How to Safely Transport Your Plants During Your Next Big Move

Sponsor/Writer - LouAnn Moss

The average American’s life includes twelve moves. Compare this to 66% of Americans owning houseplants that need to be moved from home to home. Moving is stressful enough for people, but it is even more stressful for plants. They can develop diseases or die from changes in temperature, light, humidity, or accidentally bumping about with other possessions. Mold only takes about 48 hours to develop, after all.

Follow these tips and when you transport your plants, they may just deal with your move better than you do.

A Week Before the Move

There are plenty of things to do before a move, especially if you are moving out of state. Some states ban the importation of certain plants. These rules can change quickly. There are an average of 1.8 billion websites in the world but only a few of them will help you find out where you can legally transport your plants. A good place to check is the National Plant Board’s website. You can also check the Department of Agriculture for the state where your new home is located.

If you cannot keep the plants, find them new homes or see if the buyer of your old home will want them. Check the hardiness zone of your new home to see if the plants can be kept outside in a garden.

A Few Days Before the Move

Now you’ve selected the plants you are going to keep. Decide which ones will be able to ride with you in a car or van. Get your plants ready a few days before by easing your plants into change. Prune dead leaves, and check for insects and weeds. Flea collars for dogs or cats help draw out any bugs without harming the plants.

Any plants in ceramic or breakable containers need repotting into more forgiving and lightweight plastic containers. Replace all of the soil with new, sterile soil. Anywhere from 72 or 48 hours before the move, water well. Now you need to find big plastic bags, twist ties, bubble wrap, and sturdy boxes.

Packing Plants

Big plastic bags help protect the plant from the sudden natural light and temperature changes a move inevitably brings. Put the plastic bags over the plants and secure them with twist ties. This keeps the soil or any dead leaves spilling about. Place the cone over the plant. Unfortunately, this will not work with succulents because they are too delicate and cacti because they are too pointy.

Place plants in a sturdy box that can be easily picked up. To keep plants from knocking about or falling over, stuff bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or bunches of old newspaper in between the pots. Large plants should be in their own boxes. Smaller plants can share boxes. Close boxes, tape shut, and write FRAGILE LIVE PLANTS on all sides of the box. Poke a few air holes. Never place plants in the trunk as that will quickly kill them.

Consider Shipping By Mail

With all of the hassles of moving, it may be less stressful for you and your family if you just mailed your plants to your new home instead of trying to wedge them in the car or hope they are not crushed by falling boxes in the back of a van. Boxes in the mail get banged about, even when marked FRAGILE, so be sure the plants can’t fall over inside of the box and lose all of their soil. Always select the fastest shipping option because the shorter the amount of time the plants travel is more likely that they will survive the trip.

Plants shipped by mail need to be kept moist throughout their trip, more so than if they were going with you in your car to their new home. They need to be wrapped differently. Take them out of the pots, which makes them lighter and less expensive to ship. wrap them in a wet towel and then place them in a plastic bag. Secure the bag around the roots. Leave the branches and leaves dry. Repot and water as soon as they arrive at your new home.

With some preparation, you can safely transport your plants to your new home. If you’re anything like the average American who has moved almost 12 times in their life, you’ll be ready. Just make sure you’re doing your research and acquiring all the proper tools to do so.

Image credit: via Storyblocks

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