YARMOUTH, Maine — The weather is finally getting warm enough that you can move some of the tropical plants that you kept inside for the winter, back outside. But if you’ve ever done that, you know that the plants tend to throw a little fit for a while.

It’s a lot for tropical plants to adjust to the change in temperature and amount of direct sunlight. Some tropicals, such as Hybiscus, really pout. Mine tend to fret most about the sunlight. The leaves turn white, as though scorched by the sun, and then fall off. It seems to take a inordinate amount of time for the plants to recover.

Tom Estabrook of Estabrook’s in Yarmouth says there are ways to baby your tropical plants. He suggests fertilizing them when you are making the change. Because they are tropical plants, and accustomed to constantly pushing out new growth, they respond well to fertilizer, even under stress. Some plants don’t.

You will also need to check the plants for bugs as you bring them outside, and treat them accordingly. You don’t want to infect the rest of your yard.

Tropicals are annuals here. Some over-winter better than others. Mandevillas are especially hard to keep happy indoors, but it is doable. Just add fertilizer when you bring them back outside, and they can grow 10 feet in a season. 

Happy gardening!