Aside from live plants, potting soil, and fertilizer, moving companies will not transport any other living things or flammable, toxic, or caustic materials. Perishable food items will not be allowed inside moving containers of any kind either.
Even for local moves, placing these items in an enclosed moving truck can generate enough heat to cause some serious problems for both you and the moving company in question. Aside from this, these items – especially plants – can make quite a mess of your other belongings.
How To Move Your Plants To Your New Home
There is a huge caveat with this. At least for a long-distance move, your plants may very well die in transit. Despite the sentimental connection, you may feel towards your favorite plants, it may be wise of you to try and re-home them before your move. If not with friends, then with the next tenant or buyer of your current residence. If you choose the latter, you need to be sure to contact them first. Simply leaving your household plants in your old residence has a chance of not going over well.
If you would prefer to take them with you across state lines, you should first look over the state to state regulations on which plants are allowed where. Rules like this protect states from invasive fungi, pests, and even plant species, so they should be strictly adhered to. Among states that have strict regulations on incoming plants are California, Arizona, Washington, and Florida. It would be well worth your time to check the legality of bringing plants into any state before making an attempt to transport plants to your new home.
Preparing Your Plants For Your Car
The first step towards moving your potted plants is to re-pot any in ceramic or clay into plastic pots. Doing this will help to greater ensure their durability during transit. If you clean out your more delicate, now-empty pots, your movers will be more than happy to take them. If you wish to pack these items for safe transport yourself, you will need packing materials. With the help of packing paper or bubble wrap and a sufficiently large moving box, you can ensure your ceramic or clay pot’s safety.
Your step when preparing to move your plants to a new environment is to prepare the plants themselves for transportation in your personal vehicle.
- Ensure adequate sunlight and nutrients: This should be a no-brainer for plant owners of all experience levels. However, if you’re planning a move, then this may be something that gets looked over or forgotten. Moving is a stressful time for all involved, including your potted plants. There will likely be an adjustment period of a few weeks in your new home, where they will be in a slightly weakened state. You can mitigate this by optimizing their health in the lead-up to your relocation.
- If you plan on transporting your plants in the trunk of your car (NOT recommended), you should gradually reduce the amount of sunlight that it gets in the week leading up to your move.
- Prune your plants: Pruning is a vital part of houseplant maintenance, which you should already be well-practiced in. Pruning plants is the process of removing dead, dying, or excess growth for the purpose of reducing stress on the main organism. These excess limbs and leaves draw water and nutrients away from the main part of your plant; reducing stress on your potted plants before moving them to a new environment greatly increases their chance of survival.
- Repot your plants: Ceramic pots are slightly porous. Air and water can pass somewhat freely through the sides and bottom, according to moisture levels in the soil itself. This makes them an amazing vessel for your plant when stationary. For your own sake, you should definitely consider re-homing your plant in a plastic container – at least temporarily. Putting it in a now-airtight home will help to keep the inside of your car cleaner, but it will also mean that you have to monitor your plant more closely.
Moving Your Plants
If at all possible, you should aim to move your plants in the front seat of your personal vehicle, with little to nothing else around them. Conditions that they would face in a moving van are as bad for plants as it gets. You should avoid the darkness or excessive heat that they would face if they were to be transported in your trunk, if possible. When moving plants in your car, there are a few packing tips you should follow.
- Make sure your plants are in a non-porous container: This was already covered in the last section, but it bears repeating. Placing your plants in a solid container, that won’t leak is key to a smooth move.
- Keep water on hand: You should have a dedicated, full water bottle with you in the front seat of your car at all times during your drive, even if you are only covering a short distance.
- “Crate” your plants: Placing your plants within arm’s length in your car enables you to keep an eye on and water them whenever needed. You should go a little above and beyond this when protecting your plants for a move, however. You should build a small box for each plant you need to transport. Doubly reinforce them with tape on the bottoms, and line each with a plastic bag to prevent any unwanted spillage when watering.
- Maintain a stable environment: The temperature inside your car should be around whatever “room temperature” is for your home. Excessive heat or cold could be damaging for the plants you are moving. In addition, you should have proper airflow in your vehicle. Proper air circulation is key for plant health; keep your vents on and taking in air from the outside throughout your drive. You should also monitor the amount of sun your plants are getting. If you have a plant that needs less sunlight, you can fold the flaps of its moving box up, and place it in the well of your passenger seat to compensate.
When You Arrive
- Strategically place your plants: When you arrive in your new home, you should place your plants in a position that best mimics where they were in your last residence. Whether this means direct sunlight or very little sun, you should make an effort to take care of this first thing.
- Monitor your plants: If you’ve Googled “moving tips for plant owners,” this should feature heavily in your search results. Plants will take some time to adjust to a new home – sometimes up to a few weeks. They may lose some leaves or growth during this time, but it is a completely normal part of moving. If they seem frail after the first month, you may want to seek help or advice to get them looking and feeling right again.
- Put them back in their original pots: This obviously only applies if you had moved them into a new vessel for the sake of your move. But, if you did, you should move your plants back into their original home after they have thoroughly adjusted to their surroundings.