Your indoor garden has undoubtedly brought you joy through the cold winter days, adding lively greenery when there was little to see outside. Once warmer weather begins, your indoor plants provide a lush haven while you escape the heat for cooler indoor temperatures.

As your habits change with the seasons, indoor plant care should too. Your plants have different needs in the summer, and as a plant parent, you want to give them the care they require to thrive.

Some plants tolerate temperature and light changes better than others. If you’d like to grow plants that thrive in the summer, you have many options, but these are some of the best indoor plants. For an ideal indoor plant for your location check out your local hardware or garden centre.

  • Philodendron They are hardy, resistant to drought and adaptable to varying light. They thrive in high humidity, with night temperatures around 18 ℃ degrees and day temperatures around 26 ℃ degrees.
  • Boston Fern Are lovers of high humidity and bright indirect light, though they can grow in medium-low light. Summer is an active growth time, so water them regularly.
  • Devil’s Ivy Pothos, or devil’s ivy, is an excellent plant for beginners. It grows well in high humidity, so kitchens and bathrooms are good locations if you have a sunny window there. They prefer bright but indirect light. Soil should dry out between waterings.
  • Bromeliads They are hardy, colourful and easy to care for. They like humidity and soil with good drainage. Keep them away from cold draughts and mist them with a spray bottle every few days.

Tip: For more information on looking after specific indoor plants, check out our indoor plant guides.

How To Care for Your Indoor Plants in Summer for lush beautiful foliage including watering, light and humidity
How To Care for Your Indoor Plants in Summer for lush beautiful foliage including watering, light and humidity

Step 1 – Summer Watering Tips

Summer is hotter for indoor plants. Even if you use an air conditioner, you probably keep your home’s temperature higher than in the winter. Your plants are adjusting to the warmer air just like you. Window-dwelling plants also receive more sunlight in the summer, increasing growth.

All the hard work your plants do in the summer makes them thirsty. Plan on a more frequent watering schedule than you keep during the colder months. However, consider the humidity level in your home. If you don’t use aircon, your home is more humid, and the soil may stay wet longer.

Most plants prefer watering when the top of the soil feels dry. Check it by pressing your finger a few centimetres (to the second knuckle) deep. Your plant probably needs watering if the potting mix is dry or doesn’t stick to your fingertip. Wait to water succulents until most of the soil is dry. Water-loving plants, like philodendrons and spider plants, prefer wetter soil.

If the potting mix is extremely dry or it runs quickly through the pot and out through the holes, then it could be repelling water. Applying a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner will help to overcome this, getting water to the plant’s root system.

Water indoor plants deeply by watering your plants thoroughly and less frequently is better than watering them daily. Deep watering allows the roots to develop, especially if your plant is in a larger pot. Water until it seeps out of the bottom into a saucer. Smaller pots may need more frequent watering as the soil dries out sooner.

A good time to water indoor plants in the summer is in the morning. Watering early gives the soil time to absorb the water before the day’s heat sets in. It also ensures some of it evaporates, preventing the roots from sitting in moisture-laden soil for too long. However, don’t worry if you forget a morning watering. Your plants can withstand an occasional night drink, and it’s better than letting them go dry for too long.

Step 2 – Summer light requirements

Light is your indoor plant’s most essential requirement. Many factors influence the amount of light your plants get indoors, including:

  • Curtains and blinds (even sheers)
  • Shade trees or buildings outside
  • Light or dark walls and reflective surfaces in the room
  • Window screens

While all plants need sunlight, some require less than others. Too much light can cause sunburn or leaf scorch. Direct sunlight, such as in a sunroom or bay window facing north, suits tropical plants, cacti and succulents.

Most plants thrive with indirect sunlight. A shade tree or sheer curtain over a north window provides indirect light. You can also put a plant 1-2 metres away from a north window. Few plants can thrive in low light, such as a dark corner or more than 1-2 metres from a window.

Light patterns change with the seasons, and it’s best to see if your plants need adjustments in the summer. A leafy tree that was bare all winter may now filter the light, or a plant that was happy in a cloudy window may burn during too many sunny days.

