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Traveling With Plants

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Traveling With Plants
Moving to a new location with your plants or taking some to friends or family can be a cause for concern; you want them to arrive safely and in good shape. This is a guide about traveling with plants.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

June 7, 20060 found this helpful
Q: I have a philodendron (heart-shaped leaves) and in about a month will be embarking on a three-week road trip, with my house plant in the car. I'm very nervous about him making it through the trip alive, and I have a few specific questions if you could please help me out:
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1) Is it safe to clip my plant before I move? He is very long and viney and I think he would be easier to transport if he was smaller, is there any way to do this safely?

2) Any tips for car travel with plants, other than taking him out to give him air to breathe whenever we stop?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

Thanks so much!
Lindsey from Montreal, Quebec

A: Lindsey,

First of all, if you're coming into the U.S. from Canada, make sure you call ahead about transporting plants across the border. Some states in the U.S., like California and Florida, have strict rules about transporting plants across state lines.

If your Philodendron is in a ceramic or clay pot, you might consider temporarily transplanting it to something less easily broken. Ideally this should be done as far out from the date of your trip as possible. Pruning back some of the foliage will definitely be a space saver in the car and prevent your plant from damage. I've never seen a philodendron that didn't bounce back from an occasional pruning. Just use a sharp knife or shears and cut it back to the desired size. Before you leave, water your plant as normal and check to make sure you're not bringing any pests along for the ride.

You can place you plant in a sturdy cardboard box for during transport, just don't pack anything on top of it. Cut holes in the side of the box for air circulation and surround the plant with damp newspaper to help keep it cool. If the top of the box is closed, make sure you open it up for a few hours a day (lunch breaks and rest stops) so your plant has access to some light. Or, if you're stopping at hotels, leave the plant in the hotel bathroom overnight with the light on. While on the road, water it as necessary if it appears to be getting dry and try to keep the plant from getting over heated-above all, don't put your plant in the truck! When you arrive to your destination, put the plant in an area where you don't have to disturb it for a while and reintroduce it to direct sunlight gradually.

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Drive Safely!

Ellen

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 3, 20060 found this helpful

Hi, They travel well. You can put some of the vines into paper bags temporarily, as long as they can get air. I just watered the plants well before putting them in the car. Then I put a plastic bag around/under the pot. I made sure that they were out of the direct sun and I seat belted the pots in the back seat. No problems. You might want to check the states that you are traveling to. Some are picky about bringing plants into their states because of bugs. Loretta

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 3, 20060 found this helpful

My husband just got out of the Army, so we've done our share of moving (usually with cross-country drives) and transporting all my plants. They always do fine, as long as they stay watered, stay out of direct sun as much as possible, and stay protected. Seatbelting them is great if you have the room, but we always had our cars packed full. I saved space on the floor of the backseat for the plants, to shelter them a bit (and keep the leaves and stems from breaking!). I usually put them in a box lid (or cut down box, with sides no higher than the pot) and stuff newspaper around the pots to keep them from sliding. Mine usually did fine staying in the car, but we never traveled longer than 5 days. If you take them out to get air once a day, you should be fine. *The only problem I ever had transporting plants was when vines were crushed or otherwise broken. I would definitely trim your philo back a bit and protect the vines as much as possible. Good luck!

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 3, 20060 found this helpful

You could always give your plant a vacation - entrusted to a good friend with a green thumb for the duaration and you'll rest easy with fewer responsibilities and no worries.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 4, 20060 found this helpful

You may be better off leaving your plant at home, making your bathroom into a greenhouse for him. I did this every winter for a 2 month stay in another state for several years. Having no one to tend my plants for me, I ran my tub with water, and set my plants on overturned pots in the tub, with the water height just below the top of the pots used as pedastals. I let a thin cotton string dangle from the plants to the water, secured only by the weight of a stone in the soil of the plant medium. I left the bathroom light on, closed the curtain around the tub and the door to the bathroom, and came back each year to healthy, glossy, larger plants.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 4, 20060 found this helpful

If it is totally necessary for you to travel with Phil, (e.g. you are bringing him to someone at your destination) you may want to outfit him with a plastic-coated wire cage for support. A large-opening, green, pliable material used to protect tomato plants can be inexpensively obtained at any home/garden center. You can bend it to surround Phil's container and wrap his vines loosely around and around the outside. You can cut the 'fencing' to the height you desire. you can tie it together with old nylon socks or pantyhose, cut in strips. You can also affix Phil at intervals as needed. The height needs to fit in your vehicle while giving him as much room as possible to avoid crushing his lovely leaves. You can water him from the bottom or through the center.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 10, 2011

I will be traveling to Europe with three small plants; raspberry and blueberry that I which I cannot buy where I will be going. They are rather small and were recently bought in small containers with a cup protecting the soil. I was planning to keep them in a carton box secure from shifting in a piece of luggage that will go to the cargo area of the plane. They will stay there for about 15hrs.

Questions :
Should I trim them ? Would this be better? How about "nude roots" that some plants are sold as such? Should I remove them from soil and keep roots in a damp cloth protected with a plastic?

Any other points that I should know? There are no issues with permits etc. that I have for the transport.

Thank you.

By SPIROS from Toronto, Canada

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April 10, 20110 found this helpful

When I order my plants on line they come dry, but I don't think 15 hrs is going to kill them. Take a look at the boxed plants at Walmart and what they are pack in.

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April 11, 20110 found this helpful

Well, I assume you will check with the airlines for suggestions or requirements first. And then maybe you can consider putting them in a small dog carrier? Finding a way to secure them inside, they would get air that way. Just a crazy thought.

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April 23, 20110 found this helpful

You will need to check with customs on transporting plants. It is often illegal to do this due to pests and invasive natures of plants etc.

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful

The cargo hold probably won't be heated so you had better figure out how to pack them so they won't freeze.

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May 13, 20120 found this helpful

I will be traveling with my plants (a large number of container plants) from Washington to Texas and will have to transport them in a U-Haul. I plan on making many stops for watering and light. Is there something more I can do to help them to survive the trip?

By Gloria

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Anonymous
May 13, 20120 found this helpful

Just before loading the trailer lightly water (don't over or under water) the plants, set them each in their own plastic bag without tying off the top of the bag but making sure the top of the bag is folded over. Place them in boxes and pad so they won't tip over in the box if needed and then mark the boxes as 'unpack first' on top and sides in red felt/sharpie pen and seal box with tape.

When actually packing the u-haul place those boxes somewhere in the center of the trailer (this will help them from becoming over heated or too cold) and also make sure they are firmly placed so they won't tip.

I've moved across the country a couple of times and each move took a week to a week and a half and all of the plants did just fine doing this. They'll be okay without light for that long and the plastic will help keep them from drying out. Be sure to unload and unpack them as soon as you arrive at your final destination.

One more tip. Some states have outdated laws on the books about transport of plants accross state lines. So, as the professional movers I hired told me, "just be quiet".

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