How to Move Your Plants Safely


Moving your favorite houseplants to your new home requires planning and preparation

Moving house plants along with your belongings can be a seamless part of your relocation process. Just because you’re moving doesn’t mean you can’t bring along your favorite house plants.

Your plants are a special part of your home, and they’re good for your health. They help provide cleaner air, boost your mood, enhance concentration and memory and can even lower your risk for certain illnesses. So, it’s only natural to want to take your houseplants with you when you relocate.

Something you may not know is that moving companies are often prohibited from transporting live houseplants across state lines. Moving live plants is regulated by the USDA and the National Plant Board. Read more about these regulations here.

We have some expert advice and tips so you can pack and take the plants yourself to your new home.  Follow this schedule and advice and you’ll be moving house plants to your new home like a pro:

Two Months from Move Date

First, check that your specific plants can cross state lines. Many states (and countries) require inspections for plants and have restrictions about the types of plants that can be brought within their borders. A good place to start is your destination state’s department of agriculture and consumer services. Other helpful resources may include the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Plant Board (NPB).

One Month from Move Date

Learning how to pack plants for moving can help secure the health of your plants by the time they arrive at their destination. Plants that are in clay pots need to be moved into plastic containers that are the same size as the original clay pot. If the plastic container is not the same size, the plant’s root system can become “strangled” and die quickly. Lastly, this step also helps lower the risk of your pots breaking during the move.

Two Weeks from Move Date

Prune larger plants to maintain the health of the plant during transport — plus, it’s easier to move more compact plants. The only exception is succulents like aloe or Jade plants and cactus plants. Do not prune succulents or cactuses; they do not respond well and you could accidentally damage them.

One Week from Move Date

Thoroughly check plants to ensure that there are no insects or parasites living on them.  If you find pests, address this quickly by visiting a garden center for remedies. In addition, pests can harm your plants and could keep you from being able to transport them into a new state.

Two Days before Move

Water your plants, but don’t overwater. In winter months, overwatering can lead to plants freezing. In warmer months, overwatering can lead to fungus growth.  Plus, from a practical standpoint, you don’t want muddy plants when you are ready to move them! That can make a serious mess in your car.

Moving Day

Plants should be packed either the night before or the morning of moving day. When possible, avoid placing plants in the trunk of your car. If being stored for an extended period of time, plants should be placed in areas that avoid direct sunlight. If traveling three or more days, plants will need to be watered and exposed briefly to sunlight. Furthermore, when making stops, if plants are packed in the car, crack the windows to allow fresh air in.

With proper planning and preparation, moving houseplants to your new home is easy.  And if all of this just seems like too much work, your plants may find a wonderful new home with your immediate neighbors or friends or even at a local community center. 

Finally, when you’re ready to move, Interstate is here to help. We have decades of experience helping families just like yours.  We’d love to hear from you!

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