Having a moving company move all your orchids and houseplants for you might seem like the easiest solution, but is it the best? Will they even do it? Furthermore, should you have your movers pack your orchids for you?
Moving can be very stressful and moving your orchid collection to your new home can complicate matters. Yet, most of us wouldn’t imagine leaving our orchids behind when we move. Here is what you need to know about moving and orchids.
Some movers will transport your orchids for you, but others will not. Many times there will be extra fees for handling live and fragile items. Movers cannot pack your orchids for you, nor should you want them to. In addition, for longer moves, where the moving truck may take two weeks or more to arrive, avoid having movers transport your orchids. Instead, ship or transport your orchids in your car to ensure they survive.
There are several options you have when moving your orchids across state lines or across the country. For short moves across town, you would most likely move your orchids yourself with your car. But what do you do for long distance moves? I’ll address that question and more below, including how to best pack your orchids for the move. Keep reading to learn more.
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Table of Contents
Check With Your Mover First
Some movers are fine moving plants, but many moving companies are not. Check with your specific moving company to find out their rules.
Houseplants, orchids included, are in a category all of their own when it comes to moving. Unlike boxes of clothing or furniture, moving houseplants takes extra care, effort and time. There will likely be an extra charge or fee for moving plants.
In many cases, the moving company may also have you sign a contract acknowledging that they are not responsible for the plants’ condition upon arrival. This is very important to keep in mind if you want the movers to transport your houseplants and orchids. These plants may not survive the trip, especially if the moving truck takes days or weeks to arrive.
In addition, there are state guidelines regarding importing plants, even houseplants. Ask specifically if the moving company will handle the inspections and paperwork related to this. Make sure they are aware of state specific regulations.
Chances are a professional moving company will know what to do, but never assume. The last thing you want is to have the moving truck arrive without your plants, all because they were confiscated by the Department of Agriculture at the state line.
If you have any rare plants or ones with sentimental value, transporting them in your car would be the best option. For scenarios where that is not an option, shipping orchids via priority mail may a good alternative as well.
In all honesty, your last option should be to have a moving company move your orchids for you. This is because it might take the moving company a couple weeks to arrive at your new home. In contrast, it might only take you a few hours or a few days to arrive, depending on if you are flying or driving. Shipping the orchids would take one to a few days at most, making it a good second choice.
Prepare Your Orchid For The Move
Get Your Orchids As Healthy As Possible
In the months leading up to your move, get your orchids as healthy as possible. This will give them the best chance of surviving and tolerating the move.
- Prune off any dead plant matter.
- Water your orchids well and make sure they have adequate lighting and humidity levels.
- Fertilize your orchids during watering sessions.
- Check your orchids over for pests and disease. Eliminate any pests and treat any infection well ahead of your move.
A week before you move, stop watering your orchids. This will give the potting media a chance to dry out. Wet potting media packed into a sealed box will likely grow mold and fungus during transport. There is a high risk for root rot when the potting media and roots are constantly moist.
Pack Your Orchids
If you are planning on having the moving company transport your orchids for you, you’ll need to pack them for transport. Don’t expect the movers to pack your orchids.
Here are some options for packing and moving your orchids:
Bubble Wrap The Orchids and Pack Them In A Box
If you don’t want to unpot your orchids and bare root them, you can wrap the pots with bubble wrap. If your orchid is double potted with a plastic pot for the inner liner, wrap the plastic pot only. Remove any ceramic pots and pack those separately.
Use a plastic bag to bag up the pot and potting media. This will help minimize any mess that might occur if the pot tips over. Alternatively, you can tape newspaper over the pot to keep the potting media from spilling out.
Then, take a sheet of bubble wrap and wrap it around your orchid pot. You can also loosely wrap bubble wrap around the perimeter of the orchid leaves if you prefer. Doing so will help protect them, minimizing the risk of the orchid leaves splitting and roots breaking.
If your orchid does have a flower spike, stake it for additional support.
Fill in any gaps between the pots and sides of the box with crumpled newspaper. Use packaging peanuts, Styrofoam, or more crumpled newspaper to fill in the space at the top of the box above the orchids.
Label the box with “Fragile” on all sides of the box. Also be sure to write “This Side Up,” along with arrows pointing up to the top of the box on each side. This will help the movers know to keep your orchids upright.
While movers may be more careful with a box marked “Fragile,” they may still tip it on its side if you don’t also mark “This Side Up.”
Bare Root and Pack The Orchids
Another option is to bare root the orchids before you pack them into a box. With this method, you will be able to pack more orchids together.
