Moving with Plants

Moving this summer? Make sure to arrange a safe passage for your plants! No, they don’t have to maneuver heavy furniture or figure out how to get a parking permit, but plants can still get stressed out by a move. Here are our tips for getting them to the other side okay.

Temps

Let’s start with a very important one that applies to anyone transporting plants, moving or not: Don’t leave your plant in a hot car. Basically, if it’s too hot to leave a human or dog in the car, it’s too hot for your plant. The leaves could be literally cooked in a short period of time, especially delicate leaves.

Same with a moving van: try to make sure the interior temp does not get too high (or too low, in the winter). If moving in the winter, make sure your plants spend as little time as possible in the cold air, and protect them in a box or bag from the outside air. From the perspective of your plants, it’s probably best if you can simply avoid moving in below-freezing temps!

In either case, try to avoid blasting heat or AC directly onto a plant.

Packing

Packing plants in sturdy, open containers is a nice way to carry them, if you have the luxury of being able to transport them by car. Make sure to pack them neatly so protruding stems are tucked in and won’t get nicked or chopped off by a tight stairwell corner. You could even loosely tie some twine to help rein in leaves.

For plants that can safely dry out, allow them to dry out before packing them up, so they are lighter to carry. This is especially a good idea for larger potted plants, which can be very heavy to move!

If you need to box up your plants, be extra careful to secure space for their leaves, and tape or rubberband soft plastic to on the surface of the soil to hold it down. You might try cutting open a 2 liter soda bottle to use as a sleeve, or using any other similar rigid covering to keep leaves from getting crushed. Make sure to mark boxes with “live plants,” “fragile,” and “this side up.”

If they’re going to be boxed for more than a day, make a few slits for air holes—plants need to breathe.

Don’t worry about leaving your plants in the dark for a few days; they’ll be fine. But don’t let them sit in the dark any longer than they have to!

Spiky Plants

This seems obvious, but mind the cacti and other spiky specimens when packing—not only for yourself, but for any unwitting friend who is helping you move, not to mention neighboring plants! Soft leaves can easily get snagged on cactus spikes. Wrapping bubble wrap or soft cardboard around sturdier varieties (not recommended for small cacti) can help protect the plant and those around it.

Movers

If you’re hiring movers, check to make sure they are able to move living things - some companies are not licensed to move plants. Even if you’ve hired movers, you might still want to move the plants yourself, so you can make sure they are handled with maximum care.

New Environment

Plants tend get accustomed to their environments over time, so when you move them, you might notice some signs of stress such as dropping leaves (looking at you, ficus). You’ll want to baby your plants a bit after a move, make sure to give them a good drink upon landing, and put them in an extra bright spot to recover during the unpacking process (direct or indirect sunlight depending on the plant). Once they’ve had a few days of R&R, you can site them appropriately in your new home and care for them as usual. If you’re not sure what kind of care your plant needs, snap a photo and come talk to us at one of the shops! We’re always happy to help.

Alexandra Reisman