Dos and Don’ts for Moving Your Potted Plants

Your family plants, like your family pets, depend on you to get them safely to your new home. Here are some dos and don’ts for moving your potted plants.

1. Don’t Put Them in the Truck

Your moving company can’t take plants in the truck. This is against policy and, in some cases, is illegal (for example, if you cross state lines or move long distance). Even if you drive the truck yourself and this is your own personal truck, you’ll want to consider a few things:

  • Your plants could easily freeze or cook in an unheated truck.
  • The moving truck has no windows, so plants won’t get any light.
  • Items may shift during transit and crush the plant.

Typically, the best bet is to move the plants in your family car.

2. Do Check Before Crossing Borders

In some cases, your plant will be confiscated at the border of the next state if you’re not careful. For instance, California has strict regulations that don’t allow bringing certain out-of-state plants. These types include some common houseplants, such as potted lemon trees.

3. Don’t Let Them Get Burned

Since you won’t be putting your plant in the moving truck, you’ll need to make room for the plant in the family car. But a plant that’s lived its entire life inside a house may not be prepared for the intense sunlight it could receive through a car window. Even if the plant was in full sun in its native habitat, it can still get unsightly burns on its leaves if it gets full sun unexpectedly.

Unless your plant has been in full sun in a sunroom, you’ll want to give it a more sheltered position in the middle of the car, pack it inside a protective box, or cover it with a sheet to protect it from UV burns during transit.

4. Do Pack Them Securely

Houseplants can often be top-heavy, and their leaves, flowers, branches, and pots can be fragile. For a small plant, you may be able to simply wedge its pot into a similarly sized cardboard box, then pack that box into a tray with your other houseplants. However, this leaves the top of the plant exposed, so you’ll have to transport it very carefully.

For a larger plant, you may need more specialized methods especially if it’s very fragile. First, prune off any excess growth, then use a large box big enough for the entire plant. Anchor the pot at the bottom of the box by packing bubble wrap or wadded paper solidly around it, then make sure the box stays upright during the move.

5. Do Check Carefully for Bugs

Moving can be stressful for you, but it’s stressful for your plants too. This can leave them more vulnerable to pests or fungal infections. Check carefully for any indications of a problem before you pack the plant up, and consider treating it for bugs before you leave just in case. You don’t want to start out at your new home with a nasty case of spider mites.

6. Don’t Leave Them in Storage

You may hear that putting your houseplants in storage for a couple of days is acceptable in a pinch. This may be true, as long as your storage facility doesn’t have rules against it. However, the plants are likely to die after a few days without light, so don’t use this option unless you know you will come back for them right away.

Plants may also dry out quite quickly in the climate-controlled environment of a storage unit. And a non-climate-controlled unit could be even worse since houseplants are often quite vulnerable to temperature extremes.

These dos and don’ts will help you get a handle on what’s required to safely move plants to your new home. For full-service moving, call Bell Moving & Storage today, whether you move across town or across the world.

 

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