How to Move a Plant: Tips for Packing and Moving Houseplants
For some of us, our house doesn’t feel like a home without our houseplants.
No wonder we’re willing to go through the stress of moving our delicate, leafy family members with us from one home to the next.
On top of having to move the stereo system and dishware safely, we’ve all shared some kind of nightmare of potting soil-covered seats. So, how do you move houseplants correctly?
Let’s dive into the basics of transporting plants like a pro.
First, check regulations and growing conditions
If you’re moving plants across state lines, you’ll need to do your research before packing up.
Some states have strict requirements for indoor plants. You may find it especially strict if you’re moving to the following states:
This is a limited list, so check your new home state’s requirements before moving your plants.
Much like ourselves, our plants do very well when cared for attentively. It’s always important to consider the climate of your relocation to know how to alter your plant’s care routine accordingly.
This plant hardiness zone map can help identify whether your plant will thrive in its new climate based on the average annual temperature. You might need to purchase new hardware to care for your plant, and it also might be exposed to different types of pests than before.
How to pack houseplants properly
If you’re taking your plants with you, do it correctly. Due to their delicate nature, it’s important to know how to pack houseplants properly. With the right supplies, you can keep your potted plants and cuttings from breaking and spilling out all over your other things.
Use more than moving supplies
Knowing how to pack a plant for travel heavily depends on having the right supplies. You’ll need the typical moving boxes, paper, and bubble wrap, but plants require specialized supplies.
You’ll need the following items:
- plastic pots
- sterilized potting soil
- plastic bags
- paper towels
- flea collars
- sphagnum moss
Prepare potted plants
It’s important to note that you can only do some of this in a single day. Plants take time to transition, so start preparing your plants three weeks before moving day.
- Now, re-pot the indoor plants into lightweight plastic pots with sterilized potting soil. This makes them much easier to carry when you move.
- Then, pack away the heavy ceramic pots just like you would other fragile items.
- One week before moving day, prune the plants. Removing dead leaves and cutting back other foliage allow the plant to stay healthy. This is critical since the plant will endure much stress during the move.
- Three days before the move, water each plant. This way, they won’t be too damp during the move and leak water. Most plants need water every 7 to 10 days, so they’ll be fine even during a multi-day trip.
- Houseplants can also harbor pests that states don’t want you bringing across the state line. Place a flea collar around the pot to draw out any critters.
Pack each plant
- On the day of the move, place plastic bags over each pot and tie them at the base of the plant. This will prevent soil from spilling into your vehicle and making a mess.
- Then, place each plant in a moving box. Large plants need a box, but small ones can share a box. Make sure there isn’t room for them to shift, and use packing paper or bubble wrap to fill the spaces between the pots and the box.
- If stackability is important, loosely seal the box and poke a few holes in the top and sides. This allows them to breathe.
Ideally, you’ll transport your plants in your vehicle or the cab of the moving truck, so you shouldn’t need to seal the boxes.
Care for cuttings
You can cut the plant to move outdoor plants from the garden.
- Make a clean cut on the bush or flower that gives you a cutting between three and six inches long.
- You’ll then need to know how to travel with plant cuttings. You only need wet paper towels to wrap around the cut, a rubber band to secure it, and a plastic stem holder.
- You can then place it in a box with your other houseplants. You can also plant it in a plastic pot with moist potting soil.
- Cover the pot loosely in plastic to keep it humid, and pack it in a box with your other plants.
If you can’t take every plant…
The truth is, you probably will need help to keep every one of your indoor plants. Suppose you need more space or some plants need to meet your new home’s Department of Agriculture regulations. In that case, you may be unable to take every houseplant.
Fear not, plants make fantastic gifts for friends and family to see you go. Why not leave them with a healthy plant to brighten their home?
You can also donate to retirement homes, hospitals, and community gardens where they will live thanks to your consideration.
How to move houseplants
The day is here! You’re moving, and your plants are properly prepped and ready for the ride. So, how are you going to move your houseplants? A handful of options are available, and one method may work better for you than another.
Choose a method of transport
The best method for transporting plants is to move them in your vehicle or the cab of the moving truck. This is because the plants will have access to direct sunlight and good airflow, and you can control the temperature to keep them from getting too hot or cold.
Many moving companies refuse to move houseplants, but some movers will. Putting plants in the moving truck exposes them to the elements and potentially breaks them. Still, you can do it for short distances.
You can also ship plants by mail. If you do this, fill the box with enough paper to keep the plants from shifting and poke holes in the box. Add labels like “live plant,” “fragile,” and “this end up.”
If you’re transporting a tree on its side in a moving truck, place sphagnum moss in the pot and cover it with plastic wrap. This will prevent the rest of your belongings from becoming damaged and keep your tree healthy and safe, root ball and all. For more info on moving trees, check out some of these tips.
If you’re traveling with your plants, check on them throughout the trip–especially if it’s long.
- You may need to adjust them so they receive more or less sunlight.
- If they start drying out, make sure they have enough water.
- Traveling for more than one day? If you’re staying at a hotel, take the plants into the room with you. This will protect them from drastic temperature changes.
What to do when you arrive at your new home
The job doesn’t end with figuring out how to move a plant. Once you arrive, your plants should be one of your priorities.
- Immediately remove them from the vehicle and give them water if needed.
- Begin unpacking and place plants in the part of your home where they’ll receive the appropriate amount of sunlight for their plant type.
- Re-pot the plant back into its original container as soon as you can.
- Replant garden plants as soon as possible, with fresh mulch.
Establish new roots quickly by learning how to pack and move houseplants
If you’ve been wondering if you can move your house plants without killing them, this simple guide should relieve you. Learning how to pack and move houseplants is easy once you’ve done it.
Our plants only need a little love and exceptional attention to make it through a long-distance move, no matter the mode of transport. Together, you’ll put down roots in your new home, where you’ll grow and thrive.
Have personal experience with learning how to pack and move houseplants? Help others who need plant-moving tips we might’ve missed in the comments section.
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