How do I transport houseplants (some are large) across the country without killing them?

My husband and I are moving to Las Vegas the first week of June and he is driving a big truck with everything in the back and I am flying with the dog. How do I get them out from Charleston, SC to Las Vegas WITHOUT killing them? I would REALLY love to keep them alive. I have a magestic palm, a (what I call) Pom Palm, one of those little plants that have the big leaves that are dark green that get red, yellow and orange areas usually near the veins, an amarilis, and a pineapple plant that all need to be moved. Help!
  12 answers
  • Walter Reeves Walter Reeves on Apr 17, 2012
    First you need big sunglasses and a big coat....because you are going to the liquor store and you don't want the folks from your church to recognize you in there. If someone looks at you funny, stifle the urge to say "Well hello Brother Reeves!" I do not want to be recognized either. Get a bunch of liquor boxes. The kind with the handles cut out on the sides are best. Small houseplants can be placed in the box and padded with newspaper. Big ones can be put individually in boxes. If it is a spreading tree, like Norfolk Island pine or one of the palms, use light string to wrap around it and truss up the limbs tightly so they don't take up so much room. It's best to water everything 24 hours beforehand. Warn the husband NOT to park in bright sunshine... because the plants will cook in a box truck. Take them out when you arrive and put them in a spot that has approximately the same light levels as back home. All is good! And if you see me around the slot machines, please don't ask "Brother Reeves, what are YOU doing here???"

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Apr 17, 2012
    I'm sorry to say this but moving established plants like a majesty palm can be almost impossible unless they are potted. Large ones would be costly to move and I'm not sure they would survive the long drive. Amaryllis bulbs can dug up and moved easily. They will tolerate a long move. The pineapple plants are pretty tough - I guess you can take your chances & try moving it. The new area you move to will help you decide what will grow there. It won't be the same as SC. Good Luck on your move; drive safely.

  • Erin H Erin H on Apr 17, 2012
    LOL Walter! I'm not a huge drinker, but I don't have any problems going into liquor stores :) I like cheap vodka to make vanilla with. Sadly it takes like 6 months from scratch and vanilla beans are EXPENSIVE but it sure beats ordering it from Mexico! I will do this... I will start my hunt for newspaper as well. My palm was in pretty bad shape when I rescued it from the apartment complex dumpster but now new growth is appearing, so I am taking that as a great sign! I will tie her up and pack her roots with lots of newspaper and maybe I can try to get the roots insulated more with some styrophone? Will rubber totes work as boxes? Sherrie, All my plants are houseplants and are all in their own pots. My tallest is about 5 ft tall. I wouldnt be so concerned if I had purchaced them on my own, but I rescued them from the dump... Some people collect animals and I collect lost and neglected plants lol :) Keep your fingers crossed for me!

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Apr 17, 2012
    Fingers are crossed, toes are crossed. Take ALL of the plants since Walter told you how & he is right. Do keep us posted and send pics.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Apr 18, 2012
    After you water well, tie a plastic bag around the pot to help keep the dirt in place and retain moisture before you put the plant in its protective box. I bought a tree from a nursery in Oregon last fall. It took a week to get here via FedEx but it was fine when it arrived and is growing happily in my garden now. Good luck with your move and your new adventure.

  • Linda A Linda A on Apr 18, 2012
    Make sure your husband doesn't drive like an idiot!!

  • Erin H Erin H on Apr 18, 2012
    Douglas that's a great tip, thanks! I have a few garbage bags that will easily fit over the pot. Linda, he's actually the safe driver in the family! Maybe its because he's from the south and I'm from western NY lol! I have always driven like a maniac haha!

  • Sandra A Sandra A on Apr 18, 2012
    I would go to the nursery and get the paper type of landscape fabric, or you can use large pillow cases (think thrift store) to set them in. You want them to be able to ventilate, from the openings in the bottom of your pot to the tips of the flowers. Also, it will prevent sunburn and conversely sun loss. They'll be respirating and transpiring while you're moving, so you might want to put wet paper towels on top of the soil to slow evaporation. Expect to have to water them on the trip, especially if the car gets too warm. You're gonna need to mist them as you get into dryer areas. Keep in mind that a lot of the plants you love will be available in Las Vegas (we live nearby and Star Nurseries are everywhere) but many plants won't withstand the differences in air/elevation and humidity if you bring them from such a humid environment. You might just want to budget $100 and get 3-4 huge plants when you arrive. Good luck!

  • Erin H Erin H on Apr 19, 2012
    Would it be a better idea to just take smaller clippings of the plants and then grow from babies? How do I do that? That way I can pack the smaller cuttings in wet paper towels and zippy bags in my suitcase.

  • Venna Juve G Venna Juve G on Apr 19, 2012
    stop by your florists shop and ask about the paper wraps, that they put on flowers. They make big ones for plants

  • Joey G Joey G on Apr 19, 2012
    listen to Walter. Water them 24 hrs before, Keep them out of the sun, and out of intense heat (for ex: car parked for extended period with windows up).

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Apr 20, 2012
    Erin, you won't have much luck propagating the palms or the amaryllis from cuttings. Water well, pack well and cross your fingers.