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Another moving house packing up the garden thread - advice on keeping pots

a1154a1154 Posts: 1,092
I’m taking a lot of plants and cuttings from my garden for a house move, so I have amassed a lot of pots to look after. I have labelled everything, but it’s a bit chaotic. The problem is, there isn’t anywhere for plants to go, it might well be 2 years in a pot.
I confess I normally plant things in the garden, water once and forget, I’m not used to keeping a lot of things in pots as it’s too high maintenance.
i have realised already that HPs that normally flop a bit in the garden, flop a lot in pots. 
Eeek how is all this managed? 
I’m wondering if it would be worthwhile setting up some temporary raised beds, so plants have a bit more soil and I don’t need to worry about small pots drying out so much. 
I don’t really know what sort of plants will be just fine in a pot for 2 years, and what really needs planting out. 
Has anyone been through this and can advise? 


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,565
    When are you actually moving and is there a garden where you can plant them out?

    Leave it as long as possible until just before you move. You don't have to take everything, just take enough so you can propagate enough stock to get the new garden under way, and of course take the unusual stuff you'd struggle to replace. Cut everything back before you move it into pots, and keep in the shade for now, even sun-lovers.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,565
    edited June 2021
    ... When I did this I used the dirt cheap plastic trough planters from B&M/Wilkos, so I could get a row of plants into each one. I decided one (occasionally two) troughs of any given plant was going to be enough. I moved in winter so everything was dormant, allowing me to do it at my leisure. If you have two years to play with, I'd advise waiting for the dormant season too.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,999
    It does seem rather premature to pot up plants and take cuttings now if you are thinking about a 2 year time span - why so long? Have you sold your house already and if so, have you told the buyers you are taking the plants?
    As to watering them, you could look at an automatic computer controlled watering system from an outside tap if you have one. The computer unit is attached to the tap/hosepipe and can be set to come on and off, rather like a heating system. Smaller pipes are then connected and pinned down in each individual pot. 
    If that is not an option then your best bet is to group all the pots together, perhaps as you suggest in a raised bed, with compost covering the pots, where they will benefit from a micro climate and keep it damp. Dappled shade if you have it would be better than full sun.
    Good luck, hope all goes well with the move.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,177
    If they're going to be hanging around for 2 years, l'm wondering if rather than building raised beds you just dig a massive bed and plant the lot until you can sort out the new garden. Is the new plot covered in concrete or paving? 
    @Loxley 's idea of using those cheap troughs is a good one.
    What kind of hardy perennials are we talking about? 
  • Lena_vs_DeerLena_vs_Deer Posts: 203
    edited June 2021
    I agree, unless you have to move out very soon and/or stay somewhere as a guest for up to two years, it's very premature to pot anything.

    On off season you can pack so much in a single moving box just wrapped in newspaper - all rhizomes and bulbs, even hostas can be stored as just roots after they die out and fall asleep. We kept half of out garden in a friend's garage over winter and it just occasionally was checked on mold.  
    Some things probably can be potted together to make them dry slower. Maybe you have some old pots from shrubs or can afford getting cheap big pots or "grow bags" and have up to 3-5 plants in each. If they have to stay in that pot for almost 2 years they will fill up pot well and by the time you can plant them in the ground you can just divide everything. So maybe this will save you from having lots of repeating plants to take care of for time being. 

    I think if you share a list of what you want to move and when it needs to move, we can collectively help you sort out how to do it with least amount of labor and space it will need to take :) 
  • a1154a1154 Posts: 1,092
    Sorry I wasn’t clear, moving date is uncertain, but in the next couple of months. The plants have already been moved in pots to the new site, and are in dappled shade. 
    We won’t live there for an estimated 2 years, new house to be built, and all the landscaping to be done. We were hoping it would be 1 year, but can’t get anything done, so it’s looking like 2. 
    I have been potting up cuttings and divisions of just about everything. I think I should have started with a list but went for a strategy of....if it’s growing here, I’m taking some (unless I hate it). 
    I have had this garden 10ish years and there are a lot of different plants, the style is grasses and HP areas, and I have lots of alpines. It’s open and sunny and dry, and (just) alkaline. The new garden is much more shady and protected and acid. It seems likely not everything will work! 
    Im not sure I should have bothered with lupins and centaurea, verbena, knautea, Achillea, cephalaria etc. They are looking big already. 
    There are no areas of ground not covered in grass and weeds, so I thought a temporary raised bed. 

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,120
    If you're having a digger in to break ground for building, you could maybe get them to turn over an area of the garden land to make a temporary bed to line out your stock plants? It would need less watering than a raised bed.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,990
    JennyJ said:
    If you're having a digger in to break ground for building, you could maybe get them to turn over an area of the garden land to make a temporary bed to line out your stock plants? It would need less watering than a raised bed.
    That sounds like a very good idea ... it could even be used later on as a veg patch/nursery bed.   :)

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • a1154a1154 Posts: 1,092
    We can’t get anything done this year, no. 
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,120
    In that case, maybe compare the cost of hiring a mini-digger for a day with the cost of materials and compost/topsoil to make a big enough area of raised bed for your plants. It might work out cheaper.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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