Bringing the indoors out!

October 4th 2022          By Alexia


My love for keeping houseplants was heavily influenced by my Nan. She had a conservatory full, which would always catch my attention when I visited (and she often tried to send me home with some as she had too many).


She would always place certain houseplants outside for the summer. I questioned why I never did the same when I knew her plants thrived so well with the additional light outside and so decided that I would experiment this year with a handful of plants and keep track of the results.


Jade Plant 

Soon to be Jade Tree (I hope). This plant is quite special to me, I have several cuttings of it from my Nan’s plant, which was originally my great grandfather’s plant (it’s cuttings have been passed down 3 generations, and I even took some cuttings of it to create guest favours at our wedding).


That tells you that it’s quite a resilient plant, as long as it receives enough light it should do well. Mine had perhaps grown a little leggy after reaching for light in our North facing window, so I decided to pop him outside at the beginning of July until the end of September.


I gave him a repot, which he desperately needed after spending at least 2 years in the same soil. I decided to repot him into terracotta because my outdoor plants tend to get watered much more regularly than anything indoors (especially with British weather) and I didn’t want him waterlogged (terracotta is porous which means the soil will dry quickly). I also used pumice, vermiculite and sand to ensure he had a well draining soil.


I placed him in a shaded spot which received approximately 2 hours of direct sun a day (about 10am till 12pm). I hosed him down with the other plants a few times a week in the evenings, and because I wanted him to fill out a little rather than continue growing up, I pinched the new leaves growing on top for the first few weeks to encourage growth further down the stems.

He absolutely thrived. I actually have two jade plants and I will be putting both out next year (I regret not doing it this year). He is now so full, healthy and lush looking, I couldn’t recommend this enough. Get your Jade plants outside next summer! Be sure to bring them in before autumn frosts (end of September/ early October).



I know some people already consider Oxalis an outdoor plant, but I see a lot of people on social media keeping them indoors lately.


I knew they would do well, so I placed them in a hanging pot which received morning sun through to 11am. They had a regular water, at least a few times a week. I had a couple of oxalis plants and they really started to thrive, they threw out a ton of flowers and were pretty spectacular looking.

However, one of the risks of keeping plants outdoors is that they are more susceptible (and you have less opportunity to control) pests! I started to notice a dusty orange coating on the underside of the leaves. By the time I had noticed, it had spread too much for me to attempt to rid the plant of it.


This orange dust was actually leaf rust! I’m used to tackling indoor pests but had never come across this before. Leaf rust is a fungal disease which mainly affects the leaves of plants and it is carried airborne for long distances so could have come from anywhere.



I was genuinely gutted because the plants looked so beautiful, I loved going out to see the new flowers every couple of days. I ensured the plants were isolated from all else in the garden and then left them to their fate, within ⅔ weeks they were both dead.


Despite this, I would still recommend keeping Oxalis outside in the summer. There is always a risk of pests wherever you keep plants (it comes with the territory of having plants) and from the results I tracked within 4 weeks of keeping them outside, it’s clear they thrive in a warm outdoor environment. 


There is also a happy ending here, because I didn’t throw the plants away! I allowed the plants to die off but left them hanging in the sun for a few weeks to see if they might make a come back… and they did! I started to notice new little shoots and soon, although it didn’t return to it’s former glory, the pots had lots of new growth. I’ll leave the pots outside for the winter and see if they make a come back again next spring - I wouldn’t want to risk the spread of the leaf rust inside.


Alocasia Wentii

A more unusual plant to find outside. Essentially, I had had enough of this plant, it was so unhappy inside and nothing I tried seemed to perk it up. 


I knew some people kept Alocasia outside (even in UK climate) and so I placed it outside as a last resort, but within a couple of weeks I started to notice leaf drop. By the end of the first month we were reduced to 1 big leaf.


I continued to water it and had placed it in a spot which received direct sun in the evenings (from approx 5pm onwards), having an indirect but bright spot for the rest of the day. As leaf after leaf continued to drop, I was convinced it would be the first plant for me to place in the big orange bin. I chopped back the stems and ignored it for a while.


About 6/7 weeks in, I noticed it had produced a new leaf. This unfurled to be big and perfect, I was shocked and so continued to water every few days and left it where it was. It has since produced another much smaller leaf at the base but appears happy. It’s October 1st today and it’s still outside, I’m not sure where I’m going to put him indoors and I’m not sure I even want to bring him back in (but I know he won’t survive the winter outdoors).

I wouldn’t say I recommend the outdoors for Alocasia, this plant clearly suffered some shock from being placed in a different environment (hence the initial leaf drop), but once it had time to adjust, it certainly threw out a big and healthier looking leaf. I’ll let you know what I decide to do with him!


Variegated String of Hearts

I placed this guy outside at the beginning of July, and within the first week a hungry snail/ slug/ caterpillar had nibbled half of it! Another unavoidable risk of keeping plants outside. So I decided to place the pot outside during the day and bring it back in during the night.


I think this might be cheating slightly, but it still yielded results! I placed the pot in the same spot as the Alocasia, plenty of bright indirect light during the day and then evening sun from approximately 5pm and watered several times a week (much more than I’d ever recommend when keeping them indoors).


I noticed the leaves seemed much plumper, healthier, and the variegation stronger (it even produced a pure white leaf which could have been mistaken for a milky bar button). This being said, the ‘strings’ didn’t grow as fast as the previous summer when it was kept indoors. I wouldn’t recommend keeping this outdoors, I think it’s such a delicate plant that is susceptible to pests or breakage from bad weather. 

If you are lucky enough to have a conservatory or a sun room, I think this would be the perfect environment during the summer months for String of Hearts, offering that additional light without the risks.



Last and unfortunately on this occasion, least, I had an unhappy looking tradescantia in the shop which I placed in my garden with the rest and hoped for the best. This is another one that is considered an outdoor plant by some, but many others keep them indoors.


As it prefers a warmer climate, many people have success keeping them indoors, but I felt this one needed some additional light (and quite frankly I have run out of space on my windowsills). I placed him in a shaded bushy area that received some evening sun and watered every few days with the rest of the plants.


I normally bottom water Tradescantia and avoid getting the leaves wet, however this guy got the hosepipe treatment like all the others (we’re all about equality here). I didn’t have any real issues at all with this plant, but I found his results quite disappointing. 


Whilst the plant inside the pot filled out nicely and he looks healthy, there was literally no additional growth on the trails. I have always experienced tradescantia as fast growing and was expecting to see several inches of growth before the end of the summer. I found this plant the least rewarding in this little experiment, but can’t deny that he started unhappy and ended healthy and fuller (perhaps my expectations were too high), so would therefore recommend a summer outside for tradescantias. 


I hope you enjoyed the results of my summer experimenting bringing the indoors out. I tried to do some research beforehand but found the internet oddly void of this kind of information (especially in the UK), and so thought I would experiment myself and pass on my findings in the hope it might help some of you.


Aloe there…

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