This may be a good option if you have dozens of orchids and other plants you need to move. However, this does take extra effort. You will need to repot the orchids once you settle into your new home.
When you bare root an orchid, you will basically be unpotting the orchid and removing it from the potting media. Clean off the orchid roots.
Then wrap each orchid gently in bubble wrap or newspaper. Place each orchid on its side in a sturdy box. Fill in the gaps with crumpled newspaper.
Similar to the suggestion above, write “Fragile” and “This Side Up” on the sides of the box. This will help movers know how to handle this box.
If you choose to bare root your orchids, make sure they are in the box for three days or less. Any longer and I would suggest just packing the orchid in its pot, as outlined in the first method above. Otherwise, you risk the orchid roots becoming too dry.
Bare Root and Ship The Orchids
A third way to move your orchid collection is to simply ship them to your destination. I will soon have a detailed guide on how to package orchids for shipping, so stay tuned for that.
For times when the moving truck may take a week or more to arrive, this is a better option if you can’t take your orchids in your car.
Pack your orchids as you would in either of the above two options. Your goal is to secure the orchid in the box so that it moves as little as possible. Mark “Perishable,” “Fragile,” and “This Side Up” on the sides of the box.
The shipping method you choose will depend on when you will arrive and be able to receive the package. If you are flying, choose “next day” or “two-day shipping.” By the way, did you know that you can take orchids on a plane? This might be another option as well!
Ground shipping will take several days, but your orchids will be perfectly fine if you are driving and won’t get there for a few days anyway. At the very least, your orchids will arrive at your destination much sooner than the moving company.
If the package has a chance of arriving sooner than you, ask the shipping company if they can hold your box. This way, your orchids won’t be left sitting in the sun or rain. If you can pick up the package personally, you can also ensure that it is not left on the porch for package thieves.
The less time the orchid spends packed into a box, the better. Moving is stressful, for both people and plants. Don’t be surprised or discouraged if your orchids lose some flowers, leaves or roots during or after the move. Give them some time to acclimate to their new surroundings and environment.
Rules And Regulations Related To Moving Orchids
One perk of having movers move your houseplants is that most professional moving companies will likely be familiar with the local rules and regulations of your destination. The moving company should deal with any regulations and inspections for you.
However, be sure to ask them about this. Never assume that the moving company knows about state-specific rules or will handle inspections for you.
If you are moving from one city to the next, this is likely not very important. However, it is if you are moving across state lines.
Different states have different regulations regarding moving houseplants across state lines. Interstate laws will apply regardless of who is transporting the orchids. Make sure you check the rules and regulations of the destination state, as well as the states you are traveling through.
Non-native agriculture including houseplants can disrupt the local agriculture and environment. Sometimes the potting media may contain pests or diseases foreign to the area.
Usually moving plants across state lines will involve an inspection by the state’s Department of Agriculture. Among other things, plants will need to be pest and disease free in order to pass inspection. Another good resource to check is the National Plant Board. I would recommend using this site to research the rules of the state you are moving to.
I go into more detail about the process of transporting orchids across state lines in another article. Please check that out if you are moving and planning to transport your orchids to your new home by car.
If you are flying, check out this great resource on how to travel with an orchid on a plane. You’ll get more information about traveling across state lines and internationally with orchids.
What To Do When You Get To Your Final Destination
Moving is a lot of work and you may not have time to tend to your orchids right away. That is perfectly all right.
Place your orchids in an area where they will have access to bright, indirect sunlight, or at least exposure to morning light. Let them acclimate to their new environment while you unpack your other belongings.
Wait a day before watering the orchids. Check over the orchids for any heat damage, broken leaves or roots, or pests and disease.
Give your orchids lots of TLC and care in the days and weeks after the move to help them get back up to full health and strength.
What If You Can’t Move Your Orchids With You To Your New Home?
Unfortunately it might be impossible to bring all of your beloved orchids with you. You might not have enough room for them, or they might be too delicate to survive the journey.
If this happens to you, see if any friends or family would be willing to adopt your plants. Members of your local orchid society would likely be all too happy to take any extra orchids off your hands. Other options would be nursing homes, senior centers or hospitals.
If you are able to move and bring along your orchids to your new home, it is well worth the time and effort. I have moved with orchids before, from city to city as well as across the state. Preparing your orchids beforehand and packing orchids well is key to minimizing damage during the move. Some orchids may not make it, but if moving is done carefully, most orchids will survive.
For orchid lovers, bringing an orchid collection with you to your new home is essential. I hope these tips and suggestions for moving orchids has helped you as you prepare for your move.
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