Guide To Packing and Moving Houseplants

If you have a beautiful collection of houseplants, you’ve likely invested a lot of time and money into cultivating them. Understandably, you won’t want to leave your houseplants behind when you move. So, how can you pack and move your houseplants so that they stay safe and healthy during transit?

Here is our guide to packing and moving houseplants so that you can bring your houseplants on your move and rest easy knowing they’ll make it to your new house intact.

Before Packing

Before packing, you’ll want to research your new home’s location and if any of your current houseplants are banned from your new state or city. Different states have different regulations in place regarding houseplants.

Some stricter states include Arizona, Florida, Washington, Oregon, and California. However, we recommend checking the state’s Department of Agriculture website first before you begin packing to ensure your plants are allowed across state lines. We recommend checking any states you’ll be driving through as well in case you’re stopped at their borders.

Another thing to consider is your new home’s climate. Will your plants survive in this climate and the typical temperatures out there?

Check the hardiness zone and research whether or not your plants will survive in your new home. If the hardiness zone doesn’t match up with some of your plants, consider leaving them with friends and family. You may need to change how often you water your plants, purchase new hardware to care for them, or spray them for different types of pests.

Supplies

While moving supplies like bubble wrap, moving boxes, and paper wrap will be helpful, you’ll need to invest in special plant moving supplies.

Gather the following supplies:

  • Plastic pots
  • Labels
  • Old bed sheets or tissue paper for large plants with branches
  • Plastic bags
  • Paper towels
  • Sterilized potting soil
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Flea collars

How To Pack Houseplants

When packing houseplants, you’ll need at least three weeks to transition your plants so that they experience less shock and stress. Take the following steps starting several weeks out from your move date:

  1. Repot your houseplants into plastic pots filled with sterilized potting soil. Look for lightweight, shatter-proof plastic pots to make the move easier on yourself.
  2. Pack your plant’s usual ceramic pots away in wrapping paper or bubble wrap and place them inside a labeled moving box.
  3. Prune your houseplants about one week before your move date. You want your plants to be as healthy as possible for the move, so cut away extra foliage and remove dead leaves. Remember, your plants will undergo stress on moving day, even with extra care, so help them start as healthy as possible. Skip pruning succulents, cacti, and ferns.
  4. Treat plants with insecticides or pesticides about one week before the move, ensuring that you follow the directions carefully. You may be unable to bring pesticides across state lines, so make sure you have a plan to dispose of these chemicals before your move if necessary.
  5. Water each of your plants approximately three days before the move so they are hydrated but not damp and leaking water during transit. Do not overwater. Most plants only need to be watered once a week, so they should be fine even if your move takes several days.
  6. Put a flea collar around each pot to make sure that your plants aren’t harboring any pests.

Plant Cuttings

If you’re creating cuttings from your garden to pack, follow these steps:

  • Create a cutting around 3 to 6 inches long from the flower or bush in your garden.
  • Wrap plant cuttings gently in damp paper towels. Secure with a rubber band and plastic stem holder.
  • Place the cutting into a box with other houseplants or plant it in its own plastic pot with damp sterilized potting soil. Wrap plastic loosely around the pot to retain the humidity.

How To Move Houseplants

After preparing your potted plants, take the following steps on the day of your move:

  1. Put plastic bags over each plastic container and secure them at the base of the plant. The plastic bags reduce the risk of soil spilling into your boxes and car.
  2. Pack houseplants into moving boxes. Be generous with moving boxes for your houseplants, and don’t overcrowd. Larger plants will need their own boxes, but a few small plants can be packed into one box. Cram bubble wrap or packing paper into gaps and empty space between plants to keep them from shifting and bumping into each other when you’re on the road.
  3. If you plan on stacking your moving boxes, poke a couple of holes in the lid and sides of the boxes to provide your plants with airflow.
  4. Keep your moving boxes upright and label the top and sides with what’s inside and add fragile stickers.

Tips for Moving Your Houseplants in Your Vehicle

  • If you’re moving your plants in your vehicle, don’t seal the boxes as this may smother your plants.
  • Keep your car’s temperature at a slightly cool to room temperature level. Hot and cold temperatures can hurt your plants. If you’re stopping for the night, bring your plants inside with you to avoid extreme temperature exposure.
  • Pack plants in the cabin of your car.
  • Check on your plants throughout the move, especially if you’re making a long-distance move. Test the soil to see if they are drying out and adjust their placement so that they receive enough direct sunlight.

Alternative Options for Moving Your Houseplants

Can’t take your houseplants with you in the car? Here are a few other options for transferring houseplants to your new place:

  • Fly with your houseplants. You can bring plants on an airplane if they meet TSA rules. Check with the airline about specific size limitations and packing requirements.
  • Ship your plants. UPS, USPS, and FedEx all ship plants. However, their plant-shipping guidelines vary dramatically. Always choose the fastest shipping method and avoid holiday and weekend shipping so you can replant your houseplant as quickly as possible.
  • By moving truck. If you have taller plants, like a tree. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to transport it in your vehicle, ship it, or fly with it. Instead, lay the tree on its side in the moving van or truck. Put sphagnum moss around the plastic pot and wrap loosely in plastic wrap. Don’t forget to heavily prune your tree before packing it to minimize harm to its branches and leaves during the trip.

At Your New Place

After arriving at your new place, immediately tend to your plants before unpacking anything else.

  • Remove your plants from the car and water them if need be.
  • Carefully unpack them from their boxes, removing them through the bottom to reduce breakage.
  • Place in areas of your new place with enough sunlight to sustain them.
  • Repot your houseplants as quickly as possible. We know you have a lot going on and many things to unpack, but your plants have undergone a lot of stress during the move. Help them thrive once more by repotting them with fresh soil into their original ceramic pots.

Final Thoughts

Packing and moving your houseplants properly can be a lot of work. However, the color and life they add to any home are worth the investment. Take your time gathering needed supplies and researching what plants will thrive in your new home.

Don’t be afraid to leave a few houseplants with friends and family or donate them to a local retirement community, hospitals, or churches, if you’re unsure if they will survive the move or thrive in your new climate.

Once you’re at your new home, immediately tend to your indoor plants and give them some extra tender loving care to make up for the stress they endured during the move. They’ll bounce back soon enough!

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