Moving with Houseplants

Moving your houseplants can be hazardous to their health – even fatal!

If you’ve got houseplants and are planning to move homes, you’ve got only 3 options. You can give them away – be generous, throw them out – somewhat cruel, or take them with you – now that’s daring!

If you happen to be one of us that can’t bear the thought of abandoning your precious plants, you’re in luck. The National Gardening Association has some great advice:

Going airborne? If your belongings will be shipped by plane, your first step should be to contact the airline. Most airlines have strict regulations when it comes to transporting plant life. They will tell you what you can and can’t take, and how they should be packaged. Another worthwhile phone call would be to the Department of Agriculture, in the area that you are moving to. Some provinces and states forbid the importation of plants, to prevent the spread of pests (harmful insects) and agricultural diseases.

Hitting the highway? If your belongings will be shipped by car (truck), you should check the containers in which you are planning to transport them in. Terra cotta pots for example are very fragile and may break. It would be wiser to transplant them into plastic pots. But be careful when transplanting. Make sure you do not cut or tear the roots, and always sterilize the pots before replanting. Some pots, especially used ones, may still have bugs or bacteria in them, thriving on old soil.

Regardless of your mode of transportation however, the most important thing to do is keep your plants moist throughout their journey. Aside from giving them a good watering, you can try wrapping the soil tops with sphagnum moss soaked overnight. Also, wrap your pots in newspaper and then burlap. Leaves and stems can also be wrapped (loosely) in burlap, to avoid breakage.

An alternative to transporting the entire plant, would be to take only ‘cuttings’ of your favorites. Cuttings (small clippings of your plants) can be wrapped in wet moss and again in newspaper. Then place the wrapped cuttings in unsealed ziploc bags and put them into cardboard boxes ready for transportation.

With a little special attention, your plants will soon continue to grow and flourish in their new home – assuming they’ve survived the journey!