Plants seem amenable enough. They barely move and they certainly don't audibly complain about anything. But they're actually very sensitive beings. And they will get as upset as your cat or dog about moving to a new locale -- especially when moving involves spending a lot of time in a vehicle that's not temperature controlled.
What kinds of things should you consider when moving plants? First of all, you may not be able to bring the plant at all if it's outlawed in your new area. And if your plant is legal to make the move, you need to keep it moist and make sure the temperature of the vehicle is reasonable. What else should you do to make your plant's trip a comfortable one?
Believe it or not, if you're moving to another state, federal and state laws may prohibit you from bringing a certain type of plant with you. In certain areas, plants may have to be quarantined or inspected to be certified that they are pest-free. Some states prohibit bringing any plants into the state. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't bring your plants with you to your new home, you'll have to give them up. You can give them to a friend or donate them to a willing institution. Or, you can even sell them. People have been known to buy plants off CraigsList.
If your plants are acceptable where you're moving, then you can let the movers move them. Professional moving companies are usually willing to move houseplants. But don't expect professional moving personnel to water your plants or give them any special care. They'll just pile them into the truck and leave them be. So, if you're moving a long distance and will be on the road for a long time, you might want to put the plants in your own vehicle. You can look after the plants, making sure they're kept upright and remain in a relatively temperature-controlled vehicle. More about that on the next page.
Most indoor houseplants cannot survive in temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 1.1 degrees Celsius or higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius) for more than an hour, particularly if they are not wrapped. So if you are moving a long distance, pack plants in cartons and try to make sure they are moved in a heated vehicle and are not left in an unheated car or moving van overnight. That may mean you need to take the plants into the hotel room with your overnight if you're making a long car ride to get to your new home.
Make sure plants are moist when they are packed for moving. They can usually survive for about 10 days without water. So you probably won't need to worry about watering them during the trip. If your plants are in ceramic or clay pots, those are heavy to carry and they're also breakable. So, it's a good idea to transplant your plants to plastic pots before the move. But even just moving them from one pot to another can be traumatic. So do this a couple of weeks before your move. That way the plant will get used to its new pot before it's put on the road.
If you can't move your plants because of space limitations, quirky laws or simply because you don't think they'll survive the trip, then consider taking cuttings from a few of your favorite plants with you. This is an especially nice thing to do with the plants in your yard that you don't want to dig out of the ground. To ensure sound transport, you can keep the cuttings in a plastic bag with damp vermiculite or peat moss. When you get to your new place, simply plant the cuttings in a new pot or in the yard.
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