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Moving With Plants

I have a friend who is about to move cross country. This Christmas, she was gifted a beautiful fiddle fig and it has thrived in the months since, with huge leaves that brush the ceiling and new growth sprouting weekly. Apparently most moving companies won’t move plants (because they are too fragile) so she has to decide between hauling it cross-country in the car or donating it to a friend to babysit for the year that she will be gone. Has anyone successfully moved a plant cross-country? Is it even possible? What is the best way to attempt it? Here is what I found:

According to most sources, moving a plant cross-country is a bad idea. Even moving locally is sometimes fatal to plants that haven’t been properly prepared (who knew!). It is also illegal in some states without a “certificate of inspection” if your state does that, even driving. Find out more information about your relocation state requirements here. If you do decide to risk a move, here are some things from the internet to help you.

Preparing your plants for a move:

Plants don’t handle the shock of new surroundings well, so you should start preparing them a few weeks in advance to prevent relocation shock.

  1. Get them used to darkness (like what they experience in your car)
  2. Make sure they are in sterile potting mix rather than soil, which is required by most states.
  3. Transfer them to a plastic container and leave them in it for a day once they reach their desitnation.

Packing for the move:

  1. Water the plants very well and wrap the bases in trash bags to lock in moisture.
  2. Put small plants in boxes and poke holes in the sides and lids so they can get air.
  3. Load your plants last into the car.

Making your plants at home:

  1. Remove them immediately from the car but leave them in their moving containers so they can get acclimated.
  2. Water them carefully and put them in places similar to where they were in your old home.
  3. Give them time to recover.

*Losing leaves is a plants defense mechanism, so don’t freak out if your plant goes bald after relocation. Just let it be for a while, those leaves might just come back.


Sources: UPack| Apartment Therapy | National Plant Board |


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Kyle Barber

Kyle is passionate writer, independant thinker, and digital savvy lady with a deep love of marketing and all the challenges it presents.

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