Yes you can take your plants with you when you move
Tips on what to do when moving garden plants to your new home. Planting ahead, modular containers, moving vans, taking cuttings, and when you should leave your plants behind
This piece is in partnership with Gardena, Europe’s leading brand of high quality gardening tools. Over the summer they’ve sent me their AquaRoll M Hose Trolley, a comfort sprayer, and the NatureUp! vertical planter. This month they sent me their Balcony Basic Set to help me with the move.
If you’ve been following my last few videos you’ll know that Lovely Greens is in the middle of moving house. It’s been stressful, I won’t lie. We’ve had the past three weeks to get keys to the new house, rip down the wallpaper and rip up 70s carpet, demolish and rebuild a bathroom, and redecorate the whole house. AND we’ve had to move. This is our last week still having access to the old house and these are my tips on how I’ve gone about moving my garden with us.
If you’re renting you’ll likely have to return the property in the same state as you took it on. That means digging up your plants is probably expected, so happy days. If you’re selling your home, either dig up your plants before it’s on the market or negotiate. You might want to take your prized roses or plants with sentimental value with so let the estate agent and/or buyers know. As long as that’s made clear, and the garden is tidy afterwards, it’s probably not going to be an issue.
We’ve known since May that a move was on the cards. We’ve been renting for years and just bought our first house. Fortunately I have an allotment and so I’ve been steadily moving plants there in preparation. If you have access to the new garden or your own allotment or community garden move your plants well before you move house.
If you don’t have access to someplace to put your plants in-situ, dig them up in preparation and put them in pots. Even some trees and shrubs will be fine if temporarily planted into largish containers.
Moving a container garden
Moving a container garden is relatively straight forward, even in the middle of the growing season. The only thing that I’d caution on is weight. If it’s been raining, those pots will be heavy. If you could put them in a place to dry out a little bit, you’ll do your back a favour.
Actually moving a container garden is simple. If it’s high summer and they’re flush with delicate growth you might want to protect them with bubble wrap, cloth or straw during the move. Some buffering between pots will help make sure they don’t knock against one another and break.
In winter the plants will be dormant so moving them will be even easier. Just don’t keep them stored in a warm place for long — you don’t want to give the false impression of impending spring. When the plant is dormant and under the soil level you could even set one pot on top the next if pressed for space.
One of the easiest things for me to move was my Gardena NatureUp! vertical planter. It’s modular so that means that each piece can be taken off and then reassembled — even if plants are growing in them. As you’ll see in my greenhouse video further above, you can either empty them or move them with compost in. It makes no difference since they’re just as easy to put back together again.
Although I have the planter in the greenhouse now, I have plans to mount it on the wall next spring. I love that I have the option of moving it around from house to house and having different set-ups at the same home.
When packing your moving van with plants make sure that the pots can’t tip over. Wedging them as close together as possible helps. If you’re worried about them breaking then put some padding between.
For short trips, like my recent move, a relatively disordered moving van set up works fine. I had the BBQ, gardening materials, and plants all crammed into the same space. Everything survived the trip.
If you’re moving further away, say across country, you’ll need to be more diligent with packing plants. Make sure that the soil is moist, that the pots and foliage are protected, and that nothing is going to tip over if you need to slam the brakes.
Keep some gardening tools handy
This month we still have a hose-pipe ban on. Gardena heard about it and sent me their Balcony Basic Setto help with the move. It’s a watering jug that can also be used to scoop soil, secateurs, a trowel, and gloves. The last three fit inside the jug making it compact and easy to transport. A similar set would definitely help others move too — just think of the situations where you need to clean up a spill or water some plants at the back of a van.
Although I fortunately didn’t have to deal with any breakages, the secateurs would’ve been handy in that case. Being able to snip away damaged branches and leaves could make moving plants easier.
Low light conditions
Plants can survive semi-darkness for a few days, providing that you give them at least some light. Garden centres frequently send plants through the post and if you’ve ordered some you’ll know that there are directions to unpack them immediately. Mostly they’re perfectly fine and the same will go for darkened vans.
If you’re traveling over several days, opening the back of the van at intervals will help leafy plants to get enough sunlight to survive the trip. Giving them a feed and enough water before hand is probably also wise. Moving garden plants to your new home can mean pampering them a bit.
When you can’t take your plants with
I can think of at least two reasons why you can’t take your plants with you. The first may be due to plant restrictions and moving plants from one country to the next. Even some states in the US have restrictions on moving plants from one area to the next.
The other reason you might not be able to take your plants with you is that they’re too well established. Ten year old lavender plants and rosemary shrubs could make a move but it might only be successful during the dormant season.
One last reason that you would need to leave your plants is that you’ve sold them. If you’ve sold your house with a lovely garden then the buyer will expecting that lovely garden on moving day. Be 100% clear and up-front about your plants when selling to avoid any issues.
Taking cuttings is simply strategically cutting a piece off a parent plant and encouraging it to grow roots. These smaller rooted plants will be far easier to move than their larger mothers. Best of all, you can take dozens of cuttings so have even more plants for free.
Give things away
No matter what your situation, when you move house you’re going to have to give things away. It could be that you discover a hidden cache of old modules while preparing for the move. It could also be that your new garden is smaller than your previous one.
Give your plants to friends to take care of and either sell or pass on other items to those who need them. There are a couple of recycling centres here that have special areas for plastic plant pots — I’ve left all my spares there for others to use. If there’s a seed swap or plant share happening around the time you move, take your spare plants and gardening tools there. Moving house is a great opportunity to de-clutter the garden shed!