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Hey plant friends!
I’m Maria, the "Plant Killer Turned Plant Lady" with a mission to help you care for plants successfully, grow your indoor jungles, and cultivate more joy in your life. I've got tons of content for you here on the blog, on the Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, and Bloom and Grow Youtube Show to help you keep blooming and keep growing.
Plant friends, fun fact: I was a NYC Real Estate Agent in a former life (during my plant killer phase). I’ve helped tons of people move in NYC, and I’ve gotten many requests from you to do an episode on Moving with Plants. When I thought about what “expert” to interview about this I realized that who better to ask for advise than you- listeners who have moved with their plants! And also realized that I could fill in the rest of the blanks myself- so this will be the first “how-to” episode of Bloom and Grow with just me, helping you all Bloom and Grow.
Everyone’s move is different: it could be down the street, do another neighborhood, another state or another country. So obviously, all of these suggestions won’t apply directly to your move. I’ve included lots of suggestions from listeners, and my own ideas, so you can tailor these suggestions to your perfect moving strategy. I hope they help and wish you an easy move!
This blog is broken down to different phases of your move: “The Week Before, The Day Before, Moving Day and Post Move”.
The Week Before: So exciting… and so stressful!
The week leading up to your move tends to be a pretty big mess of tying many loose ends in your move. Make sure that you take time to consider how and where your plants will fit into this move and make a planty moving plan.
Decide your strategy for packing and what vehicle the plants will be in
Many moving companies have plants on their “Do not move” lists, because of their live and delicate nature; so first, figure out if your moving company will even allow plants in their trucks.
If you are driving:
Designate a section of the car for your plants: ideally this is in the temperature controlled cabin and not the trunk. Trunk is the last option as it’s stuffy and usually very hot or very cold= you’re plants worst nightmare!
If you are taking a several day trip to get to your new home, understand that the overnight conditions are going to be like in your car/truck and make plans for whether or not you need to bring the plants in your hotels with you at night. If you will need to do this, I suggest packing all your plants in a larger tub or box, so the transport in and out of your hotel/car is easy.
@heirloomplantsisters suggests to designate a car that’s equipped and if possible ask a friend to keep an eye on them while you are moving
I have done this on my tour with several plants listeners have gifted me in cities. I water the plant several days before the travel day, then morning of I secure a damp paper towel on top of the soil and wrap the plant in newspaper and put it in the plastic bag (not ziplocked to allow some air) and stick the plant in my backpack. I try my best to stabilize my backpack on my travel and keep it upright. If I have to lay it sideways in the cabin, I do so gently and say a prayer
If you shipping your plants
Realize you’ll need to take extra measures to ensure the plants are packed snugly, so they wont move around.
Wrap each plant individually and either stand them upright next to each other or pack the gently next to each other and put newspaper or packing materials in between to secure them. Fill as much “dead space” as possible, because these plants will definitely get jumbled around in transit. It would be ideal to stand all the plants up, fill all the remaining space with packing materials and then label the box “this side up- Live Plants”. Ask your shipping provider to help you with this.
If you can, avoid shipping on a Thursday or Friday, because the plants will be stuck in their boxes all weekend. Splurge for overnight or two day shipping based on your moving timeline.
Because of weight, you might want to consider repotting your plants in heavy clay pots into plastic for the air travel. Do this several weeks in advance to help them adjust to the repotting, and let them adjust again once out of the box before potting back in it’s original pot.
Try and emulate the amazing plant packaging the plant company’s use when they ship plants! I have learned so much from receiving plants in the mail from Piep and Mountain Crest Gardens and Hirts Gardens!
Water well a few days before the move
@coloradobeck: water them before the move, not during- pack them in right so as not to spill.
Giving them a good water a couple of days before the moves allows the soil to be slightly damp for the move which will 1) help it stay compact, and 2) help your plants not completely dry out during the move and be more stressed.
Don't water the day of, as you don't want plants trapped in soggy, wet soil
If you’re in the winter, or dormant season, make sure as not to overwater, because obviously it takes longer for the soil to dry out in this season.
Get whatever materials you’ll need to pack
@leafophile used bubble wrap and cardboard to help me move my tall cactus
@plantyannie used garbage bags or grocery bags around the pot and tied around the base of the plant to prevent spilling
@crouton_cat: layers of rocks or parchment paper cut around the pot and the stems can reduce soil spillage
@thesidecar brilliantly used wine boxes and stuck plants in the individual wine sections.
