Moving with Plants: A Guide for Plant Parents

How to Move with Plants

Are you a proud plant parent who’s about to embark on a local or long-distance move? If the thought of moving with your beloved plants is causing you stress, worry not! We understand your concerns, and that’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide on how to move with plants. Whether you have small or tall plants, and regardless of the distance of your move, we have all the tips and tricks to help you prepare your plants for a smooth and successful relocation.

Preparing Your Plants for the Move: What You Need to Know

Familiarize Yourself with Regulations

Before you start planning your move, it’s crucial to be aware of the regulations regarding moving plants. The US Department of Agriculture and local authorities may have specific rules in place due to pest control and restrictions on certain plant species. These regulations vary from state to state and country to country, so make sure to do your research and understand the rules that apply to your destination. If a plant inspection is required, schedule an appointment with an authorized official well in advance of your move.

Pot, Prune, and Water

In the weeks leading up to moving day, it’s important to prepare your plants for the journey and their new home. Here are three essential steps:

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Approximately three weeks before your move, repot your plants into shatterproof containers of the same size. Ceramic pots can break during transportation, so switching to shatterproof plastic containers reduces the risk of damage. WindowBox offers a range of shatterproof, self-watering containers that are ideal for long journeys.


About a week before moving day, give your plants a good prune. Remove any dead or overgrown branches or stems using pruning shears or kitchen scissors. For slender branches, kitchen scissors will suffice, while thicker ones may require pruning shears. After pruning, don’t forget to deadhead the plant by removing spent flowers as close to the stem as possible.


Two days before moving day, make sure to water your plants. The soil should be moist but not wet during the move. Be careful not to overwater, as excess water can lead to freezing in cold weather or encourage fungus growth in warmer conditions.

During the Move: Packing Your Plants

The way you pack your plants will depend on whether you’re entrusting movers or handling the transportation yourself. Many moving companies, including Gentle Giant, do not transport plants due to their sensitivity to climate changes and the inability to guarantee their health. Here are some packing tips:

Small Plants

For smaller plants, wrap the container and tape cardboard over the soil to prevent spills. Pack the containers tightly in a well-taped, sturdy box, using packing paper or newspaper to fill any gaps. If possible, leave the lid off to allow the plants to breathe. If the box needs to be covered, poke holes in the top for airflow. Place these boxes on top of others during the drive, ensuring the plants are exposed to air conditioning in warm weather and protected from extreme cold.

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If your moving company agrees to transport your plants, consider padding delicate plants with shredded newspaper or tissue. Label the boxes with “fragile,” “live plant,” and “This End Up” stickers to ensure careful handling. Alternatively, shipping services from SPS, UPS, and FedEx are suitable for smaller, sturdier plants. To prepare plants for shipping, remove them from their pots, wrap the roots in a wet towel, cover them with plastic, and secure with tape or a rubber band. Place the plants in padded boxes, using ample newspaper and bubble wrap for protection. Clearly label the boxes before shipping.

Larger Plants

For taller plants, wrap the pots and pack them compactly in a box. It’s important to note that taller plants may tilt during the journey, so be prepared to replant them once you arrive at your new home. If your plant has long branches or stems, bind them together with twine to keep them compact during transit.

Settling In: Post-Move Plant Placement

Upon arrival at your new home, unpack your plants first so they can return to their previous living conditions as soon as possible. When repotting, use containers that are the same size as before the move. Allow your plants to acclimate to their new environment before moving them again, as moving them too soon can cause breakage. In the event of “transplant shock,” give your plant a couple of days to recover. Seek plant parenting advice from trusted sources like Miraclegro or @houseplantjournal on Instagram if your plant’s condition worsens.

Moving can be stressful, but with professional movers like Gentle Giant, you can alleviate some of the burden. Check out our moving checklist for more information on how to prepare for your move, and use our free move estimate tool to determine the cost. Visit our website Ames Farm Center to learn more about our locations and the wide range of moving services we offer, including packing, storage, piano moving, and more.

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Remember, moving with plants doesn’t have to be daunting. With the right preparation and care, your plant babies will thrive in their new home!