What to Know About Moving Plants to a New Home, According to Pros

moving plants

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Moving can be stressful.for people and their houseplants. However, if you are moving houses or apartments and you want to bring your plants with you — and have them survive — there are a few things you can do to make the move easier.

We spoke to a couple of experts to find out what you should know about moving plants to a new home.

Meet the Expert

  • Raffaele Di Lallo runs the house plant blog Ohio Tropics and is the author of Houseplant Warrior.
  • Nick Cutsumpas (Farmer Nick) is a full-time plant coach, urban gardener, and landscape designer. 

Note the Conditions of Your Space Before Leaving

“Plants can get attached to their current environmental conditions, especially if they’ve been growing there for multiple years,” says Nick Cutsumpas, also known as Farmer Nick, who notes that transplant shock for houseplants can be a real problem.

Before you move, take note of what kind of light the plants have been growing in, the humidity and temperature of your home, and your watering schedule. It will be a lot easier to sort your plant out once you’ve moved if you can replicate the conditions they’re used to.

Check for Pests Before You Move

The time to check for pests is when you’re starting to pack them up, not when you get to your new home. You don’t want to bring an infestation into your new space and deal with that stress.

Plus, a lot of the time when you pack your plants for a move, you group them together, giving pests the perfect chance to spread around.

“Check the undersides of the foliage, the stems, and every nook and cranny as pests can hide everywhere,” says Raffaele Di Lallo of Ohio Tropics. “And remember that all insects have a life cycle, so even if you can't see any bugs, it doesn't mean that there aren't any. They may still appear over time.”

If you do find that one of your plants has pests, clean the pests off as much as you can, treat it with insecticide, and quarantine it for a few weeks. 

Place Plants in Similar Light Conditions

If you’re lucky enough to move somewhere that has windows facing the same way as your old home, try to put your plants in their same locations.

“If the plant was in front of an east-facing window, don’t force it to grow in a north facing window,” says Custumpas.

It’s important to try and replicate previous conditions to minimize the stress you’re putting on your plant to adjust. However, this isn’t always possible, and you may notice some changes to your plant.

“Oftentimes, when plants are moved from high light to lower light, they'll respond by developing some yellow leaves because the plant can't sustain as much foliage in lower light,” says Di Lallo. “It is simply adjusting to its new environment, so this is normal.”

Replicate the Humidity and Temperature

Along with light conditions, you should also try to replicate the humidity and temperature of your old space. It can be hard to do that, but if you need to increase humidity, get a humidifier or make a pebble tray. If your new home is a bit draftier, insulate as best you can, add vent covers to redirect the blowing AC or heat, or just move your plant elsewhere.

Keep Your Routine 'Consistent but Flexible'

The key to ensuring your plants will thrive is to make sure you’re caring for them the right way for the conditions they are in.

“Keep your routine consistent but flexible,” says Cutsumpas. “Take a week or two to observe how your plant is behaving with your regularly scheduled plant care routine.”

Cutsumpas notes that a small amount of stress or some leaf yellowing is normal, and the plant will just need time to recover.

Your plant may not dry out at the same rate as it did in your previous home. Try using a moisture meter to make sure you’re not overwatering. It may take some time and growing pains, but your plant will get used to its new home.