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Avatar for katstark
Nov 10, 2021 5:10 PM CST
Southern Oregon
Hi! I am making a trek across the country this June from Oregon to Maine and I'm taking my beloved house plants with me. They will be in a 5x8 trailer and I need to know if there is any way to get them supplemental lighting for the journey. Is 5 to 6 days in darkness going to kill them? Any input is greatly appreciated. Yes, I've had some of these plants for many, many years and am very attached to them. Crazy? Probably.....
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Nov 10, 2021 5:18 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
I doubt whether any plant will be harmed significantly by 5-6 days of darkness. I would be more concerned about heat buildup. The plants inside of a poorly ventilated trailer could experience fatal temperature build up. Spending several hours in an enclosed trailer where temperatures could rise into the 90's or low 100's rather easily could prove to be fatal rather quickly.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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Nov 10, 2021 5:34 PM CST
Name: cheapskate gardener
South Florida (Zone 10a)
Adeniums Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Procrastinator Plumerias Houseplants Growing under artificial light
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BigBill is right. Temperature will be the big issue.

Also, for all but your most tender tropicals, let the soil dry out or mostly dry out for the trip. They'll handle the darkness much better that way.
I have found that coffee, tea, and rose can all agree on one thing... water everyday.
Avatar for katstark
Nov 10, 2021 6:51 PM CST
Southern Oregon
Thank you both for the responses. I'm planning the trip for early June so hopefully it wont be too horribly hot and the trailer does have a small vent in it. Would some type of fan help? I have no idea how that would work but I might be able to cobble something together. As advised, I will pack them mostly dry. It's my collection (big) of calatheas that I am most worried about and also I have a very large Hope philodendron that is in need of repotting but I think I will wait till I get there and not shock it before I leave.
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Nov 10, 2021 7:04 PM CST
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Region: Ukraine Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox
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Is this a move? I've done this several times. I've taken my plants in a UHaul trailer each time. I always planned it for when it wasn't super hot. I kept them dry and didn't repot any of them before leaving. Be sure to check if any of the states require anything before hand. In California I had to get the plants checked by an inspector before I could travel with them.
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Nov 10, 2021 7:09 PM CST
Name: Mac
Still here (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
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As @plantmanager mentioned, I too have been stopped at agricultural stations while pulling a trailer. Had to unload and identify all plants I was carrying. You'll be crossing several state lines and may encounter that situation.
Slava Ukraini!

The aboriginal peoples and many cultures throughout the world share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We could learn much from them!
Avatar for katstark
Nov 10, 2021 7:25 PM CST
Southern Oregon
Sheesh, I had not considered the agricultural question. It seems like CA, HI, and FL are the big ones. The states that I am traveling through do not seem to be listed except a few on the USPS map of offices with inspection stations. Am I reading this info wrong?
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Nov 10, 2021 7:27 PM CST
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Region: Ukraine Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox
Greenhouse Bromeliad Adeniums Morning Glories Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias
You may be ok by not going through the ones that are toughest.
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Nov 10, 2021 7:34 PM CST
Name: Zoƫ
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
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As BBill and Hlutzow pointed out, the danger is heat in the trailer. By June, you could easily encounter high temperatures, and any enclosed space like a car or van can heat up to well above outside temps on a sunny day. A fan arrangement might be a good idea. I'd even consider looking into some sort of portable swamp cooler or even a portable air conditioner...I have no idea if these things even exist, but it would be worth looking into something of that nature. We've seen many photos on this site of plants left in hot cars for only minutes that are completely burned, especially tropicals with big tender leaves.
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
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Nov 10, 2021 7:40 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
A small vent won't make much of a difference temperature wise.
Without sizable vents, a fan won't do much good either. A fan actually getting warm air outside from inside the trailer to reduce warmth is a tough thing to accomplish.
Your best bet is frequent stops in the shade. By opening trailer doors to outside temperatures could drop inside temperatures quite a bit.
Morning travel to noon would be better then afternoon through evening travel. If you were to leave a motel at 4-5 am and travel to 2 pm might help. If you travel from 7 am until 5 pm that could be worse heat wise.
Early June sounds good I know but it's the suns rays heating up what is likely to be metal. That conducts heat from the outside to the inside of the trailer. Breezes blowing from traffic moving might help a bit. You have to hope for a few cloudy days maybe.

