Moving Time: You Can Take Your Perennials With You
Moving to a new location can be an exciting time for everyone. It gives you an opportunity to go through your belongings and get rid of the things you no longer need. There are some things, like that gorgeous perennial bed you’ve been nurturing for years, that are harder to leave than others. The good news is you can take many of your perennials with you to start a flowerbed at your new location, but it takes some planning.
One Week Before the Move
Walk through your yard and garden and take note of which flowers you want to take with you. Make a list to ensure that you won’t accidentally leave one behind. As a rule, easily replaced flowers or shrubs are better left where they are for the next owner to enjoy. Hard-to-replace plants with sentimental value should be the only ones on your list. Although you may not be able to take the entire plant, a piece of those gorgeous phlox passed down from your grandmother deserves a place at your new home.
The Day Before the Movers Arrive
Although the neighbors may wonder what you are up to, the day before the mover arrives is the time to water your perennial bed. Soak the soil to the root level with a garden hose. This softens the soil and makes digging easier. It also ensures your plants are well-hydrated and better equipped to handle the stress of a move.
The Morning of the Move
Now is the time to get busy in your garden digging up sections of the perennials you wish to take along. Don’t worry if it’s not the proper time for lifting and dividing your perennials, most will survive transplanting at any time of the year. Blooming may be reduced the following year, but once established they will return to their usual splendor.
- Cut the foliage back to 4 to 6 inches in height. This reduces water loss and stress to your plant during moving and transplanting it.
- Dig around the clump of flowers with a sharp garden shovel or spade. You should dig farther enough away to avoid damaging the roots, 8 inches is typically a wide enough berth.
- Slide the blade of the shovel under the roots and lift the clump from the soil.
- Shake off the excess soil so you can see the roots clearly. You can also hose them off with the garden hose to make separating the roots easier.
- Pull, or cut, a small section of the plant from the main clump. The section should have 3 to 4 shoots attached to the roots.You may want more than one section.
- Place the sections in a cardboard box filled with 3 to 4 inches of moist peat moss. If your move will take more than a few hours, cut holes in the box for ventilation.
- Label the box clearly.
- Replant the remaining plant in its original position.
Load the box with your plants into the moving truck last so that they will be the first items removed. Inform the movers that the boxes contain live plants and cannot be left out in the sun or in cold weather. Instruct family members to handle the box with care.
Transplant your perennials to a bed in your new location as soon as possible after you arrive. If you must wait a day or two, store them in a cool, dry area with plenty of ventilation. Check the plants for any signs of dehydration and mist them with water if necessary. Under cool (but not cold) conditions the moist peat moss will keep your plants hydrated for several days without damage.