Moving Plants: A How-to Guide

You’ve worked hard to keep your houseplants alive, but now it’s time to move. Depending on your destination, moving plants to your new home may require some work — but don’t give up on them! Whether you’re looking to transport an array of succulents or a large palm, we’ve got you covered on how to move plants. Read on to learn how to care for your plants before, during, and after your move.

Preparing to Move Your Plants

Check state laws

If you’re preparing to move across state borders, there’s a chance you’ll have to find a new home for your houseplants. Some states prohibit certain plants to prevent the spread of pests and diseases. Other states may ask that you present a certificate of inspection for your plants. Don’t forget to check on the internet. If you can’t bring your beloved plants with you to your new place, don’t throw them away! There are a few alternate options:

  • Give your plants to friends or family
    Surely there’s someone in your network who would be more than happy to take your plants off your hands. Reach out to friends and family to see if anyone’s looking for some new greenery in their lives. If you’re struggling to find any takers, you can always offer up your plants on one of your social media accounts.
  • Contact local facilities
    If friends and family can’t take your houseplants, try donating them to places in your community. A local school, library, municipal building, or nursing facility may be interested.
  • List your plants online
    These days, there’s a website for everything — including one where you can donate and swap plants! On, creating an account is simple. Once you’ve filled in some profile information, you can list your plants with an “available for free” label.

  • Leave your plants on the curb
    We’re not talking about throwing them away! If you have to part ways with your houseplants, you can always leave them on the curb with a “free” sign. You’re bound to make someone’s day and find a new home for your plants in no time!

Prep your plants

If state laws permit you to move plants to your new home, you’re going to want to condition them for the move. This is particularly important if you’re moving a long ditance. Before learning how to move plants, take a look at how to care for them.

  • Water accordingly
    You don’t want to over-water your plants, as they will be heavy and drip water all over your car. On the other hand, you don’t want to under-water your plants or they may not make it to their new destination alive. For best results, water your plants a couple of days before your move. When moving plants during the summer, you’ll want to water them a little closer to your move. In the winter, you can hold off on watering them for a few days pre-move.
  • Prune dead leaves
    It’s good practice to prune your plants, especially when preparing for a move. Pruning spans beyond making your plants look good — it promotes healthy plant growth. Since moving plants can result in some damage, it’s key that they’re in the best shape possible before the big move.
  • Remove any insects
    You’ll definitely want to make sure your plants are bug-free before moving them into your new home. Doing so will keep them healthy on the journey to your new place, increasing their chance of survival.
  • Repot in plastic
    Moving plants in plastic will make them easier to carry (your body will thank you later). A disposable material also prevents the potential breakage of ceramic pots. Whichever material you end up choosing, you should repot your plants a few weeks before your move. This will give them time to adjust.

During Your Move

When it comes time to move, you have a couple of options for how to move plants. Unfortunately, most moving companies won’t transport plants since they want to avoid bringing pests or diseases across state lines. Still, you have a few alternatives. Think about what works best for you and your moving budget.

Moving plants yourself

Moving plants in your own car or rental truck requires some strategy but is doable. The key is to keep your plants secure while making sure they have enough oxygen to breathe. It’s best to avoid packing plants in your trunk, as the airflow is limited. Contrarily, you don’t want to pack your plants in a pickup truck, as the wind will get the best of your plants. If you do have to transport your plants in an open vehicle, place a sheet over them to prevent damage.

Regardless of where you choose to pack your plants, we suggest loading them last. This will help cut down on their car-time as much as possible. Depending on the size of your houseplants, we have varied suggestions on how to move plants:

  • Small plants
    if your plants are particularly tiny, cardboard boxes with dividers are a great way to keep them in place. For lots of little plants, wine glass boxes are a great choice. If you have slightly larger plants, you can simply nestle them in a box with some newsprint. Be sure to keep the box open to let the plants breathe. If you have to shut it, do so loosely and poke some holes in the box to let air inside.
  • Large plants
    If your plants are too big to fit in standard boxes, you can place the base of the plant in a trash bag to avoid soil spillage. To prevent the plant from shifting around, wrap the base in an old sheet or towel. For extra security, you may want to buckle up your plants or fasten them with a bungee cord. Depending on the length of your journey, taller plants might end up tilted or uprooted. If this occurs, simply replant them once you get to your new home.

Don’t waste money buying boxes for your plants! There are plenty of places where you can find free moving boxes if you know where to look.

Moving plants via mail

If you want to know how to move plants long-distance, it’s worth looking into shipping your plants. Shipping is a better option for sturdier plants like succulents, as the risk for damage can be high. When choosing a shipping company, try to determine who will ship your plants quickly and safely. Swing by your local post office.

If you’re shipping potted plants in the mail, you’ll want to wrap the pot in bubble wrap. For extra protection, place a sleeve of cardboard around the bottom of the plant. To keep the soil in place, put the base in a plastic bag.

When looking for the right box for moving plants, pick a sturdy one that can withstand a fair amount of wear. You’ll want the box to be only slightly larger than the plant itself to prevent it from shifting around. If there is extra space, fill it with newsprint or old linens. You can also stick a “fragile” or “live plant” label on the box to encourage those handling it to treat it more gently.

Settling In

Give your plants time to adjust

It’s totally normal for your houseplants to experience some wilting after your move. If there is any serious damage, go ahead and remove the dead foliage. Otherwise, continue to water them properly and provide supplemental light if necessary. Soon enough, your houseplants should adapt to their new environment.

We hope we’ve given you the tools on how to move plants safely to your new home. If your houseplants sustained some damage from the journey, don’t give up hope just yet! There are several solutions for bringing your plants back to life. Your plants should be thriving once again in no time. Happy Moving!