Australian homeowners are increasingly keen to take their favourite garden and house plants with them when they move house. In fact, the volume of plants moving from one place to another has led to a new term called 'garden grabbing', where some homeowners strip their old gardens bare before moving on. If you're thinking of moving plants to your new abode, carefully consider the following mistakes other people make that could leave you with a horticultural disaster on your hands.
Moving unhealthy plants
Plants don't always respond well to a move, so it's important to make sure your prized specimens are in perfect health before you transport them. Make sure you regularly water your house plants in the few weeks before the house move, to increase the likelihood that your favourite blooms will survive the journey.
Pruning is also an important preparatory step. Long, straggly plants are more likely to suffer damage during the move, and crushed leaves, stems and flowers may also stain other items in your car or truck. If plants show any signs of pest infestation, it's not advisable to move them. You can use pest treatments, but the risk of contamination is too high.
Breaking state quarantine laws
If you're moving plants interstate, strict quarantine laws could limit the specimens you can legally transport. The Australian economy relies heavily on income from agriculture. Pests, weeds and diseases can easily spread on transported plants, wreaking havoc with native plants in your new state.
Check state quarantine rules carefully. The rules change depending on the states you move to and from. For example, if you're moving from Southern Australia to New South Wales, you can take citrus plants with you. If you're moving from the Northern Territories to New South Wales, you'll need a permit from the local authorities for the same species.
Make sure you don't break the rules, or you could face serious fines.
Over-zealous garden grabbing
It takes time and effort to move plants, and there's little point in moving every specimen from your garden. In many cases, it's better to pay for cheap replacements of the same species, particularly where the plants aren't rare, or if you would otherwise need to move large, heavy specimens. What's more, some plants thrive because of their current growing conditions. When you move and disrupt these conditions, your favourite plants will often die, which means you will have wasted your time. Many homeowners simply take cuttings and grow new plants after they have moved.
Using the wrong containers
If you do decide to move house plants, it's important to use high-quality containers. Look for strong, non-breakable plastic pots that can cope with the rigours of transportation. Clay pots are stronger, but these containers are much heavier, which will slow you down. Make sure none of your containers are broken before you move, or you could lose the contents of your pots while loading and unloading your vehicle.
Waiting too long to unpack plants
Of course, your top priority when you reach your new destination is to make sure everyone has a bed to sleep in and something to eat and drink. Unpacking your possessions takes a long time, and some homeowners put boxes full of potted plants to one side without attention for several weeks after the move.
It's important to unpack your plants as soon as you can. Place pots in the right conditions, making sure every specimen has enough light and water. It's generally a good idea to give house plants some extra care for a couple of weeks, to help them cope with the move. When replanting, check the soil with a pH kit to see if it is too acidic or alkaline. Take steps to adjust the soil's pH, if necessary.
Many people cannot bear the thought of parting with their prized plants when moving house. You can successfully transport plants to your new home, but it's important to take steps to protect these delicate specimens. If you have too many plants to move on your own, it may be a good idea to hire cheap removalists who can easily get the job done for you at a low cost.