Changed location for houseplants a problem????

(Question)

I recently installed heat-reducing semitranslucent blinds in my apartment and had to move the several plants which had long been on the windowsills to tables about 6 inches back from their previous location to accommodate the new blinds. I am concerned that the plants (Christmas cacti, golden pothos, spider plant, dragon dracaena, and hoya) are now getting less light than before. Will they adapt, or should I move them outside to the balcony for the summer? Would there be problems bringing them inside in late fall? The blinds wouldn’t be down as far then when the temperature is cooler and the plants could go back on the windowsills.

(Answer)

Thank you for your inquiry.

The plants you have listed all do well in indirect light and tolerate low to medium light. Dracaena and Spider Plant are classified as low light plants. Golden Pothos will tolerate a variety of light conditions, but leaves are more numerous and vibrant if kept in brighter light. Hoyas will grow in low light, but won’t bloom.

Indications of houseplants receiving insufficient light include spindly stems, yellow foliage and leaf drop.

The direction the window faces will affect the quality of light your plants receive. Windows with an eastern exposure usually provide the best conditions for indoor plants. Thus exposure to somewhat less light in this environment should have a relatively small affect.

The websites below provides a wealth of information about growing indoor plants:

http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=B1318

http://www.guide-to-houseplants.com

There are several factors to consider when contemplating moving plants from indoors to an outdoor environment. Gradual acclimation to a change in environment is necessary to decrease plant shock, whether in spring, summer or fall.

Light is a major factor contributing to plant shock. Excess exposure causes leaf burn or pale foliage. Initially houseplants should spend a few hours in a shaded area where they will receive sufficient indirect light, gradually increasing their time outdoors. Some varieties of Hoya can tolerate direct sun, but keep in mind light intensity is greater outdoors than inside.

Weather is also a factor that can have an adverse affect on plants moved outside. Plants placed on a balcony should be placed in a sheltered location to protect them from wind and heavy rainfall.

Hot weather, wind and sun combined with more vigorous growth will mean the plant’s water and nutrition requirements will increase.

Insect pests could also be problematic.

When night temperatures dip to 50 F. (10 C.), houseplants should be brought in each evening, then gradually increase the time they spend indoors during the day. Alter watering requirements and check for pests before beginning the acclimation process.

Hopefully you will continue to enjoy growing houseplants.