The Q&A Archives: Safe Moving Of Plants And Cuttings

Question: I'm moving across the country this winter, moving my belongings by truck, and myself by plane. I want to try to take some of my houseplants or cuttings of them to start once I get there. I would most likely take them with me on the plane. What specific things would you recommend for safely packing potted plants or protecting and keeping cuttings moist? Thank you!

Answer: I believe your first step should be to contact the airline you are travelling with. They most likely have very specific guidelines (and I bet regulations) on transporting plant life. Also contact the Department of Agriculture in the state you are movingto; they may also have regulations to prevent the importation of pests. For the plants that are going in the truck, you should insure that your plants are in containers that will not break, if they are in terra cotta pots transfer them to plastic. Perhaps it would be a good idea to go to your local nursery or garden center and ask about those black plastic nursery pots. Around here you can get used ones for a nickel a piece! Be sure to sterilize them however. Your plants will need to be kept moist during their journey. Give them a good watering and then wrap the soil tops with sphagnum moss you have soaked overnight. I would then wrap the whole pot in newspaper, and then in burlap. It probably would not be out of order to loosely wrap the foliage in burlap also to avoid breakage of leaves and stems. For the cuttings, I would wrap them in the wet moss as well and wrap in newspaper. Then place the wrapped cuttings in an UNSEALED ziploc bag. Place the bags in a cardboard box with some sort of light packing material. I mail cuttings and small plants quite often and this works well, even when mailing across the country. I would definitely put these on the don't want any unusual plants in baggies that are boxed up going through the inspection process without you there to explain...have you ever seen Midnight Express? Wouldn't want all that trouble over a dieffenbachia now would we?

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