The night before: take a deep breath, and get packing!
Prep your plants for their travel day
Place damp paper towel on top of the soil to keep it compact and then stabilize the pot. People have different ways of doing this, but the most suggested way is taking a plastic bag, placing the pot inside and then folding the plastic bag on top of the soil, and taping it closed. Poke small holes in the plastic if possible to give a little room to breathe.
Wrap foliage plants with lots of leaves with newspaper to create a cone around the plant, to contain the leaves.
Store plants right side up and stabilize them in your box with rags, news papers,
@leia433 says “I got a large, long plastic bin. I set all my pots in and then rolled up shirts as cushions.”
@stingraybotanicals says “we used a huge tub to store all the plants in so they wouldn’t rock, along with towels.”
@mrs_natalie_griffin says to “use tall box, line with plastic, immobilize pot with rags at base, & keep upright”
Large plants are going to be very tricky to move, especially if they are finicky. My best advice would be to consider gifting or selling your large love ones, but if you are going to try and move them, I would consider wrapping the entire plant in plastic and newspaper or large paper (plastic around the pot to stabilize soil and large newspaper cone around the entire plant) and then putting the plant in a large wardrobe or TV box- however it will be extremely important for you to stabilize the plant inside the box. Get creative and maybe use pillows (wrapped in plastic so they don't get soil), blankets, clothing, to make sure the plant doesn't tip over in the box. Good luck- if you are success doing this, please comment in the comment section below with how you did it!
If you can, take plants in the car with you, because plants aren’t ideal for the back of moving vans because of the lack of airflow. Keep the plants in your car cabin, so they can enjoy the air temperature control and maybe even a little sunlight, instead of the dark stuffy trunk.
@buffalorach says to “move plants LAST, so they don't get damaged in the shuffle”
@ldobroski23 advises “for multi-day moves, pack your plants somewhere accessible so you can easily water or move them!”
Moving day will be stressful, so planning as much of this ahead of time will greatly help.
During your move, just be generally away of the plants traveling with you. Also- use them as some horticultural therapy and give them a visit if you need to distress during the move.
Several listeners took this to the next level:
@jennydim moved with one plant and held it the entire trip
@sentimentalsapling’s mum put her asparagus fern on the front seat when they moved so nothing could damage it
@niamhs_lovely_leaves: recently moved from IOW to Scotland. She packed them all in her car using newspaper and held them way up between her legs!
Re-acclimating your plants
Label your plant boxes well so you can go straight for them once you’re in your new home to get them out of the boxes.
Don’t stick them in your brightest window immediately, give them a few days to adjust to seeing daylight again
Understand the stress they’ve gone through and be patient. Leaves might yellow, some leaves might fall off, the plant might go through a rough transition phase, but plants are resilient and will hopefully come back with your patience and TLC!
If you can’t take your plants with you…
Take cuttings to travel yourself
@sarahkcrane says “if you can’t take whole plant, take a leaf or cutting to propagate”
If you can’t take an entire plant, prepare rooted cuttings for yourself that you can carry on your person or ship ahead of time using the methods above. You’ll be able to watch the plant take on a whole new life and bloom and grow into a large plant in your new home.
Gift or sell them to your local plant friends
@rt1home says “when I moved from PDX to LA I sold most of my plants but took cuttings of my #1 baes”
When I was just starting my podcast, a friend needed to move out of NYC suddenly. She new of my new found passion for plants and gifted me around 10 plants. Some heirloom plants she couldn’t take with her. I could tell saying goodbye to her plants was painful, but felt so incredibly honored that she was sharing them with me, and it motivated me to empower myself to learn how to really help those plants thrive in my home. I have since given cuttings of those plants to my plant friends and the energy of her plants feels so incredible in my home. I know you might be so sad to part with your plants, but try and look on the bright side, that you might be making a plant friends day!
You can try and sell your plants on your Instagram, or through Facebook groups or your local friends and make some money to contribute to your moving fun as well!
I hope this blog/episode is helpful for you! If you use the strategies, comment below or tag me on instagram to show me your planty move journey!