Why You Should Move Your Houseplants ASAP (Plus, 5 Other Things to Do to Your Plants This Summer)

published May 31, 2023
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Green velvet sofa with colorful throw pillows, surrounded by plants. Light shining through window

Plants, like us, need lots of TLC to thrive, from basics like sun and water to fertilizing, pruning, and repotting. As plants grow — and, just as importantly, as the seasons change — they need different elements of care to stay healthy. Summer is one important time to rethink your plant-related to-do list and give your greenery a bit of extra love. 

After a long “dormant” season during the winter months, most houseplants can experience speedier growth, thanks to the extra sunshine. But you may want to adjust your routines to keep them happy in the process. 

Not sure where to start? Below, find six simple ways to help your indoor plants thrive this summer, according to experts. 

1. Move them based on their sunlight needs.

Daytime hours are longer in summer, which means your plants can benefit from more sunlight (and you may be able to temporarily turn off your grow lights). Ashley Nussman-Berry, founder of gardening group Black Planters, likes to move her plants near the windows in summer, as the fear of frost and cold drafts is no more. Some plants might even benefit from being moved outside for a little summer vacation. 

Be sure to read up on your specific plants and their light needs before making any major changes — for example, some plants might not tolerate direct light and could be scorched by too much heat. 

2. Be mindful of temperature and humidity.

If you’re running your air conditioning to keep your home cool, Nussman-Berry suggests keeping plants away from vents so they don’t get blasted with cold air. And if your A/C is drying out your plants’ soil, consider using a humidifier in rooms with plants, or trying out a pebble tray to boost humidity. Misting, says plant and gardening expert Tony O’Neill, can also help. (Keep in mind the same principles hold true in the winter if your furnace is running.)

3. Water them more. 

Because of the increased sunlight and potential home dryness, you may need to adjust your watering schedule. “Due to increased evaporation in the summer months, it might be necessary to water your houseplants more frequently,” says O’Neill. Keep a closer eye on your houseplants’ soil and if it’s drying out sooner, give it a drink!

4. Think about fertilizing. 

When your plants are in a growing season, nourishing them with certain nutrients can help along the process. “I always recommend a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer that’s diluted to at least half strength,” says horticultural specialist Jennifer Schutter, editor of Plant Carefully. “You can fertilize most indoor plants monthly, and you’ll want to do it when you’re watering them so you don’t shock the soil or plant.” 

5. Repot plants as needed. 

If your plant’s roots are coming out the bottom of the drainage holes, or it seems out of proportion with the pot it’s in, it may be time to rehome them in a larger container. Kelly Martin, small-space garden expert and founder of Urban Garden Gal, recommends choosing a container one size (generally one to three inches) bigger than the current one, and transplanting the plant into a high-quality potting mix. 

It’s always a good idea to choose planters with drainage holes, especially in the summer months. “You’ll probably be watering them almost twice as often, and you still want to give these plants an opportunity to fully drain and not sit in excess water, which can lead to issues with mold, rot, and slower growth,” Schutter says.

6. Watch for pests and diseases. 

The summer usually brings an increase in both pests and diseases for houseplants, partially because of more frequent watering and misting of plants, Schutter says. Routinely inspect your plants for any signs of infestation or damage. If you notice any pest issues (you might see tiny bugs, small cottony puffs, or webbing), she recommends isolating this plant from the rest, rinsing it off outside, and applying neem oil every two weeks. 

For root issues, you’ll notice yellowing leaves, a funky smell, and slow growth that doesn’t seem to be fixed by any other adjustments. “Try cutting off any mushy roots while repotting, and make sure you don’t overwater in the future,” says Schutter.