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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - February 10, 2012

From: Gilroy, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens
Title: Moving potted plants from California to Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I am moving from Gilroy CA to Georgetown TX, I have many potted plants I would love to take with me but I am not sure what would survive in my new location. These plants have been cared for so many years, I would hate for them to not survive. Can you give me advise as to what would be be best suitable to move. Thank you for any help you can give me.

ANSWER:

We're not sure we can help a whole lot. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Mr. Smarty Plants are committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they grow naturally. Many potted plants and many plants grown in California are non-native to North America and certainly to Central Texas. If they were moved directly into our limited rainfall, high summer temperatures and alkaline soils we wouldn't be too optimistic. Santa Clara County is in about USDA Hardiness Zone 9b and Georgetown is in 8b. A lot depends on whether these are indoor plants or outdoor plants and how you intend to move them.

A house plant, moved directly from one air conditioned house to another, would notice no change but the transition could be brutal. Moving truck trailers are not air conditioned, humidified or in any way prepared to nurture living plants. This time of year and the routes you would take would probably not involve the plants freezing, but certainly they could be cooked in the unventilated truck being driven across the deserts.

This particular member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team has left behind two gardens and anything movable, like plants and garden art, either gave away, sold with the house or sold in plant sales. We also now live in an apartment with a small balcony and some container plants. Even moving from apartment to apartment, across town in an air conditioned car has been a challenge and, again, most of them we left or gave away.

We understand your not wanting to abandon plants you have nurtured for many years, but we think you will just succeed in wiping them out if you try to move them. We would suggest having a going away party and giving them away to gardeners you know will care for them, and remember you as they do so. Also, you can have a plant sale; it would be very popular with people who knew what a keen gardener you are. Then, you could take the proceeds and get new plants that will grow in Central Texas, selected for our climate or destined to be stay indoor plants.

We have a How-To Article on Gardening with Container Plants that has no advice on moving them across country but certainly some good ideas on caring for them.

 

 

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