Moving is never fun, especially moving with houseplants. I doubt you’re looking forward to it. But it doesn’t have to be stressful if you apply the tips listed in this article. Keep on reading to learn how to move with plants to a new home easily.
House plants packed and ready to move
Keep Only the Healthy Plants You Love
To make the move easier, get rid of the house plants you don’t really like, or need anymore, or house plant that are unhealthy, before the move. Give those plants away to friends or sell them online. Keep only the healthy indoor plants, those you can envision in your new home and truly wish to keep.
Protect the Plants from Damage
You can protect the plants from damage by nestling as many plants as you can in sturdy boxes, but making sure to prevent them from falling over. Also, make sure the boxes are tall enough so they can fit the plants. Some plants may be too tall for boxes, so you’ll have to prune them a bit. Set newspaper, cloth, or bubble wrap between the pots to prevent them from moving, hitting against each other, and chipping during transport. Cut air holes for some air circulation.
Succulents can fit nicely in a box
When it comes to vining plants, place as many of them inside the boxes, but initially keep the leaves outside. Once you fill the box with pots, put the leaves in, one plant at a time. Make sure not to tangle the vines.
Several vining plants snuggled nicely in a box
My passion fruit was so large I had to pack it in 2 boxes
Some succulents, like echeverias for example, can break easily, so make sure they are well supported so they don’t move much during transport.
How To Move Big Plants
If a plant is too big to fit in a box (6-8 feet or taller), stabilize it with a wooden pole and slide into a plastic bag for protection and to save space, like in the image below.
Big Monstera Deliciosa secured with stakes and a plastic bag
Big plants like monsteras you can cut, propagate and sell as rooted or unrooted cuttings, or potted plants. By pruning, you’ll make the plant shorter and easier to transport. I had an 8-feet tall Monstera that I pruned to 1/3 its size, which made it so much easier to transport. And I rooted all the cuttings and sold them online.
Plants And Moving Companies
If you’re planning to hire one of the moving companies, make sure to label the boxes as “Fragile” or “Live Plant”, so the movers handle the boxes with extra care.
Once all the plants are protected, arrange and stack the boxes one on top of another (as long as they are not too heavy) into the moving truck, so that they are as stable as possible. Tall plants covered in plastics or paper should also be arranged in a way that will keep them as stable as possible.
The video below shows how I safely move with my plants:
Protecting the leaves of my pineapple from damage with a plastic bag and making sure the plant occupies less space
Protect Your Plants From Cold
If you’re moving plants to a colder area you should insulate them. You can do that by filling the boxes with newspaper or by adding heat packs.
If you’re moving plants to a very hot area or will be travelling through a hot area, make sure to water tropicals before the trip, keep them hydrated as needed and make some holes in the boxes for air circulation.
Insulating the plants using newspapers
Take Extra Precaution If the Move will Take a Few Days or Longer
If the move is longer, you’re probably wondering if the plants can survive a few days in boxes? In general – yes, but it’s hard to give a precise answer that applies to all possible situations and different types of plants.
Their chances depend on a lot of factors such as the specific plant species, size, pot type, potting mix, and other factors. Also, will you be transporting plants in a truck or a car? And will they be exposed to direct sun or not?
All of these factors will play a role, and you should be able to predict the situation beforehand and act accordingly before the move, ensuring the safety of the plants as much as possible. However, there are some things you can take care of when it comes to watering.
Should I Water Plants Before the Move or After
When it comes to succulents and cacti, you needn’t worry about them getting too dry, even for longer moves. Just make sure the soil is fully dry before the move and, in most cases, you can safely keep them in boxes even for a few weeks. If the soil is wet, you’re risking root rot. Just make sure to insulate them from cold temperatures and keep the boxes closed so they are not exposed to direct sun.
Don’t water plants that can tolerate staying dry. Slightly water the other plants
For tropicals, give your plants enough water so the plants don’t dehydrate during the period in the box but they also shouldn’t drip. Since they will have no light, photosynthesis will be extremely low. If they were healthy before the move, they can survive a week or more inside a box with no light. However, if they were in less than perfect health or if they belong to species that are more sensitive, this could be a problem. In any case, try to get your tropicals in shape before the move so they can survive the trip as easily as possible.
Check my second video on how to move with plants:
Take Cuttings Of The Most Important Plants
In case you’re afraid some of your plants won’t make the trip, you can have a backup plan that will save them. You may feel like this especially if you’re not sure what the move will look like. Just take some cuttings of a few special plants before the move, so in case the worst happens, you can at least propagate them. ⠀
You could also take some of them with you in the car and make sure that way they survive.
What Is the Biggest Mistake I Can Make when Moving with Plants
Failing to make your plants stable and secure would be the biggest mistake you could make whether you’re moving to a neighboring town or to another state.
If you’re moving plants with a truck or a van, make sure your big plants are stable – you don’t want them falling over when the vehicle turns a corner.
Also, if you’re transporting other stuff with your plants, make sure the other stuff/boxes can’t move and fall onto the plants. Just make sure everything stays in place. You can either use elastic bands to tie objects up or fill up empty spaces in between items with soft bags that are flexible enough to snuggle in between and fill those empty spaces.
Making sure pots don’t break during transport by filling empty space with newspapers
Useful Tools For Moving With Plants
Tools that will be highly useful for moving with plants and make the move easier are listed below:
Additional Tips for Moving with Plants
Find the best solution to keep the pots from tipping over
Moving with plants means that unexpected things will happen. For example, somehow I always manage to spill soil. Covering plants with plastic wrap/saran wrap over the soil is one of the possible solutions but for me, that’s a lot of work. I would rather clean the vehicle than put plastic over more than 70 plants. If you have fewer plants, then this solution can totally work for you.
It’s not the end of the world if a few leaves or stems get damaged
If a few leaves or stems get broken, your plants will still be fine and survive; most plants will branch out from below the cut. Breaking a few leaves out of tens or hundreds of leaves will not really harm your plant as it will still keep plenty of leaves to photosynthesize. Besides, there is a way to fix a broken stem, if you react quickly.
Check the plants for pests before the move
Check plants for pests before the trip. If there are any pests on any of your plants, I would recommend treating them right away. Setting plants in boxes close to one another opens up a possibility for pests to spread to other plants. If you decide to apply insecticides, do so right away, before the move, and follow label instructions.
Yes, I packed my plants better than my other belongings 😊
Let Me Know If You Have More Questions About Safely Moving with Plants
Moving is an endeavor hard enough by itself, but moving with plants can be even tougher to manage. I hope these strategies will help you make sure your plants not only survive the big trip but stay happy and perky along the way.
If you have more questions on how to transfer and protect your houseplants to another apartment or cross-state, let me know. Schedule a consultation and make sure you can keep your plants happy and healthy during the move.