Nothing makes a home feel more welcoming, warm and alive than houseplants. And if you're like me, your plants are part of the family; a member you can't part with very easily and that you need to move with you.
But just like our fragile antiques and furniture, moving plants need special attention. Take some time to consider if it's best to move your plants or if you don't think they'll survive, then make sure you find a good home.
When You Can't Take Your Plants with You
If you're moving from state to state or from one country to another, sometimes your plants aren't allowed to move with you. When moving from California to Toronto, I called customs and found out that my potted fruit trees were not allowed into Canada. Heartbroken, I gave my plants to a friend who had just bought a new house. Now they live quite happily in her garden.
So, before you take plants with you, find out what species are allowed into your new state or country before you attempt to smuggle them in unknowingly. It would be terrible to leave your beautiful darlings with the border guard who may, or may not, possess a green thumb.
Plants and Hired Movers
If you've hired movers will not cover damage to plants. Plants are too fragile and are very likely to suffer from the move. Some moving companies will not even allow plants on their trucks. Ask before you move if the company has any rules on plants.
Moving Plants Yourself
One option is to move the plants yourself. Get some sturdy boxes, line them with plastic and place your plant inside. Stuff bubble wrap or foam cushioning between the pot and the box to make sure your plant doesn't shift or tip during the move. Put them in the back seat of your car, with taller plants positioned on the floor.
This will give you some comfort knowing you can keep an eye on them. Just make sure if you have to spend a night in a motel, that you check the weather. Cold temperatures can damage fragile plants, so to be safe, move them indoors with you.
Tall plants should be bagged or wrapped in plastic to protect them from damage during the move. Fragile branches, stems and flowers don't do well on trucks or being handled too much. Just make sure you poke some holes in the plastic to let your plants breathe.
How to Take Plants From Your Garden
If you want to take some of your outdoor plants with you, but don't want to deplete the new owner's garden, take some cuttings. Purchase some floral tubes, fill them with water, then cap them. This should ensure that your cuttings arrive ready for your new home and garden.
Help Your Plants Adjust After the Move
When your plants arrive at your new home, make sure you remove the plastic immediately, take them out of their boxes and give them some water and plant food. If you had transplanted them into plastic containers and you want to put them back into their original pots, make sure you wait a week before doing this. Moving plants is very hard on them. You don't want to over-stress them by changing their location, then re-potting them.
This could result in stunted growth or even death.
If you've planned your move well, you should have time to re-pot your plants into plastic containers. Just remember that your plants need time to adjust to the new space - just like the rest of your family - and recuperate from re-potting, so do this a few weeks in advance of the move.
Observe any garden plants that you plant at your new home. Difference in soil, climate and air quality will have an effect on their health, plus the shock of having been moved and replanted. Keep a watch on their progress and call in some local help if it looks like their not adjusting well.