Moving Household and Garden Plants

Houseplants on top of moving boxes and radiator

The Spruce / Valerie de León

Nothing makes a home feel more welcoming, warm and alive than houseplants. And if you're like us, your plants are part of the family; a member you can't part with very easily and that you need to move with you.

Just like your fragile antiques and furniture, moving plants need special attention. Take some time to consider if it's best to move your plants or if you don't think they'll survive, then make sure you find a good home.

When You Can't Take Your Plants with You

If you're moving from state to state or from one country to another, sometimes your plants aren't allowed to move with you. Before you take plants with you, find out what species are allowed into your new state or country before you attempt to smuggle them in unknowingly. It would be terrible to leave your beautiful darlings with the border guard who may or may not possess a green thumb.

Plants and Hired Movers

If you've hired movers, they will not cover damage to plants. Plants are too fragile and are likely to suffer from the move. Some moving companies will not even allow plants on their trucks. Ask before you move if the company has any rules on plants.

Moving Plants Yourself

One option is to move the plants yourself. Get some sturdy boxes, line them with plastic and place your plant inside. Stuff bubble wrap or foam cushioning between the pot and the box to make sure your plant doesn't shift or tip during the move. Put them in the back seat of your car, with taller plants positioned on the floor. This will give you some comfort knowing you can keep an eye on them. Just make sure if you have to spend a night in a motel, that you check the weather. Cold temperatures can damage fragile plants, so to be safe, move them indoors with you.

Tall plants should be bagged or wrapped in plastic to protect them from damage during the move. Fragile branches, stems, and flowers don't do well on trucks or being handled too much. Just make sure you poke some holes in the plastic to let your plants breathe.

Moving houseplants in a box in the backseat of a car

The Spruce / Valerie de León

How to Take Plants From Your Garden

If you want to take some of your outdoor plants with you, but don't want to deplete the new owner's garden, take some cuttings. Purchase some floral tubes, fill them with water, then cap them. This should ensure that your cuttings arrive ready for your new home and garden.

Basil garden plant cuttings in blue floral tubes with water closeup

The Spruce / Valerie de León

Help Your Plants Adjust After the Move

When your plants arrive at your new home, make sure you remove the plastic immediately, take them out of their boxes and give them some water and plant food. If you had transplanted them into plastic containers and you want to put them back into their original pots, make sure you wait a week before doing this. Moving plants is very hard on them. You don't want to over-stress them by changing their location, then re-potting them. This could result in stunted growth or even death.

If you've planned your move well, you should have time to re-pot your plants into plastic containers. Just remember that your plants need time to adjust to the new space—just like the rest of your family—and recuperate from re-potting, so do this a few weeks in advance of the move.

Observe any garden plants that you plant at your new home. The difference in soil, climate, and air quality will have an effect on their health, plus the shock of having been moved and replanted. Keep a watch on their progress and call in some local help if it looks like their not adjusting well.

Copper watering can pouring water over houseplant next to blue couch and books after move

The Spruce / Valerie de León