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Plant Moving Guide

How to care for plants while moving.

If you carefully following these tips on moving plants, your house plants will be able to travel for up to three days before needing attention.

Plants prepared for plant transport

Before your move

Follow these steps to condition your plants for moving so they can endure changes to their environment without wilting or breaking:

  • Three weeks before moving day. Re-pot plants from clay pots into shatter-proof plastic pots of the same size.
  • Two weeks before moving day. Prune larger plants by pinching back newer growth with your thumb and forefinger and removing dead leaves, limbs, and flowers with sharp scissors or gardening shears. Pruning will make the plants compact for easy handling and transport. It will also yield healthy, bushy, attractive plants after your move. Do not prune ferns and succulents (e.g., cactus, jade plants, aloe).
  • One week before moving day. Check plants for insects and parasites. If you apply insecticides, exercise caution and follow label directions. Pesticides are included on our list of non-allowable items, so have a plan for giving away or disposing of any pesticides before moving.
  • Two days before moving day. Water your plants normally, taking care to not overwater. Too much water can cause plants to freeze in cold weather or promote fungus growth in warm weather.

Moving day

Prepare by packing your plants the night before or the morning of your move. Here’s how to pack plants for moving:

  • Wrap. Wrap large plants with an old bed sheet or tissue paper to prevent branches from breaking.
  • Position. Place each pot in a box so it fits snugly at the bottom. You may use regular moving boxes, like dish packs, available from your Atlas Agent.
  • Pack. If necessary, pack paper in the box around the base of the pot to hold the pot in place. Punch air holes in the sides of the box and loosely fasten the lid so plants can breathe.
  • Label. Set the boxes upright and clearly mark the top and sides. This will help avoid loading them by mistake into the moving truck.
  • Control. Keep the temperature in your vehicle at a comfortable level. Cold and hot temperatures can harm your plants.

Once you’re home

Once you’re in your new home, it’s important to get your plants back in the same condition they were in at your previous home. Here’s how:

  • Unpack. Unpack your plants as soon as possible. Remove plants through the bottom of the box to prevent breakage.
  • Place. Place plants back in pots that are the same size as the ones before you moved.
  • Stabilize. Refrain from moving plants around until they become acclimated.
  • Heal. If your plant suffers from transplant shock after your move, give it a few days to recover. If your plant still looks unhealthy, follow our tips in "Common household plants and how to care for them."

Remove plants through the bottom of the box to avoid breaking leaves and branches.

With your planning and careful attention, your plants will make a successful move. Like you, they'll be ready to flourish in their new home.


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