How To Care for Your Indoor Plants in Summer for lush beautiful foliage including watering, light and humidity
How To Care for Your Indoor Plants in Summer for lush beautiful foliage including watering, light and humidity

Step 3 – Indoor Plant Heat Stress

Just as people need protection from the sun’s harmful rays, your window-dwelling plants may need to move for the summer. Northern exposure, especially in the hot afternoon sunlight, may cause leaves to bleach, fade or become crispy. Dry, stressed plants may become droopy and drop leaves.

Decrease stress levels by watering more often if needed and regularly apply Seasol every two weeks for strong, healthy growth and to help reduce stress from heat. When temperatures reach extreme levels, spray your plants down in the shower and leave them in the bathroom for a while, away from direct sunlight.

When plants are in survival mode during intense heat, apply Seasol. Soak the whole indoor plant and pot in a bucket of Seasol (mix 40mL of concentrate per 9 litres) for a couple of hours, to revitalise the plant. Remove it from the bucket and let it drain.

Step 4 – Humidity Control

The amount of moisture in the air plays a significant role in plant health, although many plant parents overlook it. Greenhouses have a relative humidity of 50% or higher. Your home might not reach that level, though, especially if you use an aircon. Most people feel comfortable when indoor humidity is between 30% and 60%.

Indoor plants usually come from humid tropical regions and prefer higher moisture levels in the air. You can take steps to increase the humidity around your plants by:

  • Using a household humidifier
  • Keeping plants close together
  • Placing a shallow tray under your plants and filling it with gravel and water

Spraying the air around your plants creates higher humidity only for a short period and isn’t effective in the long run. Plants with hairy leaves won’t do well if you spray them because moisture will linger too long on their leaves, leading to diseases. Also don’t mist drought-tolerant plants such as succulents and cacti.

Step 5 – Warm Month Repotting Tips

Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to repot a plant when it is actively growing. You can replace the potting mix with a premium potting mix such as Seasol Indoor Potting Mix to replenish nutrients and return the plant to the same pot or choose a new container. A plant may need a bigger pot when it:

  • Wilts easily
  • Has roots poking through the drainage holes
  • Becomes top-heavy

Choose a pot that is about one size bigger than the previous container. Apply Seasol to the plant before transplanting to help reduce transplant shock. Turn the plant sideways and hold it gently by the stems. Tap the bottom of the container to loosen it; gently tug if it’s not budging. Loosen the roots with your fingers; trim any long, thready ones.

Shake about 1/3 of the old potting soil free of the roots. Put some fresh potting mix into the new pot and place the plant on top. Add more soil along the sides of the plant and pack it down gently. Water the plant thoroughly with Seasol to aid plant establishment. Watering will also remove air pockets.

Top up potting mix in pots

If the indoor plant is in the right pot or the pot and plant is too large to transplant, consider topping up with fresh premium potting mix such as Seasol Indoor Potting Mix. Remove as much of the old potting mix as possible without disturbing the root system. If you find damaged or dead roots trim them back gently. If the soil beneath looks dry, it may be repelling water, apply Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner. Replace the pot with new potting mix and water it in thoroughly with Seasol.

If the potting mix is still looking good and doesn’t need replacing apply Seasol Potting Mix Booster into the top layer of the potting mix and water it in thoroughly to help extend the life of the mix. It adds beneficial microbes to revitalise potting mix to help to improve moisture and nutrient retention and assist the plant’s root system.

How To Care for Your Indoor Plants in Summer for lush beautiful foliage including watering, light and humidity
How To Care for Your Indoor Plants in Summer for lush beautiful foliage including watering, light and humidity

Step 6 – Feeding indoor plants in summer

Because warmer temperatures encourage plant growth, indoor plants require more fertiliser in the summer as they flourish on warmer temperatures and more light.

A liquid or granular fertiliser can be used on all indoor plants. Check specific plant tags for more detailed information. Apply granular PowerFeed Controlled Release Pots & Plants for Indoor & Outdoors once every season. It combines a premium mix of nutrients, seaweed, and microbes for all plants in pots. Supplement or apply a liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES Pots & Planters or PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives every 2 to 4 weeks from spring to autumn and less often in winter.

For a ready-to-use no-mixing formula, apply PowerFeed Indoor & Potted Plants 1.25 Lt trigger spray to the soil. This easy-to-use liquid fertiliser and soil conditioner helps to improve your soil and feed your plants. Apply every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season and monthly in winter if needed.

