If you think you can treat your house plants just like another inanimate object when you are moving home, think again. House plants can be incredibly sensitive compared to there sibling potted plants and house plants can go into shock if they’re not handled carefully during your move.
In most cases, you will be carrying your plants with you in your vehicle. Most moving companies refuse to take plants and they won’t be able to give them the attention they need anyway.
Therefore, this guide is designed to help you to load, transport and unload your precious house plants with the minimum disruption to their delicate constitutions.
PREPARING YOUR HOUSE PLANTS FOR THE JOURNEY
First of all, are you moving interstate, check whether your plants will need inspecting at the border. Florida, California and Arizona are especially strict so contact the environmental protection or natural resource agencies for the state in question before your move.
The next job for you as a responsible house plant owner is to transplant any specimens in clay pots into shatter-proof plastic pots. Some plants are so sensitive that moving them to a pot of the wrong size will damage them so try and match pot sizes where possible. Carry out transplanting at least three weeks before the move.
If any plants need pruning, do this around two weeks before the move. Pinch back any new growth between your thumb and forefinger and cut off any dead leaves, stems or flowers with shears or scissors. Your compact plant will be less prone to damage during the move and will look more attractive afterwards.
One week before the move, give your house plants a once over for insects and other bugs. If they are infested, consider whether you want to treat them or leave them behind. If you can’t bear to leave them to their fate, you will probably have to either use up, discard or give away your insecticides as most moving companies won’t take such chemicals.
Two days before moving day, treat your plants to a final water. Don’t overwater as this can lead to freezing (in the winter) or fungal attack (in the summer).
TRANSPORTING YOUR HOUSE PLANTS SAFELY
If you hadn’t guessed already, plants don’t enjoy moving so you should leave it until the last moment before packing them. In terms of packaging materials, you will need good quality cardboard boxes, some plastic sheets or bags and some plain newspaper print.
Line each box with plastic. The ideal situation is to have one plant per box but for smaller plants you may need to combine them. In this case, use plenty of newspaper print to keep the pots and foliage apart. Fill any gaps with newspaper print to minimize movement, punch some holes for air and loosely close the lids.
While traveling, keep the plants in the vehicle beside you where possible. The extreme temperatures in the trunk can be too much for your delicate plants and the lack of air can also affect them.
If you are traveling for more than three days, bring your plants inside with you overnight and open up the box lids to expose them to light.
UNLOADING AND ACCLIMATING YOUR HOUSE PLANT
When you arrive at your destination, make sure you unload your house plants as soon as possible. To avoid damaging them, cut through the tape at the bottom of your boxes and lift the boxes off of the plants. Give them a welcome home water, move them back into clay pots and keep an eye on them over the next few days. If you’ve treated them well during the move, they should acclimatize quickly. If you have any concerns, speak to your local plant nursery for advice.