Can You Keep Philodendrons Outside?
Regarded as the ultimate houseplant, philodendrons are one of the most popular indoor plants that boast beautiful foliage, fast growth and easy care. Even so, you may be tempted to keep philodendrons outside.
Whether you don’t have enough space for them indoors or you’re simply curious if they would do better outdoors, it’s not out of the ordinary to grow philodendrons outside.
That is, if the climate in your region allows it. Philodendrons can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 9-11, but not elsewhere in the U.S.
In other regions, philodendrons can be kept outdoors only throughout the warmer months and only if the temperature doesn’t drop below 55 F.
If you’re thinking of moving your philodendron plants outside either all year round or just for the summer, I’m going to walk you through the pros and cons of this decision. I’m also going to recommend philodendron varieties that are suitable for outdoor living.
Pros & Cons of Keeping Philodendrons Outside
Undoubtedly, there are several advantages to keeping philodendrons outside. But there are also a few disadvantages as well. I’m hoping that the following overview of its pros and cons will help you decide what’s best for your plants.
Here’s what’s great about growing or moving philodendrons outside:
- Bright light
Outdoor lighting is equal to none, therefore, the light requirements of philodendron plants that enjoy bright but indirect light may be easier to meet when the plant is kept outside.
- Boosts growth
Whether you’re moving your philodendrons outdoors for the summer or permanently, the change to outdoor conditions can boost their growth, especially for philodendrons that have been doing poorly indoors either because of low light conditions or poor soil.
- Access to rainwater
Rainwater can also have a beneficial effect on your philodendrons as opposed to being watered with tap water.
Because you’re moving your plant from a controlled environment to an uncontrolled one, there are several potential issues in the following areas:
Philodendrons thrive in average room temperatures. Anything between 65-80 F is fine with these plants, but values outside this range are going to affect your plant. Sudden changes in temperature or major fluctuations are outside your control when you’re keeping philodendrons outdoors.
Before you move philodendrons outside, make sure you carefully choose the right spot in your garden. Deep shade will not do, nor will your philodendrons thrive in full sun.
While pests can wreak havoc in your plants regardless of whether they’re indoors or out, outdoors you have a bit less control over these matters, therefore, pests can become a bigger issue than indoors.
Whenever moving a philodendron plant outside, I recommend acclimatization as a way to ease the transition from an indoor environment to an outdoor environment.
Acclimation is a process that takes a few days, in which you slowly increase the time your plants spend outdoors, until you can live them out for good.
I recommend acclimation regardless of whether you’re going to keep philodendrons outside for the summer or if you’re planting them in the garden.
Do Philodendrons Like Full Sun?
No, philodendrons do not take well to full sun exposure. The plant’s leaves are prone to scorching under direct light, hence the need for correct placement.
Even the change from indoor to outdoor light can be a bit much to the plant, so this is another reason why acclimation is essential to prevent the plant from going into shock.
When deciding on a spot for your philodendron, make sure to place it somewhere where the plant is protected by the strong rays of the sun. Place it under the canopy of a tree or in an area where it won’t get blasted by the sun.
Even if you keep your philodendron in a pot on your porch or patio, make sure it’s a spot that doesn’t get full sun exposure.
Types of Philodendrons for Outdoors
Technically, all philodendrons can be grown outdoors if environmental conditions are optimal.
Whether they’re tree-like philodendrons or trailing ones, here are some recommendations for the types of philodendrons you should consider for your landscape:
A small-growing philodendron with heart-shaped leaves, this variety is known for its adaptability. Although it thrives in bright, indirect light, it can adapt to low light conditions as well.
– Philodendron Bipinnatifidum
Also known as the Fiddle Leaf Philodendron because of the shape of its leaves, this tree-like philodendron can prove to be a great landscape plant or plant suitable for patios. It has a fast growth pattern, and it can achieve a height of 7 feet.
– Philodendron Scandens (Heartleaf)
The ever-so-popular heartleaf philodendron is a wonderful foliage plant, which can be grown outdoors as well. It’s usually planted in hanging baskets. Its trailing stems densely packed with heart-shaped leaves can grow 4-5 feet long.
– Philodendron Melanochrysum
With a mature height of around 4 feet, the Melanochrysum is a climbing philodendron variety that needs the support of a tree or other structure to grow. Because of its dark green, velvety leaves, it can be an elegant addition to your landscape.
– Philodendron Erubescens
Another climbing philodendron, the Erubescens is a flowering variety that will bloom only outdoors, producing deep red flowers. The plant features heart-shaped, shiny green leaves with deep red veins.
Regardless of the philodendron variety, you decide to keep outdoors, make sure to acclimate it first, then focus on creating an optimal environment for its growth. In particular, you must focus on light exposure, watering, temperature and humidity.
If you live in USDA zones 9-11, you can grow most philodendrons outdoors. Outside of these zones, you can keep philodendrons outside during the warmer months and move them back inside when temperatures drop below 60 degrees °F.
The biggest drawback of growing these plants outside is the fact that you cannot control their environment as well as you would indoors. On the flipside, philodendrons that are grown outdoors show a boost in growth and foliage health.