How to Move With Plants?
Whether you’re moving because of a new job, to attend school, or simply because you felt like making a fresh start in your life, moving from one home to another is a large undertaking. Although most people generally have a plan for how to box up, pack, and move their (inanimate) belongings, moving your plants can be a bit trickier.
This guide will tell you everything that you need to know to make sure that your favorite green plants and flowers will successfully survive the move. Plants add oxygen, vibrancy, and a positive atmosphere to your home, and it is essential that you understand how to pack and ship your plants so that they can brighten up and enliven your new home.
1. Make a Plan For Your Plants
It’s important to understand that most moving companies will not ship your plants along with your furniture and other belongings.
Why Movers Won’t Move Your Plants
There are a number of reasons for why many interstate moving companies won’t take your plants, including:
- Strict USDA regulations on inspecting plant materials crossing state lines.
- State laws barring certain plant species.
- State agricultural laws.
- Federal and state laws about pests (insects) such as Gypsy Moths that can accompany plants.
- Plants may die in transit because trucks are not temperature-controlled environments.
If you are moving across state lines and are using a commercial moving company, contact them and ask if they will accept your plants. If the moving company informs you that they do not accept plants, you will have to make alternate plans.
Probably the simplest way to move your plants a short distance is by taking them in your own personal vehicle. If this is not possible whether due to lack of a vehicle, the distance being driven, unsuitability of your vehicle for sustaining your plants, or simply because you don’t have time, the good news is that there are other options.
2. Preparing for a Short-distance Move
If you’re moving to a new location that’s only a short distance away, the simplest and easiest way to move your plants is by personal vehicle. If you don’t own or have access to your own vehicle, taxis and for-hire car services like Uber and Lyft will generally allow you to transport a few plants as long as they don’t interfere with the driver’s vision.
Prepare Your Plants Before Moving Day
To prepare your plants for their move, follow these steps:
- Three weeks before you move, repot all of your plants into unbreakable plastic containers.
- Make sure you repot your plants in new pots that are the same size. Changing pot sizes can damage your plants.
- Two weeks before you move, prune bigger plants. This will make them more compact while simultaneously causing them to be bushier and more vibrant.
- To prune bigger plants, pinch off (do not use scissors or a knife) buds and small branches with your fingers.
- A week before you move, carefully inspect your plants for any parasites or insects.
- It is essential that you do not transport pests along with your plants, so use any insecticides carefully by following the directions on the label.
- Two days before you move, give a normal amount of water to your plants.
- The night before you move, pack your plants. Wrap larger plants in newspaper, tissue paper, or an old sheet to protect the branches. Place each plant in its own box, making sure it won’t shift or move around during transit. Add cushioning (balled-up newspaper, Styrofoam peanuts, etc.) around the base of the planet to keep it in place.
- Add small air holes in the sides of each box holding your plants.
- Label the boxes with an arrow to make sure it stays right side up. Write the name/type of the plant on the outside.
Note: Succulents (jade plants, cacti, etc.) and ferns do not need to be pruned.
Transporting Your Plants
When moving day arrives, follow these steps for moving your plants:
- Load your plants last after all your other belongings.
- Do not put plants in the trunk of a car, if possible.
- If moving day is hot, protect your plants from direct sunlight and make sure they are getting enough fresh air.
- If moving day is cold, make sure your plants stay warm.
- Do not water your plants unless absolutely necessary.
When you get your plants to your new home, unpack them and set them up as soon as possible. Remove your plants from the bottom of the box to minimize damage to branches and leaves. If your plants seem dry, add water.
3. Preparing for a Long-distance Move
If you are transporting your plants in a personal vehicle, follow all of the steps listed above for a short-distance move. However, due to the stress and strain that your plants will undergo during a long-distance drive, there are a few additional steps that you need to take.
If the drive to your new home will last more than two days, you will need to make sure your plants get enough light. Wherever you are staying for the night, bring in your plants and open the boxes to make sure that they get enough light. Avoid watering your plants if at all possible as this can add an additional shock to them on top of everything else. If you have a standard fluorescent desk lamp or something similar, this can be a great temporary source of light for your plants each night that you’re on the road.
Options For When You Can’t Take Your Plants With You
If your mover is unable to ship your plants a long distance or you cannot transport them yourself in a vehicle, there are a few other options available. These include:
- Leaving your plants in your old home but making cuttings or collecting seeds to grow in your new home.
- Shipping your plants like ordinary merchandise with companies like UPS, FedEx, or the Postal Service.
- Asking a friend to transport your plants at another date.
- Hiring someone to transport your plants.
Searching through classified ads is a great way to find someone who might be able to transport your plants. There are also a number of “gig” websites where you can find people traveling from your old home city to your new home city, and you might be able to make a private arrangement with them to transport your plants. Be sure to prepare your plants for the move by following all of the steps listed above.
Note: It is usually not possible to ship plants internationally due to stringent border controls. Consult with your new country of residence for further information on laws about importing plants.