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Can we lift most plants in early Springtime?

we are moving house in April and would very much like to take some of our existing plants with us.  These will include peonies, azaleas,  that have flowered incredibly over the past 6 years ,a tree fern, roses , and hostas along with some climbers. We will not be able to replant immediately as we will be rebuilding our new home and the garden won't be ready for planting until end of 2018 or early 2019.  Can  I please have best advice as to what to do and when? 

Thanks in advance! 


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687

    Everything on that list looks fine to lift and pot-up. Chop generously around the edge and dig as deep as you can, all will need quite sizable sized pots if you intend to hold them in containers for a year. You don't mention the type of climbers. No point lifting very woody climbers. Plants like Wisteria and some Honeysuckles and even mature climbing roses. You will find it impossible to dig up for a start and they are unlikely to take even if you manage to lift them. I would only dig up young climbers under 2 years planted in. Anything beyond that, maybe think about taking cuttings.

    Peonies have a reputation of not doing well when moved/lifted up, but I have not tried it myself. It's worth a try if it's very important to you. The roots can be very thick and deep.

    Last edited: 30 December 2017 10:47:42

  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,600

    Before you dig anything up, you need to speak to your agent and any potential buyers because garden plants tend to be viewed as part of the property. However, I would lift, divide and pot up the peonies and hostas, replanting some for the new owners to enjoy and taking young plants to the new garden. They will be fine until you are ready to plant. Shrubs are more of a problem. While you can move them, asking them to live in pots for 12 months may be pushing your luck. A six year old rose will be deeply rooted and easily damaged. I don't know about tree ferns and you don't name the climbers but you might get cuttings of these. My choice would be to wait until the garden is ready and buy vigorous new plants. It's sad to say goodbye to much loved friends in the garden, but it's better than killing them off trying to move them.

  • CloggieCloggie Cambs Fens but not black soilPosts: 1,451

    I'd agree that it's sad but you do need to leave some friends behind where they are happy.  I left a shrub that I'd had for years in a pot and planted out in non-ideal conditions when I moved but it thrived (to my surprise, I'm guessing because it was already old).  Since it liked where I put it, I left it there.

    I was going to chip in that I brought a paeony with me but then remembered it was in a pot already when it came here. I'd potted up quite a few things that weren't happy in my old place and so they were ideal for moving to the new house.

    I think it's a judgement call on each specimen.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,400

    We moved 15 months ago and I borught a whole lorry trailer load full of pots and garden bits.  These included hostas, Japanese maples, some shrubs and lillies plus roses and clems that were already in pots plus some specials I lifted - hydrangeas, perennials - before putting the house on the market.   I also took cuttings of roses and collected seeds of other plants.

    Some have been planted out but the vast majority are still in pots so I can keep them watered and sheltered form hot sun or cold winds according to the season because there's been a 16 month drought making it impossible to work the soil and create the new beds I need to plant all my treasures. 

    Peonies can be moved/lifted/divided - I brought some - but they do need to be planted out again at the same depth they were before as too deep buries the flowering bud and too shallow exposes it to cold and dry so all you get is foliage.  

    Spring is a good time to lift and divide plants.

    Last edited: 31 December 2017 08:21:42

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