Transplanting – a guide to rehousing your garden plants
“Moving to a new house is as exciting as it is daunting. One sure way to reduce the stress is making sure your leafy friends get there in one piece,” says Shannen Godwin, spokesperson for one the leading plant and bulb companies in the UK, J Parker’s.
Here are Shannen’s top tips on rehousing the garden plants.
The key to successful transplanting your precious flora is preparation. Plants, much like teenagers, can’t be pulled up by the roots and hauled across the country at the flick of a switch. So, the first step is getting your leafy pals ready for the trip. Three weeks before your moving date, transplant any plants in clay pots to rigid plastic pots. Clay pots don’t travel well and besides, the last thing you’ll need is excess weight. Make sure you choose plastic pots the same size.
For garden plants, it’s best to leave them in the ground as long as possible. Removing them is best done the day before the move. Clearly, you’re going to need to dig these guys up first. Take care to dig a wide hole so as not to damage any root systems. Once excavated, wrap the roots in damp sackcloth or equivalent material and secure the plants in a generous bubble wrap layer.
Take your time during this process and look out for any obvious issues. Prune and treat your plants as necessary, you do not have to be surgical because you’ll take a closer look a week before you go. With garden plants, this is also a good time to evaluate the roots and decide if it might be better which of them stayed put.
One week before moving it’s a good idea to evaluate all your plants. Now is the time to study them closely. Treat plants with parasites and prune with vigour, but above all now is the time to be pragmatic. If you can live without it, leave it. There’s a good chance whoever takes over your current property would be glad of a few plants, but don’t leave them a jungle. Don’t forget that you can also place any excess plants on sites like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace and you may even make money for your efforts. Be realistic, if you don’t think a plant will survive the trip, you’re probably right.
The Night Before
Pack your plants the night before your big move. Common sense is the best metric for packing. Don’t squeeze plants into tight boxes and don’t smother them with bubble wrap if you don’t need to. One neat trick is to use a material like sheets of crafting felt, the sort you can pick up in packs from the pound store to cover the top of each pot. Cut a circle just larger than the rim of the pot and then cut a slit from the circumference to the centre. Thread the stalk of the plant through the slit and then tape down the felt to the pot. This will help stop the soil coming loose and causing havoc. Label the boxes carefully and don’t forget to punch air holes so the plant can breathe. Don’t water your plants before the trip. If they’re healthy and well packed, they will survive a day or two without trouble. Not watering them also gives you less to worry about and will not only make the soil lighter and therefore the boxes easier to carry, but it will also lessen any potential moisture damage to the boxes or worse.
Don’t pack your plants in the truck with the rest of your furniture if you can help it. Instead, try to ensure they travel with you and avoid putting them in the boot if possible. If there’s no other option, then make sure the plants go in first. This will mean they are last out and won’t get in the way while you’re trying to organise everything else. If you are travelling for more than 12 hours you may want to rethink this idea as plants will likely need sunlight.
Once you get to your destination check on your plants to make sure they’re OK. Once you’re sure everything’s fine, it’s time to unpack the little guys. This is best done by removing them by cutting open the bottom of the box. This method will do the least damage to any branches, flowers, and foliage.