other places around the garden. Camellias and other sturdier plants that can handle some cool frost have all been moved out earlier this spring, but now it is safe to move the most tender tropicals, even begonias. Below, I share some before and after shots, showing just how important these potted plants are to our outside living spaces. It now suddenly, feels like summer, again.

Before plants arrive back out....

....and after plant collections are tiered onto the stairs.

Be careful when placing houseplants out for the summer, for they will burn quickly unless you gradually acclimate them to the bright sunshine. My plants live in a glass greenhouse, so they are more adaptive, and can be placed in full sun right away. I like to mix pots of summer-blooming bulbs, agave, cacti, succulents like Gasteria, even trees like Japanese Maples and pines.


Ferns and orchids also find a shady niche where they can be watered easily twice a day with rainwater.


  1. That is a fine agave collection! (and thanks for reminding people that plants not used to the sun can easily burn)

  2. Love the summer vacation idea......just wish I could keep my inside plants last through the winter :( I'm not much of a grower. I leave that up to the guys in the greenhouse!

  3. I'm always so impressed with agaves that spend a good deal of the year under glass. Incredible colors, so pristine. I'm assuming the big striped one behind medio-picta is a variegated americana, but the stripes are so blue! I ran to check mine, which are a faded green. Unless yours is a specific cultivar, or maybe a different agave entirely. Whatever it is, it's gorgeous!


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