How to pack your plants so professional movers don’t damage them

When you move with plants, one of the most exciting parts is getting to set them up in a new space! You get to find the perfect window, the perfect arrangement, and the perfect amount of light for all your blooms to live their happiest lives.

However, if you haven’t moved before, or if this is your first time moving a long distance, you may not know how to pack plants for moving the proper way. Since packing plants is such a delicate task, it’s imperative that it’s done right. We’re here to help with a simple guide to plant-packing that will ensure all your houseplants arrive in one piece.

A person repotting a plant

Prepping your plants for the move

Whether you’re driving your plants to your new home yourself or hiring movers to do the job, there are some basic precautions you can take to ensure your plants arrive safe and sound. As you plan, keep in mind that regulations regarding moving plants will vary from state to state and country to country. Follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines to help limit and prevent the spread of harmful insects and pests attached to foreign plants.

Choose the right pots

Three weeks before moving day, repot your plants into shatterproof containers so that they have time to get acclimated to the new pot before being moved. Shatterproof containers will help ensure that any bumps or sudden movements won’t break anything, slice into the roots of your plant, or harm the soil.

If you’re packing your plants to have movers shuffle them around for you, you’ll want to make sure you repot each of your plants. However, if you’re going to move your plants in your own car, you can decide whether the risk is enough to repot them or if you’re confident that you’ll drive safely enough to protect them.

Prune carefully

If you’re worried about how much space some of your more luscious, leafier plants will take up, prune them back two weeks before the move. Repotting and pruning two to three weeks before will give your plants some time to settle and decrease the risk of experiencing shock when moved to a new environment.

Water well

Plants should be watered normally until two days before the move. After the move, wait to water your plants until after they’re in their new environment. If the soil is too wet while moving, it could freeze or provide a good environment for fungus, depending on what time of the year you’re moving.

A pair of hands holding a plant
Anna Shvets/Pexels

Packing your plants

When the time comes, how you pack your plants will largely depend on whether you’re transporting them yourself or having movers do the job. If you’re planning to take plants in your own car, you may find that it’s easy enough to just put small ones in an open box, set larger ones upright on the floor, and be on your way; however, if you’re packing the plants for professionals to move, there are some tips you’ll want to consider.

Choose a box that can comfortably fit your plants and tape up the bottoms so there’s minimal risk of them falling through. Secure plastic bags over the pots to help prevent the soil from spilling, and then place them in the box. The empty space between the pots should be filled with packing material like newspaper, extra plastic bags or bubble wrap. Seal the box, put a few holes in it for air flow, and clearly label the outside so anyone who handles the box knows to be careful with the contents.

A large houseplant sitting on the floor
Daria Shevtsova/Pexels

Moving larger plants

If a plant is too big to move in a box, taking a cutting might be the happy medium between going without your plant entirely, or risking the safety of your plant and your other belongings. Before you decide to go this route, double-check to make sure the plant can be regrown from a cutting before taking one. If it can, use a clean pair of pruners or scissors to cut a healthy piece of plant the morning of your move. Be sure it’s part of the plant that can specifically be regrown, as not all plants propagate the same way.

Transporting the cutting itself is simple. Wrap it in a damp paper towel and secure it in a baggie or container so that it stays closed through the move. Be sure to keep the paper towel moist throughout the move and propagate the cutting as soon as possible after arriving at your new home.

Moving is a massive undertaking that can present many challenges to you and to your plants. By following our tips, you can safely relocate your plants from their old home to their new one without worry.

Editors' Recommendations