Taking indoor succulents outside for the summer

Learn how to successfully move your indoor succulents outside when the weather warms up! Indoor succulents will benefit from the outside air and extra sun!

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You may have noticed that succulents growing outdoors often seem to be healthier and prettier than those grown indoors. The two biggest reasons for this are more sunlight (which prevents stretching) and better airflow (allowing the roots to dry out more quickly).

I highly recommend taking your indoor succulents outside for the summer, at least for a little while.

As you do so however, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Indoor succulents will benefit from being outdoors in the summer!

Ease them into the sunlight and heat

Since there is much more sunlight outdoors it’s very easy to burn your succulents with too much sunlight or too much heat. Start your succulents in an area that gets full shade and gradually move them into an area with more sunlight.

Succulents that are larger and have a more established root system will tolerate more light and heat more easily. On the other hand, newly planted succulents will need to be kept in the shade longer.

Try adding an hour or two of sunlight each week. Morning sun is cooler and is best for succulents.

Take your indoor succulents out for the summer, placing them in shade, gradually moving to full sun.Click To Tweet

Discover some great tips for moving your succulents outdoors for the summer

Make sure you know there is actually shade all day! I burned a bunch of plants when I moved mine out this year. I have a wire rack on the east side of my house where I generally keep my succulents. The roof hangs over the rack so I assumed it was shaded most of the day.

While I knew it got some morning sun, I didn’t realize it gets full sun until about 1:00 PM. This was way too much sun for most of my plants, especially the leaves I was propagating.

Don't leave your succulent leaves out in direct sun or they'll burn!

So, learn from my mistake and keep them completely in the shade for a few days while they get used the extra light and warmer temperatures. After a few days in full shade move them to an area that gets morning sun. Wait a few more days and then move them to their permanent home.

Watch for early signs of sunburn such as bleaching or extreme color change. If you see these signs, move your succulents back to an area with more shade.

Fertilize

Spring is a great time to fertilize succulents. Most are coming out of dormancy and are ready to grow. A little food will help them regain their color and produce healthy new offshoots!

I recommend using Haven Manuere Tea. This stuff is great! I did a post about my experience with manure tea with some before and after images.

This manure tea is the best fertilizer I've found for succulents and other plants!

Use Pot Feet

Rather than placing your pots directly on the ground, make sure to use pot feet or place them on something like my wire rack to allow for water drainage and airflow. Check out my post on using pot feet for more details!

Use pot feet under your outdoor succulent containers to prevent rot

Propagate

It’s quite likely your succulents have really stretched out over the winter. Echeverias seem to get especially stretched out while Aloes tend to keep their shape better. Now is a great time to chop of the top of the succulent and propagate it!

For more details about propagating, check out my ebook.

Beginning of spring is a great time to propagate succulents

Repot if necessary

If your succulent grew much larger over the winter, or if some plants sharing the same pot died, you’ll likely want to repot your plants. Dump out the old soil, remove as much soil from the roots as you can. Clean out the pots with soapy water (then rinse out) or spray with isopropyl alcohol, and replant them with fresh new soil!

If your succulents have been growing in the same pot for a while they’ll also appreciate the new soil and clean home. It’s always nice to have freshly potted succulents for the summer.

Repot your succulents at the beginning of spring to keep them healthy

Watch for bugs

Mealybugs love quickly growing plants. Keep an eye out for these nasty bugs after you move your plants out. Ants tend to spread mealybugs from plant to plant.

If you do see mealybugs, kill them by pouring alcohol on them. You can see my full tutorial for combating mealybugs here.

Watch out for mealybugs on your indoor succulents!

You may also notice other critters start to find your plants. Snails and slugs love succulents and will completely destroy them if given the chance. Squirrels, raccoons, birds, dogs and cats seem to enjoy playing with succulents as well. The bigger animals can be hard to deter and may force you to bring your plants back in. Any outdoor time is better than none though!

Learn how to keep your indoor succulents healthy over the summer!

As you are bringing your plants out for the summer, keep these things in mind. I can tell you from experience it’s sad and frustrating to kill off plants from not paying attention to their needs.

Your plants will really benefit from the fresh air and a little more sunlight, so it’s worth moving them out!

Be sure to keep them out of full sun for a while, fertilize, propagate, repot if necessary and watch out for bugs and pests!

