House plants can transform any home into a welcoming oasis of warmth and beauty. But the greatest thing about plants is that they are not just soulless decorations that will beautify your place (like a painting or a vase, for example) – they are living organisms filling up your living space with radiant charm and blissful fragrance. And, as long as you care for and about them, those beauties will also care for you.
Sadly, it’s very challenging to move with plants to another home when the time to do so comes around the corner. Unlike pets, house plants are too fragile to survive a long car trip so if leaving your leafy friends behind is out of the question, then you’d better be prepared for hours of special preparations and extra care so that you can give them a fair chance of survival.
What to know when moving with plants? What to do with plants when moving? Has the time come for tough decisions? Hopefully, the following tips for moving with plants will help you do what’s best for your potted plants, garden plants, and small shrubs.
Should I take my plants with me at all?
One of the most important things to know when moving across country with plants is most plants are very delicate and may not survive a long distance move across the country. While your ultimate decision about whether you should invest efforts, time and money into moving your plants will not be an easy one, the points you should take into account are the value they have for you, the climatic conditions of your new home, and the risk assessment concerning your house plants.
- Value. The sum you invested in your plants will surely influence your decision whether to move them or not, but it’s also the sentimental attachment you feel towards them that will tip the scales one way or the other. How do you leave behind the lemon tree that you got as an anniversary gift from your spouse? It’s simple: some of the plants you have in your home will be so dear to you that the whole plants-on-the-move business will be anything but simple.
- Climate and season. Think about the climatic conditions of your destination (Average air temperature, days of sunshine, humidity, type of soil, etc.) and whether that new regional climate will be favorable to your house and garden plants. Also, the timing of your move should play an important role in your final decision. When is the best time to move plants? Early spring and late fall are good periods for moving house with plants because then the majority of plants happen to be in a dormant state and therefore should adapt better to the new environment.
- Risk assessment. Indoor plants are often cited as one of the most difficult things to move because of their fragility and low rate of survival. If odds are stacking up quickly against them, isn’t it better to just leave them where they feel fine? After all, you want your plants to feel happy, don’t you?
READ ALSO: Why are some things more difficult to move than others?
How to prepare plants for moving
If you’re wondering just why it can be so risky to move plants to your new home, then you should know that taking plants out of their micro-environment may force them into a state of shock and it’s up to you to minimize that stress and increase their chance of survival on the road.
- Insulation. You have to insulate your potted or garden plants from the influence of abrupt temperature changes. Extremely high or extremely low temperatures may be fatal for your leafy beauties so you should do whatever you can to keep them protected from the harsh conditions on the road. Good packing tips will help you achieve that required insulation (see below).
- Water. Hot and dry summers and cold and wet winters can pose a real challenge when moving with potted plants. If you’re moving in summer like most people, water your plants on the morning of your big day and wait for the water to drain before loading them. On the other hand, if you’re getting ready for a winter move, then water your plants roughly 3 days prior to moving day so that their soil can be fairly dry by the time you load them onto the vehicle.
- Light. Some indoor plants will not enjoy the sudden change from natural sunlight to artificial darkness or semi-darkness. To get them ready for the changes on the road, consider reducing the sunlight intake of your potted flowers a few weeks prior to Moving day.
- Infestation. Should you notice some sort of infestation on some of your favorite plants shortly before the move, consult with a florist about proper treatment. If the problem is more serious, then you must leave the infested plants behind as the risk becomes too great.
INTERESTING READ: What can go wrong when moving house?
How to pack plants for moving
Do moving companies move plants? No, they do not do it under normal circumstances. So, professional movers are not allowed to transport plants due to safety reasons, and the same goes for pets as well. Therefore, you get to decide how to transport the flowers, potted plants and garden plants you do want to move with you. By far, the best way to move plants is to have them in your own car when you yourself drive to the new address.
And as mentioned above, proper packing is your best course of action to reduce the stress your plants will be subjected to on the road.
- Wrap clay pots in a thick layer of damp packing or newsprint paper, then place a few more layers of dry paper above it as extra protection. Secure the paper layers with tape. You don’t really have to create the first damp layer with plastic pots.
- Larger flowers will need extra protection in the form of a supporting piece of wood on which you should tie up the tall foliage. Also, protective sleeves from hard paper can be a good choice.
- Cardboard boxes of the appropriate size can be good recipients for your wrapped up plants. Make sure you place sufficient padding to avoid direct contact between the pots.
- If possible, close the lids of the boxes but poke holes along at least two sides of the moving containers so that enough fresh air can reach your flowers.
- Load your already protected plants into your vehicle last, just minutes before you leave on your relocation road trip.
- If you intend to transport your leafy pals in the storage space of your vehicle (the trunk), you might want to cover them with a few blankets as an extra layer of insulation.
- To minimize the shock, unload your poor plants right away when you reach your destination and take them inside your new apartment or house immediately. Open the lids of their containers but don’t take them out just yet – leave them for few more hours to acclimatize and then arrange them on their permanent spots in the new home.
- Monitor your plants closely in the following days and know that the leaves of some of your lovely flowers might turn yellow and fall down due to the shock. If that happens, be patient and wait it out. However, if their condition does not improve in a few weeks, consult a specialist on what you should do next.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK: The best packing tips when moving house
In short, moving with plants to a new home can be somewhat risky and you should weigh in all of your options before you agree to do it. If the risk is too great, just give some or all of your beautiful plants to close friends or donate them to a school or a nursery home or a hospital where they will continue to give joy to other people.
SEE ALSO: How to ship pets across country