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Ask Allied: How to Move Houseplants Long Distances

by Ryan Cox on Jul 15, 2016
Plant lovers have some extra work to do when it comes to moving houseplants long distances. Here are some great tips for how to move your plants.
Moving furniture and household items is one thing…moving living things like people, pets, and plants is another. If you’re getting ready for a long-distance move and are worried about keeping your plants healthy and thriving, here is a step-by-step guide for prepping and moving your potted plants and flowers.

>  Know the Law: If you’re moving less than 150 miles away and are staying in the same state, you may be able to pack the plants on our moving van. However, we are legally restricted from moving live plants for any distance longer than that, when you travel over state (or international) borders, or for moves that take over 24 hours. Most families find that they can take better care of their plants by moving them in a car or even shipping them instead.

>  State Regulations: If you’re moving to California, Arizona, or Florida, there tend to be stricter state regulations regarding what plants you can and can’t move over borders. Other states require certificates for specific plants. Contact new your state for more information on what is legal (or not) to transport on your own.

>  Work with Your Movers: Because there are so many legal restrictions about plants, and because they require special handling, it’s best to be upfront with your Allied team regarding what you’re moving and how. That way, we can work together to come up with a plan of action that is safe, legal, and not too costly.

>  Prep the Plants: A healthy plant is always going to transport better than one that’s struggling, so in the weeks leading up to your move, put a little extra time and care into your plant maintenance. Remove dead leaves and branches, prune the plant back if needed, and do a thorough weeding. Avoid using fertilizer, stick to your usual water routine, and gradually reduce the amount of light they get each day so they won’t be as shocked once they’re moved from their usual sunny location to a dark box.

>  Repot the Plants: If you have heavy ceramic pots for your plants, you may want to consider moving them to lighter plastic containers for the move (they’re much less heavy that way, and chances of the pot breaking are smaller). This is also a chance for you to ensure that your plant is in sterilized potting soil (a requirement if you’re moving over state borders). Of course, replanting can be stressful on a plant, so make sure you do this well in advance of the move to allow it time to settle in.

>  Plan for the Weather: In hot conditions, plants need a little extra water before they leave. In cold weather, dry soil is better. Match your prep plans to the temperature outside (and in the transport vehicle). If you’ll be moving plants from one extreme to another, it’s best to find a temperature-controlled way to move them to reduce the shock.

>  Pack Carefully: Plants move best when they’re placed in a box with air holes and a loose lid. They should be well-packed on the bottom to ensure the pot doesn’t move during transit, but the plant itself should have some wiggle room up top. All plants should be moved upright, and you should avoid packing anything on top of that box. Placing damp newspapers over the top of the dirt can help reduce mess and also keep your plant hydrated.

 You might also want to consider giving your houseplants away or taking cuttings and only moving those. Because some plants are so large (and heavy) and because long distances can be damaging, it’s often best to find them a new home nearby.

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