Keeping Them Alive : Beloved House Plants Need Personal Touch in a Move


Moving from a house you like can be traumatic, but having to say goodby to beloved potted house plants can be tragic.

Most movers don’t want to move potted plants. And it’s not usually a good idea to let them try, says Mark Giebel, manager of Mordigan Nurseries, Los Angeles.

He warns that an unrefrigerated moving van rolling along in the sun can turn into an oven that will bake even the hardiest plant.

So, if you want to move your plants, you’ll probably have to do it in your car, along with your spouse, children, pets and other valuables.


‘Need to Breathe’

Tim Thurston, manager of Armstrong Garden Center, Sherman Oaks, says the secret of successfully moving potted plants is to think of them as little people.

“Most house plants need to breathe but can’t take wind,” he says. “They don’t like cold but they can’t take heat--especially direct sun. But they need some light or they can’t manufacture their food.”

Dr. Gerald Paltin, a Lancaster radiologist who raises and has moved orchids, says plants, like people, can suffer from stress during a move. He advises keeping their travel accommodations as homelike as possible.

Water and Vitamins

Giebel emphasizes the need to keep plants well-watered since they normally tend to dry out faster during a trip.

Giebel also likes the idea of giving plants a dose of Vitamin B1 or Super Thrive plant hormone to keep their roots stimulated.

But if you can’t take your potted loved ones with you, and you can’t bear to abandon or sell them, you might consider giving them to a hospital or senior citizen convalescent home.