How to Move Your Plants: Tips for Moving Garden and Indoor Plants

Learn how to keep your plants lush and green during a move

By Mitch Kline on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 16:22

Most moving companies won't transport your plants, or if they do they will not guarantee that the plants will make it to their final destination alive. It's a considerable undertaking and one that requires a great deal of effort and space, depending on the size and type of plants you want to take with you. Our best advice is to take small plants that can easily fit in your backseat, but say farewell to outdoor plants and anything that comes up past your knee. If you just can live without your green companions consider the following tips to keep them alive and keep your sanity.

Control the Conditions

House plants are best transported in climate controlled environments, such as your car. Most moving companies will not transport perishable items long distances due to the extreme temperatures inside trailers, lack of fresh air and the inability to water them.

Eight Weeks Before Moving

Make a list of all the plants you want to take. Measure them to see if they are small enough to fit in your car or whatever vehicle you'll be taking. Remember, plants need to be kept upright. Their leaves should be protected and their roots kept moist. If you've got a lot of plants consider renting a trailer or pickup truck. Depending on the distance you've got to travel your plant may require water while on the road, especially if you're traveling in the heat of the summer.

Four Weeks Before Moving

Transplant indoor plants from ceramic pots to plastic pots that won't break if they accidentally get dropped or turned over during your move. Try to stick with the same size pot unless the plant has outgrown its original pot.

Outdoor plants should be dug up and placed in a plastic pot with a mix of potting soil and peat. Be careful not to damage roots during transplant and give the plants plenty of water after covering the roots with soil.

Two Weeks Before Moving

Check plants for insects, prune plants to make them easier to transport and carry. Remove new growth first, then trim to shorten the height of the plant and width.

Two Days Before Moving

Water plants to ensure they are well hydrated for the move, which will cause them stress.

Moving Day

• Tape rulers or small sticks to the sides of the pot to help protect branches in the event of a fall.

• Place pots in boxes and use newspaper or packing material to keep the pot from sliding around during transport.

• Put plants in your vehicle at the last possible moment to keep them from being exposed to extreme temps and give them good air flow.

• Outdoor plants should be loaded onto a trailer or placed in the bed of a truck and secured so they do not shift during transport. Use rope to tie down branches so they are not bent by the wind. In some cases plants can be covered with tarps to protect them.

• Place plants on level surface. Place a towel down to protect seats or floors from getting wet or dirty should the plants spill over.

• If traveling for more than two days bring plants indoors when you stay in a hotel. Be sure to expose leaves to light for at least six hours a day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mitchell Kline, previous city editor for Livability.com, curates and produces content for the website, including stories, photos and videos. He also wrote the Livability.com Top 10...

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