Moving abroad with plants – how to make it work

Every plant lover would agree that plants make a house feels like home. Therefore, it’s only natural to want to bring them with you when you’re moving abroad. You’ve put so much effort into growing them, and you have them for months, maybe even years, so it doesn’t seem right to leave them behind. Moving abroad with plants might seem complicated, but don’t worry. We’ve prepared tips that will help you go through this process as stress-free as possible.

Plants packed for mocing house

©Shutterstock: Before you start preparing and packing your plants, you need to check if you are legally allowed to move all of them with you to another country.

Get informed

Before you start preparing and packing your plants, you need to check if you are legally allowed to move all of them with you to another country. Many countries have specific regulations and laws concerning importing plants. Therefore, make sure to verify all information before trying to cross the border.

The main reason why countries don’t allow for certain plants to be imported is their impact on the ecosystem. It might seem like a good idea to sneak a couple of seeds of that beautiful flower you have growing in your garden. However, if the plant is non-native to a particular ecosystem, it can cause issues.

In the worst case, a non-native plant can take over the natural habitat of a native plant and go as far as making it extinct. Plants that don’t naturally grow in a specific area can attract pests which can be deadly to native plants. With no natural population controls, the issue spirals out of control.

Also, you need to check the growing conditions in the country you’re moving to. Not all vegetation thrives in every single environment, so it’s essential to consider the climate. Even house plants can be significantly affected by weather, so it’s crucial to do your research. After you move, you need to help your houseplants acclimatise to your new home.

The process of moving abroad with plants

Let’s be honest – international moving won’t be easy, especially if you plan on bringing your botanical friends with you. Besides doing your research, you will need to properly pack and hire the right kind of assistance. All the chances are you won’t be able to do it on your own.

To help you relocate internationally, we strongly recommend hiring a reliable moving company. However, due to liability issues, many moving companies won’t transfer plants, but they can help you make the rest of your moving process as easy as possible. That way, you can focus on your plants’ well-being.

packing plants into boxes

©Shutterstock: Try to find small boxes so that your plant doesn’t move around.

Preparing plants for your international relocation

The first thing you need to do when moving abroad with plants is to gather necessary supplies and prepare them for the move. Here is a list of things you’ll need:

  • A moving box for each pot. Try to find small boxes so that your plant doesn’t move around.
  • Plastic pots as you need to replace clay pots while in transit
  • Newspaper or packing paper
  • Sterilized potting soil
  • Plastic ties and bags

You will need all these things in order to get your plants ready for an international move. First, you should re-pot plants in plastic containers. It would be best if you did this a few weeks before the move with sterile soil, as your plant needs some time to settle. Pack the clay pots and hanging baskets so you can re-pot your plants after you move into your new place.

Make sure the roots stay damp during the move. To achieve this, water your plants a couple of days before moving. It’s also important to check for bugs. If the country you’re moving to requires specific certifications, you will want to hire an authorized examiner.

water plants
©Shutterstock. Water your plants a couple of days before moving.

Packing and moving potted plants

Given that house plants are living, breathing organisms, you want to ensure they arrive intact and healthy to your new country. You can either move the whole plant or just a cutting. In any case, make sure to pack them last and unpack them first. This way, they will stay safe and healthy.

Packing a potted plant is relatively easy. First, you need to put a plastic bag over the pot. You should tie the bag at the base so that the soil is contained. Make sure that the bottom of the moving box is taped well before placing your plant inside.

If there is extra space in the box, fill it with newspaper or packing paper. This way, your plant will be secure and able to breathe. To allow for air to flow, you should poke holes in the box. Don’t exaggerate – a few holes on each side will do the trick.

If your plants are going to be transported by a third party (a moving or shipping company), make sure to label the boxes with “fragile” and “live plant”. This way, whoever is moving your plant will know to handle them with special care.

The best and safest way to transport your plants is in a temperature-controlled environment such as your car. If your plants are near you during the move, you can be confident they are well taken care of. If you plan on sleeping over anywhere during your transit, make sure to bring your plants inside. This is especially important if the weather outside is too hot or too cold.

moving plants in a car

©Shutterstock: The best and safest way to transport your plants is in a temperature-controlled environment such as your car. 

Packing and moving a cutting plant

Things are a little bit different and easier when moving a cutting plant. If your plant is too big to carry, it is a great way to bring it with you. Usually, this is concerning outdoor plants. No matter how low maintenance your outdoor plant is, if it’s too big, it’s too big of a hassle to move it.

On the morning of your move, you should take a clean, sharp cut on an area of the bush or flower you want to bring with you. It should be 3-6 inches long, and you have to make sure that it’s healthy growth. Otherwise, it won’t survive the trip.

You need to properly pack the cutting to move it with you. Packing is simple – the most important is to make sure that the end is kept moist. You can do this by wrapping it in wet paper towels, which you will secure with rubber bands or plastic ties. You should keep your cuttings in a plastic stem holder, which you can buy at a local florist.

In conclusion

It’s completely understandable if you feel intimidated and overwhelmed before your big international move. Moving abroad with plants isn’t the easiest thing, but if you follow the advice from this article, you will make the process as smooth as possible.

We wish you and your botanical friends the best of luck with moving to a new country!

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