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3 Tips for Relocating Houseplants When Moving

When relocating houseplants to a new home, ensuring their safe journey becomes a top priority for plant enthusiasts. Navigating the delicate process of moving green companions requires a thoughtful approach and strategic planning. In this article, we’ll explore essential tips to safeguard your beloved houseplants during the transition, ensuring they thrive in their new environment.

3 Tips for Relocating Houseplants When Moving

Recommendations of How to Safely Move Houseplants to Your New Home

1. Research State Guidelines

Research State Guidelines
The National Plant Board

If you’re moving within the same state, you won’t have to worry about this step. But for anyone moving out of state, it is essential to know the regulations where you are moving to and the states you’ll be passing through.

Many states have regulations to protect local vegetation. Transporting your Floridian plants across the country to California could expose other plants along your route and at your final destination to diseases and insects they have no natural defenses against. You can access regulations for every state at The National Plant Board website.

2. Prepare Your Plants for the Move

Preparing houseplants for relocation is an important step to keeping the plants alive and well during the move. Prune, inspect, and water your plants before leaving. Put in new soil, and consider using plastic pots rather than clay or ceramic, which could break during transport.

Short Distance Moves

Pack your plants in the car in boxes or secure them in the trunk for short-distance moves. If you’re transporting them inside the car, cover them to keep them from getting too much sunlight. If the drive takes more than one day, you should bring your plants into your hotel room at night. Ensure they have adequate water before you depart, and pack them with absorbent paper to ensure they do not leak in the car.

Prepare Your Plants for the Move

Long Distance Moves

The TSA allows plants to be checked or carried on to make a move to a new state, but you should check with your airline before planning to move them this way. If you are driving, you can pack them as you would for a short-distance move. Consider securing them in the trunk if you’re worried about them tipping over. Otherwise, keeping them in the car with you may be best since the travel temperature can be better controlled. Water before leaving, and top off as necessary along the drive. 

Consider Cohabiting Plants and Animals

If you are moving in with someone, consider any plants and pets they currently have. Many plants are toxic to cats, dogs (and children), and others don’t play well with other houseplants. Garden plants are likelier to have pests than houseplants, but it’s a good idea to treat them with an all-natural insecticide and fungicide, like Neem oil, to prevent passing pests and diseases between your houseplants and your new roommate’s.

Temperatures at Transfer

Houseplants are less susceptible than outdoor varieties to changes in climate and temperature, as these elements can be controlled, but altitude and humidity can have an impact. Unpack your plants immediately so they can adjust to their new location. Water them upon arrival and keep them in the same pots they traveled in for the first few weeks.

3. Pack Plants Properly

Pack your plants in appropriate boxes, insulate them as needed, and consider selling or shipping them if you don’t think they can safely travel the distance. 

Pack Plants Properly

Pack Pots with Moss

Taller plants can be challenging to transport. Make things easier by packing the tops of the pots with sphagnum moss, wrapping them in plastic, and tying off the top. This allows you to tip the plants on their side without spilling all the potting soil. Ensure you water well in advance if you are transporting your plants this way so they don’t leak.

Use Boxes

Boxes will keep your plants upright and secure while traveling in the car. Use cardboard because it breathes better than plastic, and ensure you reinforce your boxes with tape before packing your plants. Consider lining the boxes with plastic bags to avoid leaking. If you have a lot of plants, label your boxes so you remember which plants are in each box once you arrive and unpack. Consider including care instructions if your move is long-distance or your plants are high maintenance. You can leave the boxes open for short moves, but you should cover or close them for longer ones and label them with the correct orientation.

Treat Plants Like Pets

Like pets, plants are fickle travel companions. Ensure they don’t get too hot or too cold in the car. Keep them covered to protect them from the sun and provide adequate water. They also need sufficient airflow. Cardboard boxes work best, but consider adding ventilation holes if you’re traveling longer distances.

Consider Shipping or Selling

If you can’t drive or fly with your plants, consider using a shipping service, having a plant sale, or gifting your plants to friends and family members. Shipping may be the best option if you are moving with large plants. USPS, UPS, and FedEx all ship plants, but check with each in advance to learn their limitations and rules. Some local moving companies will transport houseplants for you; verify with them in advance and plan accordingly. If you’re moving long distances, pick a few favorites to bring with you. Sell or gift the rest to people near your old address.

Insulate in Inclement Weather

If you are moving in the winter, wrap newspapers around your plants before packing them in the car, transporting them to the airport, or in a moving van. Exposure to cold can severely damage or kill your houseplants. If the home you’re departing from has a garage, load your plants into the car while it is still inside to protect them from the elements.