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Safe Ways to Move Your Houseplants

May 20, 2000|JULIE BAWDEN DAVIS

Use some common sense and you can move your houseplants without casualties.

"While some plants--like ficus--are fragile and temperamental, a majority of houseplants move well," said Orange florist Pat Gosnell, who offers these tips for safely transporting indoor plants:

* Time watering. Plants shouldn't be overly heavy with water on moving day; water after the move, except during summer months when plants should be moist before moving.

For the last two or three waterings before moving day, use a solution of B-1, which will help prevent the plants from going into shock.

* Cover plant soil. Crumple newspaper and tape to the pot to avoid losing soil. Or, if you'll be moving the plants in hot weather, wet sphagnum moss and attach that to the soil surface, which will keep the soil in and the plant roots cool.

* Move small plants in sturdy boxes. Make sure to wedge newspaper between so that the pots don't bump one another.

* Protect large plants. Tie big plants up with garden stakes and green garden tape as much as possible to prevent limbs from flopping and breaking.

* Avoid transporting plants in open vehicles. Plants thrown in the back of an open pickup truck without proper protection experience a hurricane-like situation and will get wind and sunburn, even in cool weather, Gosnell said. If you must transport in an open vehicle, cover the plants with material, such as an old sheet and lay them on their side.

Also protect plants from inclement weather such as rain.

* Expect an adjustment period. It might take awhile for a plant to turn its head around and follow the contour of its new space. Many plants such as ficus also drop leaves in response to the shock of moving, especially if they were deprived of light for any length of time during the move. Continue to water them properly and give supplemental light, if necessary, and they'll come around. Begin fertilizing only after they appear to have adjusted.

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