Prepare Your Houseplants For Moving

Moving can be stressful for everyone, and this goes for your plants, too.  Plants are sensitive to their environment, so the process of moving them actually starts long before moving day so that you can prepare them in stages for their new home.  Here’s a timeline to follow for getting your house plants ready for the big day:

A month before Moving Day

When you are a little under a month away from your big move, take the time to repot your plants that are in clay pots into pots made of strong plastic. Besides being lighter to carry, changing to plastic pots will help avoid broken pots during transport  which can cause a mess, but even more importantly, may result in the damage and even death of your plant. When you are choosing your plastic pot container, be sure to choose a pot of the same size as your old one. Changing the size of the pot can stress a plant, so be safe and stick with the same pot size.

This is also a good time to consider the new home environment. Is it darker? Lighter? Where will the plants be located?  If you know their light exposure will change, try to find a location in the old home similar to the new one, and let them begin to acclimate to the new lighting little by little. This will reduce the chances of a shock that can severely damage or kill a plant that finds itself suddenly in a completely different sunlight exposure situation.

Two Weeks Prior to Moving

At two weeks before your move, prune your plants so that they are a healthy size and shape for transport. Cut back no more than a quarter of the plant foliage, otherwise you may stress the plant beyond recovery. While you should never prune succulents or ferns (other than removal of dead fronds), most other plants will respond well to being carefully pruned. Pruning will make plants easier to pack and they will be in better shape to handle the jostling and crowding that may happen on move day. Not only that, they will grow back fuller and better looking for your new home!

The Week before the Move

During the week prior to your move, check plants for parasites and insects. Be sure to look under the leaves and in the stems for small pests, fungus or other abnormal looking materials. Carry out any treatment needed and make sure the pests are gone before you pack the plant for the move.  Some plants may not be salvageable, so admit it and discard the plant rather than bring a pest or plant disease into your new residence.

A Few Days before Your Move

Water your plants two or three days before the move. You want them to be moist, but not dripping wet, come move day. Moving is a busy time, so it is easy to forget about watering your plants, so make sure to prioritize this step as it will help them to better handle the move. Watering your plants is especially important if you are moving in the Las Vegas summer heat.

Moving Day

On moving day, wrap your plant in a sheet or wrapping paper to protect the foliage against breakage. Place the wrapped plants in a box that is a good fit and does not allow for excessive movement during transit.  Once your plants are in their respective boxes, be sure to punch holes in the sides of the boxes so that the plants can breathe properly. Mark the box “live plant” so that the movers will treat it as a fragile item.

If you will be moving long distance, most movers will not take the plants in the moving van. Plants simply can’t survive well for the many days they may be in complete darkness. In this case, it’s better to take the plants with you in your car. If you will be making a long drive through hot climates, take the time to stop every now and then in shaded areas so your plants can breathe without the danger of direct sun exposure. Don’t leave them in a closed car in the direct sun. Open the car windows enough to keep the air temperature in the car at a reasonable level, just like you would for a dog or cat. If you stay in a hotel, take the plant inside with you and open the box so it can breathe overnight.  If your trip is more than a couple of days, be sure to open the plant’s box during the day as it will require some exposure to sunlight.

In the New Home

Once you’re moved in, make your plants a priority (not like those books that won’t be unpacked for months). Unbox the plants carefully to avoid damage. Check to see if they need water.

Place them initially in locations that have similar light to their prior location.  Move them over the next week or so, if needed, to allow them to gradually adapt to a different light exposure environment. Keep a close eye on the plants for a couple of weeks to look for any stressful reactions to their new location, or to identify and repair any damage that may have occurred during the move.

With this plan in place, your plants will be in great shape and will look great in your new home.

Share this article