Succulents are some of the most resilient plant species. Their ability to survive and thrive without water makes them more robust than other plants.
So, if you’re planning to move out, moving your houseplants with you shouldn’t be a problem.
Moving to a neighboring town or shifting across a different neighborhood seems easy, especially when safely packing succulents.
However, air travel, especially long distances, is a different story.
While the succulents might survive long-distance hauls despite the lack of water, other situations might hinder their survival.
These issues make traveling with succulents a risky task. Moreover, you’d have to check national and international airline and country restrictions regarding the specific species you plan to travel with.
Thus, moving succulents with you might be an achievable task. However, there are numerous things you must keep in mind regarding the travel permits and packaging details.
This article will explain everything you need to know to prepare thoroughly for traveling on a plane with your succulents.
Can You Take Succulents on a Plane?
Though allowed, taking succulents on a plane is a problem with two particular aspects.
The first aspect of maneuvering is the restrictions and permits of your travel airline.
Whether you’re flying domestically or internationally, airlines will significantly impact taking succulents with you.
Furthermore, you must check which luggage, whether overhead carry-on or personal bag stored underneath the seat, can be used to pack succulents.
The second aspect of navigating is your destination state or country restrictions. Some plant species are known for their invasive nature, and succulents happen to be one of them.
Therefore, numerous countries have imposed bans on bringing in certain plant species that can potentially harm their local flora and fauna.
Transport Security Administration (TSA), responsible for airport security, allows travelers to take plants with them onboard. However, the plant size, weight, and packaging must adhere to airline restrictions.
If you desire to take your plants with you packed in a carry-on, the size should be smaller than the standard carry-on suitcase size allowed by most airlines which is 22 x 14 x 9 inches.
Since plants stretching out of these size requirements won’t fit underneath the seat in front of the overhead compartment, you must check them into the main luggage.
You must also ensure that the soil you’re carrying for your plants isn’t dripping wet. Traveling with slightly damp soil is allowed by most airlines as long as the plants are packaged wisely.
It’s also important to know that all plants must pass through the screening process, mainly done via x-ray machines. Hence, your succulents will be dealt with in the same way.
Even though on the TSA website, you’d only find the authorities allowing plants onboard without mentioning succulents separately, a Twitter query cleared out TSA’s stance.
One query asked for clarity on traveling with cacti, while another asked whether aloe vera plants were allowed on planes. TSA answered both positively.
Hence, you can travel with your succulents in an airplane.
In addition, numerous other airlines that don’t fall under TSA’s control also allow plants aboard.
Therefore, your only issue with international travel lies in encircling the customs regulations.
For further clarity, we have divided our information into US-based domestic and international travel.
Domestic Flights Across the US
Any domestic travel within the region regarded as mainland US allows the free bringing of plants, including succulents.
However, some regions and states have specific restrictions regarding which plants you can enter or leave within the state’s boundary.
If you’re traveling to Florida, California, or Arizona, you require specific permits for traveling with your plants.
That said, the Agricultural Department doesn’t strictly supervise domestic flights to these states. Hence, passengers have reported zero problems when traveling to these states despite the permits.
Nonetheless, traveling to and from places like US Virgins Islands, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico is different.
Due to the invasive nature of succulents and other plants, which can harm the indigenous plant and animal species, these places have stringent requirements and procedures.
Therefore, you should treat adherence to these regulations seriously.
For your international travels, ensure that the succulents you carry are allowed by the customs of your arrival country.
In addition, you’ll have to follow specific rules that international flights and countries have in place for easy and safe travel.
- The succulents you plan on traveling with must be free from soil. This measure ensures pest-free plants that are bare-rooted for safe traveling.
- The succulents or other houseplants you travel with must be wrapped in a newspaper, kraft paper, or a towel.
- You require a phytosanitary certificate from the place you’re traveling. This certificate acknowledges that you’re traveling with a plant product that meets the export requirements.
- In addition to the previously mentioned certificate, you’ll also need specific permits, such as ESA or CITES, to verify that the plants you’re carrying won’t harm the indigenous flora and fauna species of your destination country.
- Agents at airports have the right to discard any plants that look diseased or rotten. Hence, if you have a succulent on the verge of dying, it’s better to leave them at home.
If you’re traveling internationally to the US, you must also know that in the States, you can bring up to 12 plants without requiring an additional permit.
Moreover, if you’re traveling with a unique succulent species, you doubt would be allowed in the mainland US, you must first gain clarity on the subject by contacting the United States Department of Agriculture.
How to Pack Succulents for Moving
Now that you’re sure whether you can move with your succulents to your destination, here’s how to pack the succulents for absolute comfort and safety for the plants and your luggage.
These tips and tricks dive deeper into the steps you should take weeks before traveling to narrate an entire process.
Prune and Repot Your Succulents Weeks Ahead
As discussed, ensuring that your succulents are healthy and well is essential to make it through international borders.
Therefore, the best way to address this issue is by pruning your succulents a few weeks in advance. Identify rotten or damaged leaves and use a pruning knife to cut away and discard the diseased part.
Once you’re through the pruning, report them carefully to give them a renewed environment where they can thrive.
Ensure the new soil bed is fresh for the plants and won’t require further changing as the traveling day nears.
Water Them 2 Weeks Before the Move
Watering the succulents at least two weeks before the planned move-out will help the soil soak in moisture.
Doing so will ensure that your plants are dry when you carry them to the airport.
Package the Succulents in 3 Layers
Traveling can create stress for certain fragile succulents. Hence, wrapping in three layers would tightly envelop the plants and give them less space to ensure lower chances of stress.
You can also cover the empty spaces by using peanuts.
Parcel Heat Packs in the Plant Container
Succulents are resilient plant species that can survive and thrive in extreme temperatures.
However, since traveling is already an unordinary situation for the plants, playing with temperature won’t be a wise decision.
Therefore, if you’re traveling in scorching heat, provide some shaded area for the succulents to allow them to breathe.
In contrast, packing a heat pack would be a good idea if you’re traveling to a place with a lower temperature.
Additionally, use plastic containers to carry the plants to help maintain an upright position for the succulents.
Moreover, the lightweight containers are easy to carry and keep fragile shipments from damage.
Pack the Cacti Separately
If you own cacti, you’re well aware of their prickly spikes that can potentially damage other succulents.
Hence, wrapping them in a separate layer or using a different container for cacti altogether would be brilliant.
To Sum It Up!
Traveling with succulents is a challenging task. Though the resilient species are incredibly sturdy and can withstand numerous conditions, changing their environment altogether is a rather big move.
Therefore, it’s common for them to arrive wilted despite the extensive safety measures you took for them.
However, remember that wilting is merely their safety measure against drastic changes. Hence, once you’ve arrived, some love and care will bring the succulents back to life in no time.
If certain parts are entirely rotten due to the travel, it’s best to prune them instead of healing them.
Even though you’re allowed to carry various succulent species on an airplane, it’s always a good idea to directly contact your airline and double-check any restrictions you might face.
Moreover, ensuring that your destination country or state doesn’t have additional requirements for documentation will save you from last-minute hassle.
Remember, the procedure for domestic flights across the US is different from international flights. Thus, prepare beforehand accordingly.
We hope this article has been helpful for you in navigating all the measures you need to take to travel safely with your succulents on an airplane. All that remains now is wishing you a bon voyage!