We will be moving from Olympia in Western Washington to Sacramento in
Northern California during the last week of September. We have a
variety of house plants that we are very fond of and would like to take
with us. It takes about 12 hours by car. We have a couple of Subaru
Foresters (mini SUVs) that we will be driving. The temperatures on the
way will be in the 80's and 90's. What steps should we take to ensure
that the plants survive the drive? Thanks for any advice or suggestions.
- Air conditioning when you're moving. Maybe a layer of cheesecloth or other
very light fabric over the plants.
- Group the plants tightly so they shade each other as much as possible.
Mist lightly so air moving through the car helps cool the leaves.
- For short stops, like lunch, there are two good things to do. If you need
to ask what they are, nothing anyone tells you can be of help to you.
- Hotels: They have luggage carts. Bring the plants inside, unless you're
100% sure the sun won't hit the car before you're up in the morning.
No matter what you do, expect some leaves to yellow or drop as the plants go
through this ordeal, and then adjust to their new surroundings. Don't freak
out. Back off on the watering for plants that have lost lots of leaf area.
Wise advice from Mr. Ross! Be prepared to verify that the plants have NOT
lived outdoors, if you can. In my experience, it also helps to have e-mail
correspondence with someone from the CDFA about your plants ahead of time --
and be able to produce it at the border. It doesn't appear from reading the
info on the link David provided that your houseplants will pose a threat,
but you never know...
We moved several houseplants with us in the car from WI to about 90 miles
north of Sacto (in early Sept.) seven years ago. The drive took us several
days, and the plants did fine -- we kept them in the backseat and were able
to keep them from roasting during the day. Brought them in with us at
night, watered them in the morning -- all made it and most are currently
living happily on the front porch. Best of luck to you!
From the FAQ, you will note that a special concern is about "house
plants" that are actually plants that can grow outside in mild-winter
climates. In cold-winter climates, such plants are kept inside in the
winter and set outside in the summer.
Also, prohibited would be plants growing in my do-it-yourself potting
mix even though the mix was developed by the University of California.
Agriculture is a very, very important business in California. The state
is trying to protect that industry from plant pests and diseases.
With some success. For example, they've kept out the Colorado Potato
Beetle (at least from parts of the state, according to
http://entweb.clemson.edu/museum/beetles/local/btle64.htm ), despite
the fact that it is ubiquitous in most of the rest of the US.
Between the natural barrier of the Sierra Nevada (which helps make the
effort potentially non-futile), and the large number of
California-only native species (which I suppose isn't the motive as
much as the agriculture), I can see every reason for California to
worry about it.
On a practical note, I drive between Oregon and California a few times
a year. Automobiles are given a pass at the inspection station,
routed on the highway rather through where they used to be inspected.
When we were inspected and I had plants, I'd keep the plants on the
seat beside me and show the inspector what I had, haven't had a
problem for years. Long ago it was different, almost everything was
I just moved a 35 year old, bushel-basket sized, mixed planter of Xmas
cactus and hoya in the trunk of my Neon. It was a fifteen hour trip. I
watered it well, opened the trunk when we stopped for rest stops to give it
some air and got it out immediately upon arrival. It did fine. So did the
container of chocolate mint that I had tossed into the trunk beside it. A
few hours won't hurt most plants. It's being forgotten in the trunk/car
for a few days that usually does them in.
I wish I had had room to move my beloved herbs, too. I miss my herb
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