Main concerns when moving plants are: not to kill them and are you legally and logistically allowed to transport them. Plant lovers, don’t despair— you don’t necessarily have to leave precious houseplants behind! When moving plants, follow these tips to ensure their safe arrival. But first, a few caveats.
States regulate importation of plants and animals. Do your homework! You may not be allowed to bring in plants unless they have been grown indoors in sterilized potting soil. Potted outdoor plants, including fruit trees may be forbidden, even if they have been transplanted to sterilized soil. Check the U.S. Department of Agriculture website for detailed information.
Also, by law a carrier may not accept a shipment containing perishable items—plants included— except if the distance is less than 150 miles or delivery is made within 24 hours. If you know you may not legally or logistically be able to move your plants, you may be able to bring cuttings. Wrap cuttings in saturated newspaper or peat moss, then loosely in plastic. They’ll store well for several days.
For plants you plan on transporting, All Reasons Moving advises:
- First take into consideration how far away you are moving. You cannot leave plants locked inside a moving van for days or weeks and expect them to survive. If moving a long distance you may want to give your plants to a friend or leave them for the new owners of your home.
- Prune plants as much and as soon as possible. This will reduce bulk and damage to leaves and tender branches during boxing. De-bug plants by enclosing in a room with a bug bomb, or in plastic bags with bug powder. Keep isolated until the move to prevent re-contamination.
- Use wardrobe boxes for tall plants. Book boxes work well for smaller desk plants, and medium size boxes are great for mid-size plants. Punch air holes in each box, and line the bottom with plastic. Keep box flaps taped upright for additional protection, and fill gaps around pots with newspaper. Note: Unbreakable plastic pots are lighter, but not all plants like being transplanted. Consider repotting to plastic pots before boxing if conditions warrant. If you re-pot, give plants at least two days prior to moving to recover from this procedure.
- Water plants two days prior to moving. Don’t overwater, a hot vehicle may cause mildew or fungus; cold temperatures may freeze them.
- Pack plants last
- Upon arrival, unpack plants first. Cut away or unfold the bottom of the box and slide plants out, instead of hauling them out where your hands or arms could damage branches.
- Allow plants to settle in, resting away from the unpacking bustle. Avoid direct sunlight and temperature extremes until they acclimate from travel shock. Water and feed normally.
At All Reasons Moving, we know that being surrounded by beloved, familiar plants can make a house your home. Ask us how we can help move all your precious belongings safely and intact.