What Should I Do with My Plants When I Move?

Moving with plants is tricky. The emotional attachment that comes with cultivating plants is natural, especially when you’ve spent hours in your garden. Unfortunately, many moving companies are reluctant when it comes to moving your plants. Plants are sensitive and can negatively react to changes in habitat.  Because of their sensitivity, movers do not want to be liable.

What can you do to keep your plants alive during your move? We understand after months and even years of cultivation how important your plants are to you. As you get ready to move to your new home with FMS, use these tips from our team to move your houseplants with ease.

Before you move your plants

Sudden changes to the environment can shock a plant. Take these small steps before your move to get your plants ready for a long journey.

3-4 weeks before moving:

Move your plants into durable, plastic pots. Flimsy fabric pots have excellent breathability but will not protect the roots from damage.

2-3 weeks before moving:

Defoliate any dead leaves, branches, and flowers to keep your plant compact. Trimming your plants down will make transportation easier. Don’t worry about your plant. Defoliation done right promotes plant growth. We suggest not pruning cactuses and ferns.

1 week before moving:

Check your plants for pests. If you apply insecticides, look for natural and organic alternatives. Additionally, layering your soil with silica will kill most pests deep in your soil.

Days before moving:

Water your plants with nutrients and foliar feed them the night before with a kelp-based feed.


How to Pack Your Plants for Moving Day

Packing your plants properly is necessary for their survival. Moving can cause items to shift and move unexpectedly. Make sure your plants are ready for anything that can happen during your move.


Cover large plants with a breathable bed sheet and get in between the branches to prevent breaking.


Place each pot in a snug container. We have boxes available in many sizes.


Place packing peanuts or similar objects around the base of your plant to hold the pot in place. Don’t forget to make holes in the sides of the box and leave the lid open so your plants can breathe.


Mark the top and sides of the box. Make sure you know exactly where your plants are during your move.


Keep the climate in your vehicle at a comfortable level. Changes in the environment can shock your plant.

Unpacking your plants

As soon as you get to your location, you need to unpack your plants and move them to their new home. Locate a place where you think they will thrive and start unpacking!


Start by removing the plants through the bottom of the container if possible. You prevent damaging the plant by handling it from the base.


Place plants back in environments that are similar to their last home.


Feed and water your plants. A little all-purpose fertilizer can go a long way.


Depending on the plant, healing can take some time. Don’t fret if your plants are sad. Just remember, you are also going through a lot of changes from this move. Any change takes time to adopt.

With careful attention and planning, your plants will make a successful recovery.


Other things to consider when moving your plant


Gypsy Moths

Are you coming from Michigan or another state infected by gypsy moths? The USDA will require you to have a certificate of inspection when you move from a gypsy moth-infested state. The inspection process applies to any outdoor plants that can carry the gypsy moth. You can hire a USDA-certified pesticide applicator to inspect your plants or do it yourself. Your (agent) will keep the certificate during your Move and have it ready.

Transportation State Restrictions

States like California, Arizona, and Florida place heavy restrictions on the transport of certain plants. Confirm with your state if you’re capable of moving your plants to your new home. You can contact your state’s department of natural resources to learn more.

Transplanting in Sterilized Potting Soil

Are you growing your plants indoors after you move? Most states require your plants to be in sterilized potting soil. You can find sterilized soil in the majority of local lawn and garden stores. Additionally, you can find the right soil for your plant type and sterilize before you move!

Take a Cutting from your Plant

If taking the whole plant is not an option, snip a piece of your plant. You can root this cutting when you get to your new home. Before you move, wrap your cuttings in moist paper towels and place them in opened bags. The majority of cuttings will last Cuttings offer an alternative to moving your plants. Wrap the cuttings in wet moss and newspaper and place them in unsealed bags. Place the bags in a carton and fill in them with light packing material. Cuttings can survive several days of travel and take root when potted at your new home.


Last-Minute Tips for Moving Plants

  • Make sure your plants can travel with you. Some states and countries require inspections for plants. Some places restrict types of plants that enter the vicinity. You risk having to pay fines if you move a restricted plant.
  • Secure your plants from the base and up. Sudden movements on the road can cause your plants to tip over. Check out our affordable packing supplies that can fit a variety of plants.
  • Wait until moving day before packing, keeping them in your vehicle before move day is not a good idea!
  • Make sure your plants are in a comfortable climate. Excess heat and light can cause your plants to use up nutrients quickly. Cold weather can freeze the cells in a plant, ultimately disrupting a plant’s processes.
  • Water your plants only if the soil is dry and the leaves are wilting. Waiting until you get home can save your plant from possible fungal problems.
  • If you travel for an extended period, expose your plants to light and air.

Need help moving any other items? We’ll help you move anywhere you want! As an agent for National Van Lines, we will help you move just about anything, anywhere.

If you’re looking to temporarily store some items, we can also help!