Thomas also advises keeping them moist because they will dry out faster outside. After you put the plants into a bigger pot with fresh potting mix, fertilize them withone-quarter-strength fertilizer. Check for good drainage and water them thoroughly. “The whole process should take four to five days for vegetables and about two weeksfor ornamentals,” Thomas said. “Don’t put them in direct sunlight right away,” said Paul Thomas, a horticulturist withthe University of Georgia Extension Service. “It will burn leaves not used to highlight.” “They allow better air flow, better drainage and just look better,” he said. When you move plants outside, the leaves aren’t the only parts that need attention.Check the roots, too. “Shade, shade, shade is the key,” Thomas said. “Keep them shaded for a day or twountil turgid (filled out), then give them dappled light and slowly move them into longerand longer sunlight.” “Some plants will also need old leaves removed,” Thomas said. If you managed to save ferns through the winter, they may be thickly thatched withstraw. “You need to protect the plants from strong winds until new growth is established,” hesaid. “Most houseplants prefer dappled shade under trees.” When you first take outside the plants you stored indoors over the winter, or seedlingsyou’ve rooted inside, treat them like your own skin. Reintroduce them to the hotsummer sun slowly, or they too will get burned. If you started your seeds inside and are ready to plant them in your flower bed orvegetable garden, break them in gently. “Repot any root-bound plants when you move them outside,” Thomas said, “usually toa pot two inches larger all around the roots.” “Cut all the straw out, leaving any green leaves,” Thomas said. “New growth will flushafter a week or two under dappled shade if you add a quarter fertilizer and water.” Thomas always recommends repotting into clay pots. Remember to water seedlings more as you give them more light. When the bright summer sun peeks through and sunbathers take to the beaches, skingets burned. Plants are a bit like that, too.