Also on these lists, you will find toxic, caustic, or flammable chemicals. This includes any gasoline left in lawn mowers or power tools. Due to their flammable nature, fertilizers are also not allowed on moving vehicles, whether they are crossing state lines, or traveling to the next town.
Some movers may make exceptions for very short local moves, but even then, live plants are not guaranteed to survive the journey. For that reason, it’s an issue of customer satisfaction as well as policy. Having a plant die during a move can be an incredibly negative part of the moving experience. This could lead to a negative review, which is hard to recover from in any service industry.
Check State Regulations Around Your New Home
As a rule, when moving to a new state, you should familiarize yourself with its laws and regulations. Most states will have their own such laws regarding plants. Many of them will simply allow you to bring your potted plant along with you if you can produce a certificate saying that the plant is pest-free and healthy. The US Department of Agriculture can do this for you. Many of the states with steeper, tougher regulations – Florida, Arizona, California, etc., have locations for this agency.
Further still, some states will have ban lists for invasive species, which you should definitely check before transporting a plant over any state lines.
Preparing Your Plants For Moving Day
A few weeks before your move, you will need to repot all of your plants into plastic containers. For this part of the process, you’ll want to use fresh potting soil. Your plants will need some time to adjust to their new environment in order to begin the transition to a new home or new state. This video will show you how to effectively do so without damaging or disturbing your plants any more than you need to.
The durability of plastic pots will help keep your plants far safer during your trip.
The next step is to prune all of your plants. Doing this should be a regular part of your plant care routine, but it is especially important before moving. Pruning your plant of any dead, dying, or old growth helps nutrients get to the healthier limbs of the plant. It also makes new growth easier and ultimately leads to more sunlight for the lower portion of your plants. When pruning, try not to take off any more than one third of total growth. Trimming off more than this could seriously harm your plants.
Beginning a couple of weeks ahead of your planned move date, you should begin adjusting your household plants’ light exposure to get them ready for your trip. Ideally, you should try to match the light levels they will be experiencing in your car or moving truck cab.
If the difference in light exposure happens to be severe, then you should consider beginning the transition process further ahead of your move. Also, remember to exercise caution, and do this gradually.
Protecting and Packing Plants During a Long-Distance Move
The first step in protecting your favorite plants during a long-distance move is to plan out how your car will be packed. Along with your plants, you will need to pack cleaning products, and clothing (for an overnight trip). Also of importance are perishable food items for snacking and stocking your kitchen, and any personal papers relating to bank statements or the purchase or leasing of your new home.
No matter how much of the work your professional movers did for you, you will be left transporting quite a bit out of necessity. Isolate an area in your front passenger seat. You should avoid trying to pack plants in with other heavier items, as they could easily be damaged during your trip. Have a bottle of water handy, so you can water them as needed.
When you transport plants, you need to do more to protect them. Building a spare low-walled moving box or two will provide a perfect place for your plants to sit in your car. It will also make loading and unloading far easier. Remember to line whatever boxes you use with plastic bags or some kind of watertight material. This will prevent water and soil from making contact with your boxes and possibly staining your seats. To keep your plants in place over the course of your trip, you can stuff bubble wrap or packing paper into any gaps in your plant boxes.
Protect Unused Pots
Protecting your unused pots will be an essential part of your packing process. If you’ve already researched packing tips, then the methods for packing your ceramic or clay pots will be much the same as they are for any other fragile item.
Use boxes that are big enough to give your pots clearance on all sides, and use plenty of packing paper or bubble wrap to protect them even further. The key is to make sure that they will not shift in transit.
Plant Moving FAQ
Why won't my movers move plants?
Aside from movers not being able to ensure your plant’s survival, it is also a cleanliness issue within their trucks. Even if boxed up, there is no reliable way for them to tell if your plants are free of pests or contaminants that could compromise future moves within their trucks.
What if I don't have space in my car for my plants?
If your car or rented moving truck’s cab are short on space for your plants, then you may have to re-home them. Of course, this would only apply for longer moves, where making multiple trips between your old home and new one is not a viable solution.
What is the point of going through the trouble to repot my plants?
The repotting process is meant to provide plants with a less fragile home during the moving process. Ceramic, glass, or clay pots have a way of breaking during moves if they aren’t properly packed away. Plastic pots are perfect as a replacement, as they can handle the stresses of packing and moving far better. Even if you only have a single plant to worry about, it’s worth moving it to a plastic pot.
What should I do with my plants when I reach my new home?
If your plants are a centerpiece of your home life, then it’s likely that you’ve already scouted out a spot for them. Your plants should be some of the first items moved into your new home – unless you have pets as well. Ideally, you will have found a spot that is both out of the way, and mimics the conditions of your plants’ old spots at your previous home.
Will my plants survive in my trunk or in a closed box?
Even for a short move, placing a plant in a totally enclosed box or in your trunk is never a good idea. If light deprivation doesn’t do damage, then excessive heat could (depending on the season). The best spot for your plants during a move is in your car, on one of the seats.