Issue: June 7, 2008

Transplanting houseplants in the summer


Now that summer is here and it is getting hot, is it too late to transplant my houseplants? I will take them outside for the summer.


Most houseplants can be transplanted now. Plants that are actively growing should be given special care. Some plants commonly used as houseplants grow almost all the time, so they must be transplanted when they are actively growing. For those that have a distinct dormant, or rest, period between growth cycles, they are most safely transplanted during that rest cycle. However, even many of those can often be transplanted when actively growing.

Transplanting gives you the opportunity to move them to a larger container, or divide large plants into several smaller plants. You also have the chance to replace old soil with excess mineral accumulation with fresh potting soil. When just moving a plant to a larger container, the risk of injury to the plant is least. When dividing the plant, the chance of injury is greatest. Replacing the soil with fresh potting soil creates some risk. In each of these cases, many of the plants can be transplanted now. When dividing, do not make the new plants too small. When refreshing the soil, gently wash away old soil, exposing the roots, but keeping them moist as you wash them, and then place the new plants into new, moist soil as quickly as possible.

After transplanting, keep your plants in a location protected from direct sunlight and wind for a couple of weeks while new root systems develop. Remember not to overwater during this time, but do not let the soil dry completely (except for succulent plants that require drying between irrigations) and then you can move them to their permanent summer home outside.

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Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email:, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.


For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden - Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at, or at the Desert Blooms Facebook.

Please copy your County Extension Agent and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question!