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Packing tips: Plants

How to pack your houseplants for a move.

How to pack your houseplants for a move.

Whether you're a professional botanist or just like a good fern, houseplants can really spruce up a home or apartment. From hanging spider plants to rubber trees, yucca to poinsettia, the benefits of plant ownership are many.

According to the website MastersInHealthcare.com, houseplants are associated with a 30 percent reduction in the risk of colds. They can improve your mental health, decrease your blood pressure and stop a headache. But packing plants for a move can create an entirely new headache if you're not prepared.

Many moving companies don't cover damage to a plant. It's not because they're callous or hate vegetation - plants are so fragile, even the most careful movers could still inadvertently cause damage to their leaves, stems or roots. Before you move, find out whether or not your moving company will transport your plants.

Plants are living things and require significant amounts of care to stay healthy. One thing plants need, like all other living things, is air. Although plants survive by breathing in carbon dioxide, which is what humans exhale, it's not enough to simply pack your ficus in the backseat of a car and breathe on it for the duration of your move, especially if your journey will take several days of cross country driving. Avoid leaving a plant in a locked car where it could be subject to extreme temperatures and no air flow.

Some states, particularly California, Oregon and Arizona, are sticklers about what kinds of plants you can and can't bring across their borders. You may have to undergo a Gypsy Moth Inspection, which is not nearly as exotic as it sounds. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can have a state-licensed inspector check out your plants and other items that may be affected by gypsy moth eggs and spray them with pesticides if necessary. You must also have a certificate for any outdoor household items, including plants, that you're transporting.

A couple of days before a move, you might want to transfer your plants from heavy and breakable ceramic pots to lighter, more durable plastic pots. Make sure the pots are of comparable sizes, otherwise you could damage the roots. On moving day, wrap bigger plants in a sheet to help prevent branch breakage. Don't forget to unwrap them right away when you reach your new home!