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Moving to a new place means you probably already have a lot to think about apart from just your plants. Here is some advice from our team of Plant Experts to keep moving with your plants as simple and stress-free as possible.
There are several reasons you might want to protect and wrap your plants when moving. You can do this both to protect the leaves from ripping, snapping or otherwise getting damaged. It can also protect them from low temperatures outside.
Packing them securely
One of the easiest ways of packing small plants is to place them in cardboard boxes. It's best to individually wrap each plant in wrapping- or newspaper and then place them in the box with paper or wrapping between each pot. This will keep them from shifting or bouncing around in the box. If the plants fit neatly inside, it's okay to seal it completely. Just be sure that you keep it upright and don't stack anything too heavy on it.
If you're using a moving company, it's extra important to pack your plants well and inform them of your fragile plant boxes. Clearly mark the boxes and make sure they go into the truck last— especially if it's very hot or very cold out. The best plan is to bring them with you in a separate car.
Vans and cars get very cold in winter and very hot in summer so take extra care of them on long journeys.
Moving in cold weather
During the colder parts of the year, tropical houseplants are easily damaged by the low temperatures. There are a few things you can do to prevent damage. Loading a truck or car can take some time and most moving vans aren't heated so it's important to pack them in a safe way.
Things you can do:
Individually wrap each plant in several layers of newspaper, bubble wrap or similar insulating material
Pack them together in a larger box with either a heat pack or a hot water bottle to extend the time the box keeps warm. Any holes meant for lifting the box should be taped over to keep the warm air in.
Big trees and other big individual plants are best packed in large plastic bags. If very cold outside, several layers may be used as well as bubble wrap or a roll of wrapping paper
Try to plan the moving of the plants in a way that minimizes the time they are exposed to cold in the first place
Try to keep your plants a little on the dry side the days before moving if possible - chilled, wet roots have a higher risk of rotting
Moving in very warm weather
Moving plants in very hot weather poses different, but equally damaging risks as in cold weather. It’s important to both protect your plants from getting too warm, and avoid hot, scorching sunlight burning them.
Things you can do:
Water your plants a day ahead so that they’re well hydrated before their journey
Pack them snugly to absorb shock, but avoid placing them in an enclosed box that risks getting overheated. Instead use an open crate, or leave the top of the box open
Avoid leaving the box sitting out in direct sunlight or in a car longer than necessary. Try giving them a shaded spot to both avoid being overheated and scorched
Acclimatization after moving
Moving a plant to new growing conditions always risks stressing the plant and it might cause damage to the leaves. It's important to try to mimic the conditions your plants had before moving them as close as possible to minimize any potential issues.
Some of the most common issues encountered with plants are often related to the acclimation (or rather lack of it). Many houseplants can often tolerate a range of temperatures, humidity levels and light levels but it takes time for them to produce leaves adapted to the specific spot. If the conditions differ too much from what the leaves where made for in too short time, they may dry, drop or get burnt.
Things you can do:
If your new home doesn’t have a spot that’s as bright as before, giving your plant a grow light as supplemental light often works really well
Avoid direct sunlight hitting the plant if not yet acclimated. You might need to shade the plant or place it some distance from the window to avoid direct sunlight
If you find your home has a lower humidity level than before, you can temporarily raise it in order to acclimate it over a longer period. You can do this by misting the plant daily (as long as it tolerates misting), using a humidifier in smaller rooms, a pebble tray and avoiding spots close to a heater or in draft.
Don't forget to update the new spot in Planta to get a correct care schedule for your plants.
How long will my plant tolerate being outside in the cold? It depends a lot on which plant you have, and how cold it is outside. Most plants tolerate temperatures above 50°F (+10°C) rather well, and when insulated, they often don’t need any extra heat source. 20- 30 minutes is usually safe. They get chilled much faster as the temperature is close to or below the freezing point. The colder it is outside the quicker the plant will risk getting frost bite.
How long will it tolerate darkness? Most plants can go between a day and three days without light, but do best if unpacked as soon as they’ve arrived at the new place.
I just moved and my plant is losing a leaf, will it die? No, it’s very common for plants to lose a leaf or two if recently moved. This can, in some cases be inevitable but it may also be an indication of the new spot differing too much from what it’s used to. But be observant so that your plant doesn't develop bigger issues like being under- / overwatered or is placed in an area much too dark.
My plant broke while moving it, what should I do? It’s never fun when a plant you’ve put a lot of effort into growing breaks. Luckily, many plants are easy to propagate from broken branches, and some are also possible to propagate from individual leaves.