Tips For Moving With Houseplants

18 February 2015
 Categories: , Articles

Household moves can be challenging under the best of circumstances, particularly if you must downsize your belongings for the move. Deciding what goes with you and what needs to find another home can be emotionally exhausting. Some things, like you collection of houseplants, may not be necessary, but also hold more than sentimental value. Like pets, plants are part of what makes your house a home and, as such, deserve to be taken along. However, they do require special care if they are to arrive at your new home unscathed. This article will help you know how to move your houseplants. 

Before the Move

Getting your houseplants ready for the big move is important. There are several things you can do in the weeks before the move to improve the chances of transporting healthy plants.

  • Transplant houseplants in ceramic or terracotta pots into unbreakable plastic pots. You can buy inexpensive pots at your nearest home improvement center. If you are moving in the winter and finding inexpensive pots is an issue, check with local greenhouses. You may be able to buy simple florist pots to use for the move.
  • Use fresh, sterilized potting soil in the pots. Some states require sterilized soil if you take your plants across state lines.
  • Check for and treat any insect pests at this time. 
  • Prune or pinch back overgrown plants. Moving stresses your plants and reducing the foliage lessens the stress caused by moisture loss as the plants breathe.
  • Gradually reduce the amount of light your plants receive by moving them away from the windows or placing a sheer curtain between them and the light. This prepares them for their trip in darkness.
  • Water your plants thoroughly until the water runs freely through the bottom of the pot the night before moving. This ensures your plants will have the moisture they need during the move.

Packing Your Plants

The weather in both your current location and your destination impacts how you should pack your plants. Both extreme heat and cold pose a risk to your plants. You need to plan accordingly.

  • If the weather is cold, wrap the plant loosely with newspaper to protect the foliage from freezing.
  • Place your plant in the bottom of a box and add crumbled newspaper around the pot to stabilize it. 
  • Close the box.
  • Punch holes in the sides of the box to allow for air circulation. This is especially important during hot weather.
  • Wrap tall plants in a sheet or other fabric to prevent damage to the foliage and place the pot in the bottom a box for stability.
  • Load your plants while your car is in the garage if the temperature is below freezing, as only a few seconds of cold air can chill and damage the foliage on your plants.

Transporting Your Plants

  • Transport your plants in your personal vehicle. Moving trucks or vans are not temperature controlled and may overheat or freeze your plants.
  • Place the plants in the passenger area of your vehicle, if possible. If you must place them in the trunk, cover the boxes with a blanket to insulate them.
  • Stop occasionally and open the boxes to allow for air circulation, if you are traveling more than a few hours. A good rule of thumb is to give your plants a break whenever you take one. Likewise, if you stop overnight, take the plants inside and open the boxes to give them air and light.

Arrival at Your New Home

Attending to your plants right away is important. The sooner they are introduced to their new location, the easier it will be for them to adjust.

  • Open the boxes and allow the plants to adjust to the temperature in the room for two to three hours.
  • Cut away the bottom of the box and remove the plants through the bottom to avoid damaging foliage.
  • Place them in a draft-free area of your new home, out of the way of foot traffic. 
  • Choose a location that receives indirect light. Even sun-loving plants benefit from gradually being reintroduced to direct sunlight.
  • Water the plants when the soil feels dry to the touch or you observe signs of wilting.
  • Move the plants to their permanent location in a week or two.

With a few precautions while moving and a little TLC upon arrival, your houseplants should return to their usual vigor within a few weeks.