Simplifying Your Life

Why Your Plants May Die After a Move

by Candice Lopez

It's not just animals and people that get stressed during a move; even plants feel the stress too. If you are not careful, your house plants can easily die shortly after your arrival. Here are some of the factors that may trigger stress in plants:

Inadequate Water

The change in environment occasioned by a move means that your plants may require more water than usual. For example, if the air may be dryer or the temperature may be higher than usual; both can make the plants dry up faster than usual. This, together with other stresses, may dry up your plants. To mitigate this effect, water your plants more heavily than usual on the last few days before the move.

Extreme Temperatures          

Your plants may also suffer the shock of extreme temperatures when they leave the comfort of your home. For example, they may be faced with icy conditions if you are moving during the winter. Locking up your plants in the back of a windowless van may also expose them to extremely high temperatures. Use a climate-controlled van, especially for a long-distance move, to preempt the effect of these temperature extremes.

Inadequate Air Circulation

Plants need air to thrive; depending on the circumstances of your move, they might not get this air during transportation. For example, packing the plants in boxes and stacking the boxes may deny them air. Some people even tie up their plants in plastic bags, which are clearly not breathable. For a long-distant move, the effect of the inadequate air may follow the plants even into our new home. Therefore, to help preserve the plants, make sure they will have adequate air circulation throughout the move.

Physical Stress

Lastly, the plants may also suffer from physical stress if they don't have adequate space during the move. Anything that crashes a plant's stem, cuts into its tissues, plucks its leaves or damages its roots is a trigger for physical stress. Severe physical stress may even kill your plant before reaching the destination. Physical stress is particularly common with plants that have been uprooted or trimmed prior to a move. Careful handling and transportation will prevent such things.

If you will be crossing state lines, you should know the plant laws of your destination or transit states. Confirm that you will be allowed to cross state lines with the plants before packing them up. You may be barred from crossing the border with plants if your state has a problem with pests or plant diseases. In some cases, you may also be required to get an inspection to certify your plants as disease or pest free.

If you're relying on last minute movers, talk to them about how you can better preserve your items.