Step 7 – Indoor plant care when you are going away

Warm weather often invites plant parents to jet off on a holiday. However, you want to avoid returning to your house and finding dying leaves and completely dried soil.

Charging a neighbour or friend to care for your plants is the ideal care method while you’re gone, but you can keep your greenery healthy and happy with a few tricks.

  • Give Plants a Bath If you have a well-lit bathroom or laundry and your pots have drainage holes, put about one centimetre of water in the tub or sink and pop your plants in the bath or sink. Add a towel to the bottom before filling with water to protect its surface. They will absorb moisture through the bottom.
  • Use a Wicking System Fill a large vase or pot with water. Bury cotton twine or rope in the plant’s soil and secure the other end in the water pot. The cotton will absorb moisture and wick it to the plant.
  • Create a Drip Bottle Use a drill or nails to punch holes in a plastic bottle. Fill it with water and close the lid. Water your plants as usual, then quickly turn the bottle upside down into the pot and bury the holes. The water will slowly drip into the soil.

 

How To Care for Your Indoor Plants in Summer for lush beautiful foliage including watering, light and humidity
How To Care for Your Indoor Plants in Summer for lush beautiful foliage including watering, light and humidity

Watch out for…

Common Indoor Plant Care Mistakes To Avoid
Light, temperature and humidity are essential to plant growth; getting them right means your plants will probably do well. However, there are other mistakes to avoid when caring for plants in the summer.

  • Keeping Plants Near Vents The cold blast of air conditioning feels good to you but not your plants. Your aircon takes moisture out of the air, leaving plants dry and brown. Move them a couple of metres away from vents for best results.
  • Letting Plants Get Dusty While you spend more time outdoors or away on holiday, you may neglect housework a bit more in the summer. Dust can block light and prevent photosynthesis. It’s time to dust plants when you can feel or see it. Wipe leaves with a damp sponge or spray them in the shower. Use a soft brush to clean fuzzy leaves. Apply EarthCare White Oil insect spray to protect and add a great leaf shine to your plants. It also helps to control insects which can affect your plants.
  • Using the Wrong Potting Soil Interestingly, indoor potting soil isn’t actual soil. It contains nutrients, trace elements and wetting agents optimal for potted indoor plants. Field or garden soil does badly in pots; it compacts, drains poorly and sometimes holds contaminants. A premium potting mix such as Seasol Indoor Potting Mix which is formulated for indoor plants is best.

Indoor Plant Pests in Summer
It’s unpleasant to imagine insects and fungus feeding on your houseplants. Unfortunately, many indoor plants deal with pests eventually. Keep watch for these invaders during the summer.

  • Mealybugs They look like fluffy balls. They collect on the bottom of leaves and plant stems and feed on sap, draining the plant’s nutrients. You can treat a light infestation by running a steady stream of water over the leaves and stems. If the infestation takes hold use EarthCare White Oil insect spray – see details below.
  • Aphids They also feed on plant sap. They reproduce quickly and can hang on tightly to a plant. You may remove the mature insects by rinsing your plant in water or remove them by hand (wear gloves). Or if the infestation takes hold use EarthCare White Oil insect spray – see details below.
  • Spider Mites These tiny pests like to feed on plants with soft leaves. They leave behind a telltale webbing. Spider mites cannot thrive in moisture, so treat your plant by watering it and spraying the leaves frequently.
  • Scale These insects are small and flat with a protective waxy coating. If the infestation is small, remove them by hand (wear gloves) or if the infestation takes hold use EarthCare White Oil insect spray – see details below.
  • Whiteflies Like most plant pests, whiteflies are tiny. You may see them fly up in large numbers when disturbed. You can use sticky traps to catch the mature flies and spray your plant with EarthCare White Oil insect spray – see details below.
  • Root Rot The fungus that causes root rot lives in the soil all the time. However, it comes out of dormancy when a plant gets too much water (which may happen when you increase watering in the summer). You may need to discard the diseased part of the plant and start fresh with healthy cuttings.
  • Powdery Mildew High humidity and increased temperature can encourage powdery mildew to grow. It can weaken your plant but is rarely fatal. Remove infected leaves and move your plant away from direct sunlight. Decrease the humidity if possible.

TIP: Apply EarthCare White Oil insect spray to both sides of the foliage. Do not spray when beneficial insects are around or in the heat of the day as it may burn the foliage. Repeat applications may be necessary.