In 2009, I moved 300 orchids from Long Island NY to SW Florida. It involved a u-haul white van/box backed truck. Back area was 6' wide by 10' deep. No vents, no windows. I never told any one I was moving plants. It was a drive of about 20 hours +/-. We stopped for gas and opened the back door for 1/2 hour. Lunch the same thing. Always made sure we were in the shade.
Only damage to 300 plants was a single broken stem.
Just concentrate on heat buildup. Keep as shaded as possible when stopped. Morning travel is much better. Traveling in the cooler mornings will help a lot!!
Good luck!!
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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Nov 10, 2021 8:22 PM CST
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Winter Sowing Container Gardener Region: Texas Hummingbirder Herbs Moon Gardener
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Calif checks religiously for imported insects, mostly it is the commercial vehicles, but going IN to Calif is the problem- they don't care what you take out with you. Florida also has ag check ports of entry- again it is the going INTO the state that they look for. I doubt seriously you can get that Uhaul to Hi- I never managed to get the 18 wheeler driven across either. You won't have any issues with the northern states, they aren't plagued with invasive agriculture pests like the south. They DO check boats for hitchikers invading their waters...(mussels, etc)
So many roads to take, choices to make, and laughs to share!
Avatar for katstark
Nov 10, 2021 9:42 PM CST
Southern Oregon
A friend just recommended a fan driven by a portable drill battery sitting over a bucket of ice water?? Kind of a swamp cooler!!
Avatar for katstark
Nov 10, 2021 9:47 PM CST
Southern Oregon
Thanks all for the very good advice! I will go for the very early morning haul and stops in the shade and hope for some cloudy cooler weather.
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Nov 10, 2021 10:42 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, "Houseplants are allowed into California if they are indoor plants, pest-free, ornamental and not for resale, and they're potted in potting mix or other "clean" medium."

Don't try to be sneaky, it just makes you look guilty. You are not staying in California, just passing through a remote corner of it. Take documentation showing your final destination as Maine. You shouldn't have any problems as long as the above requirements are met.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Avatar for katstark
Nov 11, 2021 9:04 AM CST
Southern Oregon
I dont pass through CA at all, just head right into NV I believe.
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Nov 11, 2021 1:29 PM CST
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Winter Sowing Container Gardener Region: Texas Hummingbirder Herbs Moon Gardener
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Heirlooms Vegetable Grower Bookworm
I 84 to I 80 is a common route, more available resources than I 90 across
Thumb of 2021-11-11/kittriana/609e37


Thumb of 2021-11-11/kittriana/572494


Thumb of 2021-11-11/kittriana/0a6fbe

but not sure your origination point. These are from 2011 Motor Carriers Road Atlas, most roads dont change except in city areas
So many roads to take, choices to make, and laughs to share!
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Nov 11, 2021 5:29 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
katstark said:I dont pass through CA at all, just head right into NV I believe.


It would depend upon how far east you are - where are you located? Most of my relatives are located near Medford and Grants Pass so do pass through California to get here. Whatever you do, DO NOT drive Hwy 95. It has been rated the worst highway in Nevada - its narrow, dangerous and lonely.

It would be safer to continue into Idaho to Boise.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Avatar for katstark
Nov 11, 2021 10:51 PM CST
Southern Oregon
Thank you for the maps Kittriana, and for the advice Daisyl, my origination point is Medford Or. Destination mid coast Maine where my little bed and breakfast awaits me! I shall avoid I95 in Nevada, my maps app tell me to stick to I84 and I80 so that seems to be the consensus. I have been a gypsy all my life and a gypsy I remain. Go east my friend, east!!
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Nov 12, 2021 6:18 AM CST
Name: Mac
Still here (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Region: Ukraine Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads
Vermiculture Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories
Mrs is an ex-Mainuh and her folks still live there, in the mid-coast area near Rockland.

FWIW, you might want to take the I-81 exit off of I-80 in PA, go north to Scranton, pick up I-84 to I-90 in MA, then I-90 to I-495 north, to avoid Boston traffic, follow that to I-95, which will take you right up to Maine. That's our usual route and we've done it many times, both by car and by truck.

Have a great trip which ever way you go Thumbs up .
Slava Ukraini!

The aboriginal peoples and many cultures throughout the world share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We could learn much from them!
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Nov 12, 2021 11:13 AM CST
Name: brenda reith
pennsauken, nj (Zone 7a)
nature keeps amazing me
How exciting for you, Katstark. Good luck. keep us up to date.
listen to your garden

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