By Kate Kemp
If you have house plants, and you're moving to a new location, you have three options: donate 'em, dump 'em, or dare to take 'em with you. So, you may not care for your plants like a "Professional," but Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist for The National Gardening Association, provides some great advice for those who can't bear to leave their precious plants behind:
If you're flying to the new location: "I believe your first step should be to contact the airline you are travelling with. They most likely have very specific guidelines (and I bet regulations) on transporting plant life. Also contact the Department of Agriculture in the state you are moving to; they may also have regulations to prevent the importation of pests."
If you're travelling by vehicle: "For the plants that are going in the truck, you should insure that your plants are in containers that will not break. If they are in terra cotta pots, transfer them to plastic. Perhaps it would be a good idea to go to your local nursery or garden center and ask about those black plastic nursery pots. Around here you can get used ones for a nickel a piece! Be sure to sterilize them however."
Other tips: "Your plants will need to be kept moist during their journey. Give them a good watering and then wrap the soil tops with sphagnum moss you have soaked overnight. I would then wrap the whole pot in newspaper, and then in burlap. It probably would not be out of order to loosely wrap the foliage in burlap also to avoid breakage of leaves and stems."
"For cuttings, I would wrap them in the wet moss as well and wrap in newspaper. Then place the wrapped cuttings in an UNSEALED ziploc bag. Place the bags in a cardboard box with some sort of light packing material. I mail cuttings and small plants quite often and this works well, even when mailing across the country. I would definitely put these on the truck...you don't want any unusual plants in baggies that are boxed up going through the inspection process without you there to explain...have you ever seen Midnight Express? Wouldn't want all that trouble over a dieffenbachia now, would we?"
If you're moving from a large space into a small one, and don't have room for your plants, consider donating them to local nursing homes and then you might want to contact The American Community Gardening Association, 100 North 20th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103; ph# 215-988-8785 to find the closest community garden. Otherwise, follow Charlie's advice, and both you and your plants will continue to grow and flourish in your new environment!
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