The Bekins Blog

Tranquil Transplants: A Guide for Moving House Plants

July 11, 2018 | Household Moves

Moving most of your belongings, while time-consuming, is simple: you pack books in boxes, wrap glass in paper, and take furniture apart. Better yet, you hire a moving company to pack for you. However, some items can be challenging to move. Fish tanks, for example, take more forethought and research before you move. Moving house plants is another challenge.

Moving can be rough on delicate plants, and if you’re moving cross country (or even just across the state), your plants can suffer from the stress or become damaged. Moving house plants without injury is possible, however, if you can anticipate the needs of your plants and prepare them for the move.

This guide can help you know how to move your plants with you.

Start Preparing a Few Weeks Before

Plants may seem resilient, but they can be very sensitive to changes in soil, temperature, moisture, and light. To help spread out the shock, start getting your plants ready for the move a few weeks before your move-in date.

You’ll want to move your plants in basic plastic pots. Because some ferns and palms have large, heavy decorative pots, moving them in the pots becomes challenging. Simple lightweight pots make moving house plants much easier.

Carefully remove your plants from their normal pots and place them in the temporary pots. The time before the move allows them to adjust to the new pot without any other changes. Continue to water them at the same time and give them the same amount of sunlight each day.

Make Room in Your Vehicle

Moving vans are not suitable for transporting plants. In fact, many moving companies will not allow plants on their trucks. They can be messy, and some plants might not be permitted to move across state lines. For example, all plants moving into California may need to be declared at the state border.

However, your plants wouldn’t do well in a moving truck anyway. Vans don’t have light or climate control. On a hot or cold moving day, the temperature change of the moving truck could be too much for your plant to handle.

You should plan on moving house plants in your own vehicle where you can control how they sit in the vehicle and how cold or hot they get. Cover your plants loosely with plastic, and wrap the pots in newspaper to help shield them from temperature changes as you load them.

If you need to stay overnight somewhere on your way to your new home, don’t leave your plants in the car. Take them with you into your hotel or guest house.

Bring Water With You

Many people assume that giving plants a good soaking right before the move should help carry them through the day. However, not only will soaking your plants make them messier and challenging to move, but the water may not be well absorbed by the plant. Plants that are used to the controlled humidity of an indoor climate may dry out faster, even when riding in a safe car.

Instead of soaking your plants, water them normally. Bring a spray bottle with you so you can give your plants a spritz when you stop for gas. Also, add a little water to keep the soil moist.

Consider Rehoming

Some plants will struggle with a move no matter how careful you are. Many plants have delicate stems or blooms that could be crushed or broken just by a pot tipping over when you make a sharp turn. If some of your plants are delicate (or if they can’t legally be brought into your new state), you should consider rehoming them before you move.

Give plants as a parting gift to friends or co-workers. Leave some plants in the care of a family member who is staying in the area. You might even donate some of your potted plants to a local school to be used in science classes.

Bring Cuttings to Start Again

If you’re sad about leaving some of the members of your plant collection behind because they were too large or delicate to move, you don’t have to say goodbye forever. You could test your green thumb by taking cuttings of the plants you’re not able to bring with you. Starting these cuttings again can be your new challenge after you’ve settled in.

Let Plants Have Time to Adjust

After you pull into the driveway of your new home, immediately bring the plants you brought with you indoors. Set your thermostat to the same temperature as you kept it at your other place. If there is a significant difference in humidity, you may need to run a humidifier or dehumidifier at first to help make the air feel more comfortable.

You might like the idea of getting your plants set up and ready immediately, but you should give them a few weeks to get used to the different environment before removing them from their temporary pots to put them back into their usual holders.

Transplanting immediately will only add to the stress that came from the move and could result in an overall decline in health. Use fresh soil to give your plants a boost when you do make the switch.

For more information on moving house plants and other tough items, contact us at Bekins.

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