38 Responses to Taking indoor succulents outside for the summer

  1. Is it ok if I keep my succulents inside overnight and during the evening but put them out for a few hours in the afternoon? I’m worried about leaving them out all the time because it likes to randomly rain where I live.

    • It’s best if they can get cooler sun (in the morning) to prevent burning. You should be fine to leave them outside all day, but make sure they are gradually introduced to the sun. I think the random rain is fine as long as you’re using well draining soil and follow my watering advice it shouldn’t be a problem.

  2. Ahhh, I took my sempervivium outdoors for the day because I thought the sunshine would do good for it but when I brought her back in, the bottom leaves turned completely white! I think the sun was too intense :( Will the leaves recover? I feel so bad!

    • Yes, succulents are great indoor plants, I even have most of mine in my home year round and they do just fine.

  3. I live in Chicago and the weather is crazy. Right now its very sunny with a bit of wind, so I keep my plants under some grow lights, I’m somewhat new to raising succulents, but I’ve been able to get 12 different ones. I just had 3 of them grow flowers, so my question is what happens next? Will it grow flowers every year? Will i be able to take them outside? They seem like they would fall apart from the wind we have here. Ultimately I’m thinking on keeping them in.

    • I think it would be best to keep them inside. Yes, succulents will have a blooming season, and eventually the flower will die naturally.You can cut it off if you wanted to. But it is a good sign that your plants are healthy!

  4. I used the manure tea for the first time and left the pot of water outside overnight. I was surprised to find the bag pulled out and lying in the yard the next morning. I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of some critter realizing it wasn’t a tasty treat after going through the trouble of pulling it out. It also works great. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Andrea

  5. I want to bring my plants outside to enjoy the sunshine since we are finally getting nicer weather here in Northeast Ohio. However, the weather around here is a bit unpredictable, so I have been keeping an eye on the changing temperatures, levels of sun and rain, etc. But yesterday evening was 65 degrees and so I left my succs out over night and they did fine. But today was colder since a front went through, and so I brought them inside for the night since it is going to go down into the 40s! It was 80, 70, 60… and now it’s going to be 40? What the heck?! Anyway, I am worried that bringing them in and out is not good for them. I don’t want to shock them by bringing them in a warm house after they have been sitting out in cooler temperatures all day. That messes with them, doesn’t it? I am just worried! I am new to succulent care and just want to be a good succy Mom ;)

    • Yeah, that sounds tricky! You definitely want to ease them into which ever temperature is going to be the most permanent.

  6. Once my garden plants have been relocated to my raised beds and pots, I would love to move my succulents out to the greenhouse for the summer. I just recently purchased a shade cloth that blocks out 50% of the sunlight. That, in addition to a vent, open door, and box fan running, do you think my plants will be safe for the summer? After they’re hardened off, that is. Any additional tips for keeping succulents in a greenhouse? Thanks!

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Wondering who I am?

Let me introduce myself... My name is Cassidy Tuttle and I’m a professional photographer turned succulent addict. These are my two sweet children and wonderful husband in the photo with me!

My adventure with succulents started with three small plants on the window sill of my basement apartment. Within a year I had propagated them and purchased more, totaling over 100 plants!

It’s been a fun adventure since then as I’ve drowned, burned, frozen, and starved my collection of succulents. This site is where I teach you how to avoid all those mistakes I made or help you recover from them.

While I’ve killed plenty of succulents in the last few years, I’ve also kept hundreds alive and thriving, and I know you can do the same!

Did I mention I wrote the book on succulents?

It’s true! I’m the author of Idiot’s Guides: Succulents which is designed to help those of us who love succulents (but are limited to growing on our window sills and porches) keep our succulents looking great.

You can purchase my book through my Amazon affiliate link here or pick it up at your local Barnes and Noble.

If printed books aren’t your thing, I’ve also written several ebooks about succulents on various topics including indoor growing, watering and propagating. You can check those out on this page.

My goal is to help you not just keep your succulents alive, but help them thrive no matter where you live.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff!

I’m impressed you’ve made it this far down. You should probably be rewarded for that…

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I’m sure you’ll love my 30 Days of Quick Succulent Tips email series. Each day I’ll send you a 2-3 sentence tip about growing succulents along with a photo and link to learn more.

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