How To Move Any Distance Without Stressing Your Plant Babies | Architectural Summary

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The principles of how to move are obvious: box household items and engulf fragile pieces like art frames and dishes in bubble wrap or some of that new biodegradable wrapping paper. But packaging plants are another story. Plants are living organisms and excessive bouncing motions in a truck, lack of humidity or changes in light can impact plant life when transporting it. Perhaps for these reasons, many houseplants end up on Craigslist or are gifted to friends.

However, leaving your best housemates can be heartbreaking, especially those cute little succulents you’ve propagated. No need to abandon your plant babies. Before transporting your houseplants, take a look at the trial and error methods shared on YouTube in this plant moving tutorial from Becca De La Plants. Tip: Stackable plastic crates (or airy banana boxes that you can get from your grocer) are great containers for shorter plants. Then read how the experts describe three different moving scenarios that cater to your green offspring.

How to prepare plants for moving a short distance

You might be tempted to pack indoor and outdoor plants together. Don’t. Even if your move is just across town, take extra precautions against pests, says Jason White, founder and CEO of All About Gardening in Williamson County, Tennessee. “Instead, pack indoor plants separately from outdoor plants to prevent insects from moving from pot to pot,” he says.

To prepare your plants for a short move, you will need:

Step 1: Check for bugs

According to White, start by carefully inspecting each outdoor flower pot with a magnifying glass to check for pests like scale insects and spider mites, especially along the plant’s soil. Optional: debug your plants with neem oil. An easy way to do this is to spray both sides of each leaf with the spray in the morning. Let the oil dry on its own for at least 24 hours before transporting the plant.

Step 2: Protect the pots

Evaluate your pots and planters. “Don’t travel with jars that tend to crack,” warns White. Two to three weeks before a move, repot the plants in unbreakable containers like plastic nursery pots, he says. If you don’t have time to repot, wrap each planter in bubble wrap or place cardboard between the pots to keep them from bumping into each other. Wine separators work well.

Step 3: Cut off the dry leaves and water

Trim dead or dying leaves with the scissors or shears, says Melody Estes, landscaping supervisor at The Project Girl in Greenville, Maine. You can water the plants the morning of your move or before they are placed in containers, but make sure the soil is not too wet. This can lead to root rot, and you don’t want the plants to sit in standing water for too long, as the movement of the car can cause the muddy water to spill over.

Step 4: Find a comfortable spot for delicate plants

Make sure your delicate houseplants are placed in a separate area. For example, if a planter is small enough that your car’s cup holder can fit in it, consider placing the delicate plant there. Otherwise, find a box that’s snug enough to avoid any wiggle room. Use your judgment, however; some plants, like burro’s tail or other succulents, aren’t worth transporting because they’re very sensitive to movement and their leaves can drop off, advises White. Other varieties have shallow roots, which also makes them too fragile to move.

Step 5: Use open boxes

For all other indoor plants, be sure to place them in open boxes (i.e. without lids) large enough to enclose the plant’s pot. Taller plants can protrude from the open top of the boxes, and like delicate houseplants, these plants shouldn’t have much or no wiggle room. If necessary, line the space between the jar and the cardboard box with packing paper, fill and wedge as much space as possible.

How to Avoid Damaging Plants or Planters

Switching to plastic nursery pots is a great way to protect your plants and pots. But there are other options. James Mayo of Exubia, a biophilic design agency in London, says how you choose to place your plants together matters. “Plants with tough, rubbery leaves like snake plant or succulents won’t tangle or tangle with other plants because they’re so rigid,” he says. Therefore, pair these plants with those that tend to tangle like palms, dracaenas, and ferns. Meanwhile, Carol Lang, veteran executive of Carol Lang Interiors, a full-service design firm based in Fair Haven, New Jersey, says there’s a way to virtually guarantee pots won’t crack: separate plant pots.

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