These 12 Outdoor Plants Will Thrive on Your Patio This Spring

Pretty on Fridays outdoor space.

Pretty on Fridays

Spring is in full swing. You've planted your favorite flowers just in time for spring blooms and set up your patio as a second living room, but don't forget about your plants. Some of your houseplants are dreaming of some fresh air and sunshine.

Don't just plop your houseplants outdoors and hope for the best. Just as our skin needs time to acclimate to the sun after a long winter, plants are the same way, points out Lisa Eldred Steinkopf.

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"They all need to be acclimated to the full sun by placing in the shade or on the north side of the house for a couple of weeks," Steinkopf says. She warns you should never just move a houseplant from your indoor space to full sun. "It will sunburn at the least, and die at the worst," she explains. "They need to build up their epidermal layer to a level that will avoid sunburn."

Once you've acclimated them to unfiltered sunlight, these 12 plants will thrive on your patio this spring.

01 of 12

Cactus

Outdoor cacti on porch.

House of Chais

  • Botanical Name: Cactaceae
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light to full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining cactus or succulent mix
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 6.5

Perhaps the most obvious of your houseplants that would thrive outside is the cactus. When you think of cactus, you might picture the traditional tall, green cartoon-like kind, but there are over 120 types of cactus, ranging in look, size, and color.

Your cacti will be happy outside with spare waterings—only water when the soil is dry to the touch—and weekly rotations for even sun exposure.

02 of 12

Bird of Paradise

Outdoor patio with lots of plants.

Bespoke Only

  • Botanical Name: Strelitzia reginae
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Rich loam
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic

The eye-catching Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) will be a showstopper on your patio with its large green leaves and towering height. Since its only real downside indoors is that it needs tall enough ceilings for room to grow—when it's outdoors, it will definitely flourish.

03 of 12

Tree Philodendron

Black and Blooms outdoor patio.

Black and Blooms

  • Botanical Name: Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.0

Is your patio feeling sparse? Need a houseplant with some volume? Look no further. The Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum (also known as a Tree Philodendron) is here to help. This plant thrives in part sun, part shade, and its extra-large leaves will have no problem taking up space on your patio.

04 of 12

Triostar Stromanthe

Outdoor eating space with large plant.

Tropical Midcentury

  • Botanical Name: Stromanthe sanguinea or Stromanthe thalia
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light to some shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 8.0

Triostar stromanthe (Stromanthe sanguinea or Stromanthe thalia) will be an interesting choice on your patio with its pastel stripes and its prayer plant qualities. At night, its leaves will fold up "in prayer."

During the day, they will happily open up to receive its light source, although Steinkopf advises they might do best in a shaded area with not too much direct sun.

05 of 12

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Pretty on Fridays outdoor space with plants.

Pretty on Fridays

  • Botanical Name: Ficus lyrata
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light, and some direct sun
  • Soil Type: Well-drained, indoor potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0–7.0

Can you believe the finicky Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) actually likes being outdoors? As with all houseplants, just make sure to acclimate it over time to the new atmosphere and keep it in a sheltered place from the wind, such as a patio corner.

06 of 12

Rhododendron

Tatiana Home Decor outdoor patio.

Tatiana Home Decor

  • Botanical Name: Rhododendron
  • Sun Exposure: Part sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

Rhododendron are flowering plants that will do well on your sunny patio as long as they get a little bit of shade. They prefer damp but not wet soil, and will proudly display their blooms in the spring for around 3 weeks.

07 of 12

Boston Fern

NC Modern Farmhouse Design outdoor patio.

NC Modern Farmhouse Design

  • Botanical Name: Nephrolepis exaltata
  • Sun Exposure: Indirect light
  • Soil Type: Loamy, well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 5.5

A famous porch plant, the Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) must be kept in the shade warns Steinkopf. But, it does love being outside, making it an excellent hanging porch or covered patio plant option.

08 of 12

Hydrangea

Asnip of Goodness exterior landscape.

Asnip of Goodness

  • Botanical Name: Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
  • Soil Type: Moist soil and clay
  • Soil pH: 5.5

While hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) are usually planted in the ground and not necessarily on patios, we would be remiss not to mention this gorgeous outdoor-loving, blooming plant. Hydrangea is happiest in a location with morning sun and afternoon shade.

09 of 12

Croton

Mocha Girl Place outdoor patio.

Mocha Girl Place

  • Botanical Name: Codiaeum variegatum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, direct light
  • Soil Type: Damp, well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 6.5

Looking to add some color? Look no further than your Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) houseplant. Its brightly colored striped leaves will thrive outdoors and if it's happy enough, it might even bloom for you, giving you a lovely summer surprise.

If your Croton is not getting enough light, its colors will fade to a dark green. If this happens, consider moving it to a brighter spot.

10 of 12

Elephant Ear

Modern House Vibes patio with elephant ear plant.

Modern House Vibes

  • Botanical Name: Colocasia
  • Sun Exposure: Bright light to full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.0

Elephant Ear (Colocasia) comes in a variety of sizes. It can be just 6 inches in a small pot or can grow to 8 feet, depending on its environment. Elephant Ear plants get their name from their huge leaves that look like—you guessed it—elephant ears. This plant loves fertilizer, so make sure it feed it appropriately.

11 of 12

Aloe Vera

House of Chais succulent collection.

House of Chais

  • Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis Miller
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light to some direct sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining succulent soil
  • Soil pH: 7.0–8.5

A perfect plant for your outdoor patio, Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) will add a unique look with its spiky leaves, but it also serves as a practical plant. If you get a sunburn, you can slice an aloe leaf open and apply its sap directly to your burn, although some people might experience irritation if they are sensitive to this plant.

12 of 12

Majesty Palm

Bespoke Only outdoor space.

Bespoke Only

  • Botanical Name: Ravenea rivularis
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Cactus soil and peat mix
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 6.0

The Majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) and the Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana) would make great choices for a patio plant, but not the Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) , as Parlor palms do not like full sun.

The easy-to-care-for Majesty palm would thrive with partial sun, while the Kentia palm would prefer a shadier spot on your patio.

So get outside and get some fresh air, and let your plants do the same—after slowly acclimating them, of course. After all, it's been a long winter for everyone, plants included.

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