How to Move Plants
Whether you’re moving an office or a home, houseplants can be very difficult to handle. There are two problems. First, you’ll want to protect the plant itself. If it is precious enough to be handed to long distance movers it probably has considerable value. That might be sentimental value or monetary value, it doesn’t matter which. The second consideration is keeping the plant from spreading mess or damaging anything else while in transit. Sure they might not be a family member or friend, but many people grow very close to their plants!
Let’s look at the requirements of the plant first. What will it need on the journey? If it’ll be traveling for more than a couple of hours, it’ll almost certainly need more water than usual. Moving vans can get very hot and just like people, plants need to drink more in a warm environment. Some plants can deal with heat but others don’t do so well. Unless your precious plant is a species that really doesn’t like to be waterlogged, give it a good watering just before packing it up.
The water can be kept from running out of the pot and spreading through your packed boxes with a plastic bag. Grocery bags can be reused for smaller pots, but big, heavy ones should be placed in thicker, tough bags that won’t rip so easily. The weight of a big pot plant can be considerable, especially if it has just been watered, and all that weight can wear through a thin layer of plastic pretty easily. Double-bagging doesn’t take long and anything that gives you added piece of mind during the move is worth doing.
The bag can be tied around the plant stem to keep soil safely in the pot. The easiest way to make the seal really secure is to tape the mouth of the bag around the stem. Heavy duty packing tape is fine, just make sure it’s carefully cut away when the plants arrive at their new home. Taking a look at the way commercial nurseries pack pot plants can also give you some good ideas.
Of course, not all plants live out their lives in pots. If there are one or two plants in the garden that you simply can’t bear to part with, dig them up carefully and either wrap the roots in a damp cloth and bag that, or make up a special soil bag- do use a really strong plastic though! Unpotted plants can be laid on their sides fairly easily or even packed into boxes of their own.
When the moving truck is being packed, make sure upright plants are well jammed in and can’t fall over. Boxes can shift in transit and crush plants quite easily. Most movers are good at making sure packages stay put, but if you’re doing it all yourself, take care to protect plants from falling or sliding boxes.
In all the chaos and excitement of moving an office or a household, the plants can easily be neglected at the other end. The kids will want to find their toys and make up their new rooms and mom and dad will probably have a lot to deal with, and be quite tired too. However, freeing the plants from their plastic is one of the first things to do when you arrive. It’s no good transporting plants across the country only to have them die on arrival!