2007-09-07 / Columnists

The Diary Of A Green Thumb

Moving? Get Your Plants Home Safe!
Commentary By Danielle McShane Danielle's Rockaway Florist

DANIELLE McSHANE DANIELLE McSHANE As the summer winds down, and the lifeguards disappear from the beach, many part-time residents begin to pack up their belongings to wave farewell to another fabulous summer in Rockaway. We have to help make the move a smooth one for the green members of our household. Moving them from one home to another can be as stressful to a plant as it is for most people.

You must realize that only some plants can withstand the stress of less than favorable conditions for an extended period of time. There are a few ways to improve your chances and successfully transplant your plants. Special care and attention is required to keep them happy. After all, they do deserve it for helping to make your house a "home."

Planning ahead is key! A local florist may have wax covered cardboard boxes that will help the plants retain moisture during a long trip. You may also use a regular box, and line it with a plastic bag. Plants should be well watered the evening before a long trip, and packed away as close to departure as possible. Overall, plants can withstand the dark for about one week, and can stay without water for seven to ten days.

Moving companies generally do not mind transporting houseplants if delivery is within 24 hours. For longer trips, or those being made in extreme weather, it may be better to take them in the car with you so that temperatures can be monitored. Be sure not to put them in the trunk where heat and frost are intensified. It is much better to be able to control the conditions. In the hot weather, put the air on, and park your car in the shade. Remember, your plants are used to being kept in the house with you, so as long as you are comfortable, the plant should be, as well. They should not be exposed to temperatures below 35 degrees or above 95 degrees for more than an hour, or you may run the risk of losing your plant.

Some plants are susceptible to shock when moving them from just one room to another, therefore gradual changes are necessary. Be sure to expose your plants to filtered sunlight before placing them back in full sun, to avoid burning the leaves.

Some plants have been in the family for years and hold a sentimental value. If they can be propagated by cuttings, it may be a good idea to take some before the trip. They can survive several days if you keep them in a plastic bag with moist peat moss, vermiculite, or a wet paper towel. For those plants that have not grown to be a part of the family, you may consider giving them to a friend or neighbor, or donating them to the local hospital, nursing home, or library. Have a safe trip!

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