I said that I was going to make a post about transitioning plants outside for the spring, but instead I decided maybe I should make one on why slow transitions are important in general. A lot of people say that they don't understand how they can buy a perfect plant, bring it home and kill it so quickly. My first question is always, well where did it come from?
I ask this because it's important to know the conditions your plant was thriving under. Plants sustain themselves through photosynthesis. They convert sunlight into food for themselves. When they are in a nursery, they likely have access to an unobstructed but filtered view of the sky all day. They are receiving light all day long. When you bring them home and take them inside, even if you place them near a sunny window, they are still likely only getting about 1/4 of the sunlight they are typically used to. Your house does not have a greenhouse with glass walls and every window does not get sun all day. Imagine if you were adopted and then instantly only got to eat 1/4 of the amount of food that you're used to. This is one major reason that plants suffer once they make it home.
Often times plant owners try to make up for this by giving plants more water. This is a mistake. Plants use water quickly when going through photosynthesis, but when there is less light and less photosynthesis is happening, plants require less water. Overwatering will only result in soggy soil and root rot.
Another mistake plant owners make is by over fertilizing the plants. Let me make this clear, fertilizer is not a supplement to replace light. It might be called "plant food" but it's only helpful to your plants when your plant is actively growing in good lighting. It works to help replenish your plants nutrients during growth.
So, with all of this being said about transition, it's important to take these things into consideration when transferring plants outside for the summer. Start bringing plants outside to a shady location for a few hours a day. They cannot handle the intensity of the direct light right away. Slowly increase the time outside while being careful to remember to water and fertilize more frequently!