How to Move Your Houseplants to a New Home Without Killing Them

Jon Fesmire | Aug 12, 2019 @ 08:11 AM

What do you do when it’s time to move and you have houseplants? Can you take them with you? The answer is probably yes, but the process requires a little extra effort on your part.

Remember, your plants are living things and often require specific conditions to thrive. This article aims to help you as much as possible in protecting and moving your plants.

Hiring a Moving Company

While you may want to hire a moving company to transport most of your stuff for you, in general, they won’t move plants (by the way, here are some other things movers won’t move).

Research the Law

Each state has its own laws concerning bringing in plants. These laws are there to prevent the spread of plant diseases and pests. The National Plant Board has the laws for each state, so if you’re moving across state lines, have a look and read up on each state you’ll be traveling through.

Research Your Plants

Do some research on your plants and on the area you’re moving to. The climate may be all wrong for some of your leafy friends. How much light does the area get compared to how much your plants need? What’s the overall climate like, including yearly rainfall? If you discover certain plants you own won’t do well there, it’s time to ask your local friends if they’ll adopt your plants.

Potting

Get some plastic pots to transport your plants in, rather than their usual, ceramic pots. Also, purchase some fresh, sterilized soil. Then, two or three weeks before the move, you will transfer your plants to their new pots.

To do so, gently remove each plant from its current pot, brushing away soil and freeing the roots. Hold the plant in the new, plastic pot, and pour in sterilized soil, making sure that the plant is comfortably upright when you’ve finished. You can then water the plant as usual.

After you’ve repotted the plants, rinse out the ceramic pots and set them aside. When they’ve dried, you can pack them in boxes, wrapping each in newspaper or packing paper, and filling the empty space in each box with additional packing paper. You can then bring them with you and transfer the plants back into them at your new home.

Watering

Water your plants two or three days before moving day. Pour in enough water to get the soil moist, but not terribly wet.

Boxing Your Plants

The morning of or the night before the move, pack your plants. You’ll need sturdy boxes that are tall enough for each plant, plastic bags large enough for the pots, tape, and newspaper or packing paper.

When you pack a plant, first tape the bottom of the box securely. Next, put the pot in one of the plastic bags and close it off at the base of the plant, to keep in the moisture and to help prevent dirt from spilling. Then, place the plant carefully in the box and fill in the empty space with packing paper. Shut the box, and poke a few holes in the side for air. Label it “Live Plant” and “Fragile.”

Moving

You have three options for getting your plant to your destination. You can bring it in your car, bring it on a plane, or ship it.

If you have several plants, your car is your best option. Keep them in the cabin of the car, not in the trunk, so they get some air flow and sunlight. If your trip is going to take several days, remember to water them, and consider bringing them with you into each hotel or motel.

Surprisingly, many airlines allow you to bring a plant aboard as a carry-on item. Check the guidelines for whatever airline you’re taking.

Although moving companies won’t transport plants, shipping companies, including the United States Postal Service (USPS), UPS, and FedEx sometimes will. You’ll need to ask for their guidelines and ensure that your plant meets them. If you ship a plant, really ensure it’s secure in its box, as it can get jostled and tipped over in transport. Also, insulate the package if it may go through somewhere cold, and avoid weekend shipments, which can delay when the plant gets to you. Use the fastest shipment option possible.

Keep in mind throughout the process, including moving, that your plants are delicate, and to treat them with as much care as possible.