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August 7, 2017

Moving Your Plants Safely and Successfully

  • Move Management
  • Tips and tricks
While most things you own can be safely placed inside boxes and protected during the journey from you old home to your new one, there are some important exceptions to consider. Your plants definitely fall into that category. Whether sturdy succulents or fragile flowers, the stresses of moving can have a number of serious, negative impacts on the plants you've spent lots of time and effort nurturing into their current forms.

How can you make sure your plants make the journey unscathed? Take the following advice to keep your plants as healthy and happy as possible during your move:

Prepare your plants early on

"Effective and safe transportation of plants starts with preparation."

Effective and safe transportation of plants starts with preparation weeks before the day of the move. Because plants grow and adapt to new circumstances and environments very slowly, care should be taken to spread out the following steps and stick to the timeline:
  • Three weeks before the move: Re-pot your plants in plastic, to avoid clay or other materials breaking in transit.
  • Two weeks before the move: Gently prune plants, except ferns and succulents, to make them easier to transport.
  • One week before the move: Check plants for any parasites or other bugs, and take steps to remove them if found.
  • Two days before the move: Water your plants as your normally would.
  • One day before the move: Pack your plants into boxes so the pot fits snugly at the bottom and consider using tissue paper to stabilize them. Wrap larger plants in old bed sheets or tissue paper to avoid damage. Poke holes in the boxes and loosely seal them so your plants can breathe.

Perhaps most importantly, it's crucial to label the boxes containing plants so they don't get brought onto the truck by your movers. That environment - sealed, often warm, no sunlight - can quickly cause damage to plants. You need to plan ahead and make space in your car, outside of an enclosed trunk, to transport your plants.

Check out our plant transportation guide to learn more about safe transportation, including how to set up your plants for success at your new home.

Clearing legal and regulatory hurdles

It's not immediately obvious to many people that some states restrict the movement of foreign plants across their borders and most require the use of sterilized potting soil for new arrivals. Additionally, the federal government requires an inspection of outdoor items, including plants, when an interstate move is made from a state with a gypsy moth infestation to one without.

Gypsy moth inspections are a relatively simple affair. While the review is required by the United States Department of Agriculture, you can conduct it yourself. The USDA has more information about how to properly conduct an inspection and remove gypsy moth eggs on its website.

Using sterilized potting soil ahead of an interstate move is as simple as making a trip to your local lawn and garden retailer. Dealing with state-specific restrictions on bringing in outside plants means you need to visit your new state's department of natural resources website or give them a call.

Moving with plants means a little extra work, but it's worth it to keep them with you in your new home. Want to learn more? Check out our in-depth guide to successfully moving with plants.