Moving Plants

Of course, not all of the living things in our life have feet or slither. Some are living plants. The best advice about moving house plants: don’t. Either give them away or sell them. You can always take cuttings with you to start new plants.

Most moving companies will not transport plants more than 150 miles, and they will not guarantee their condition upon arrival. Plants can be difficult to move and take up a lot of space in your vehicle.

Check with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for regulations about moving plants into your new home state. If you decide you must move some of your house plants, follow these guidelines:

  • Three weeks before moving, repot the plants into unbreakable plastic pots. Use commercial potting soil. (Many plant diseases are soil-borne.)
  • Two weeks before moving, prune as appropriate. Your plants will take up less space and be healthier.
  • One week before moving, check for and eliminate insects and parasites. Either carefully use a commercial insecticide, or better, place each plant in a black plastic bag for five or six hours along with a flea collar or pest strip.
  • A couple of days before moving, water all plants normally.
  • One day before moving, wrap the base of the plant and loosely wrap the top of the plant with damp newspaper; then wrap the whole plant with plastic. For trips longer than a couple of days, use dry newspaper around the bottom of the plan and soft, dry paper to cushion the branches. Place the plant in a moving carton and use more packing material as necessary to cushion the plant and hold it upright in a box. Cut holes in the sides of the box to provide air, and then fasten the lid loosely. Label the carton.

Hanging plants can also be hung on the metal rack in a wardrobe carton. If possible, pack your plants in the interior of the car. They may get too hot or too cold in the trunk.

If you must load your plants into the back of a truck, load them last and unload them first. During the summer, park in the shade and open windows a crack; in the winter, park in the sun and keep windows closed. If you stop overnight, take the plants inside.

Unless your trip is more than four days, you do not need to open the cartons. If your trip is longer, after about four days open the cartons and check to see whether your plants need water. Once you’ve arrived, unpack plants as soon as you can. Open boxes from the bottom and lift the carton off the plant to avoid damage. Place your plants for the light they need, and try not to move them soon after their initial placement; they need to rest and acclimate. Don’t you wish you could do the same?

 Staying Behind