Tips On Relocating Plants

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Tips On Relocating Plants
Perhaps you are planning a move right now, or are about to begin the planning process. You look around you. You see so many carefully cultivated, vibrantly green and thriving houseplants, porch plants and patio plants. All are coming with you, but will they still be in such fine form on the other side of your move?

This is a common and understandable concern that many of our moving clients express. After all, plants, like people, sometimes have a period of adjustment at the end of a big move. As well, certain plant species tend to be especially move-intolerant and may fail to thrive if their requirements are not met at each step of the way.

In this article, we offer expert tips on how to move with plants, including moving with large plants and small plants and moving with plants in winter and summer.

Moving House with Plants Interstate

Many of our interstate moving clients do not realize that some plants are not permitted to cross state lines. There are various reasons for this. Two of the most common reasons include pests and invasive species.


For example, many states along the northeast coastline have been infested with a particularly pernicious parasite, the gypsy moth. Adjoining states often restrict transportation of plants out of these states to other areas to try to control the infestation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a helpful moving guide for those affected by interstate pest restrictions.

You may or may not be inspected by a USDA official during your move, but taking the time to complete the USDA checklist and provide it to us before your move will greatly expedite the move process!

Invasive species

Each state maintains an updated list of invasive plant and pest species on the National Plant Board database. These state-specific lists include current pests and plant species that are disallowed or restricted when moving to that state.

These lists include points of contact if you have questions and precise shipping instructions for allowed species.

What To Do With Plants When Moving

Once you have verified that your plants are permitted to come along on your move and that they are pest-free, it is time to get them ready for their big move.

The real key to successfully moving your prized plants is to start getting them ready as early as possible – ideally at least three weeks before your scheduled move date.

Here is what we recommend for moving house with plants:

Three weeks out

Transfer your plants from breakable pots to same-size crack-proof plastic pots. When moving with plants in winter, do your best to keep them on the dry side so they won’t freeze in transit.

Two weeks out

Do your best to prune each plant into a healthy but compact shape. However, only prune plants that will respond well (i.e. avoid pruning succulents, which typically don’t need it anyway). Again, keep watering on your usual schedule.

One week out

It is time to inspect each plant for pests. If you need to apply any insecticide, pesticide or herbicide, do it now and then donate the unused quantities to a friend or neighbor or plan to transport it in your own vehicle.

NOTE: Professional moving companies maintain a list of items they will not move, either for safety or legality reasons. Here is a good generic list of such items for your planning purposes, but be sure to ask your moving company for their specific list.

Two days out

Give your plants that need it just the bare minimum of water to make it through the move. If you water them too much, changing temperatures or climates can cause freezing or fungus growth.

One day out

Even the hardiest plants can be surprisingly susceptible to damage and breakage once your move begins. So you want to do your utmost to protect each plant with some exterior insulation.

When moving with large plants or indoor trees, you may be able to use a large rectangular clothing box to fit all or most of the plant inside. But first, gently wrap the plant in a light sheet or some loosely wrapped and taped packing paper, then insert them into the box. Punch holes in the sides and gently seal the top (if you can). Clearly label the outsides of the box with the words “LIVE PLANTS.”

For smaller houseplants that are potted, you can often use a standard cardboard packing box. Punch some holes in the sides and top for airflow. Insert as many plants as can fit comfortably inside without undue crowding. Use a sheet or packing paper to bolster each pot so they don’t fall over on each other. Gently seal the top and clearly mark the outsides with the words “LIVE PLANTS.”

Be sure to keep these boxed plants in a temperature-controlled place, especially if you are preparing them for your move the night before.

Transporting Your Plants During Your Move

One of the big questions to answer about what to do with plants when moving is whether to transport them in your own vehicle or send them along with your movers in the truck.

If you have the space and ability, transporting your plants separately in your own vehicle can be safer and more protective for them.

Caring for Plants After Your Move

A big success factor when learning how to move with plants is knowing what to do once you arrive.

Always remove your plants through the bottom of the box they are packed in. Be gentle and careful as you lift off the box to avoid damaging the leaves.

As soon as possible, remove each plant from the plastic moving pots and repot them in their original pots. Give any overly dry plants some water and place them in a warmish, dry area of the house with filtered light where they can recover and stabilize.

Avoid moving them further until each plant has fully recovered from the move process.

About Prime Texas Movers

We are your one-stop moving resource for Texas state and nationwide moves. Unlike many professional moving companies, we are happy to help you with packing and moving your precious houseplants to your new home.

Our knowledgable, courteous and prompt moving specialists can help you coordinate your move of any size and keep your plants safe while in transit. Complete this short, fast online form to generate your free moving quote (enter URL here).