How to move with houseplants

How to move with houseplants

Moving day is stressful for everyone, including your houseplants! And if you’re like us, you’re probably emotionally attached to many of them. Maybe you received it for a special occasion, or maybe your love interest gave it to you years ago. Or perhaps you’ve nurtured a plant from one stem, and now it’s a huge, lush specimen.

But in order to survive successfully, your plants will need a little care. “Obviously plants in nature don’t move, so any change is stressful,” says Justin Hancock, horticulturist at Costa Farms. “But you can take some steps to help prepare them for the trip.”


  • Justin Hancock is a Master Gardener at Costa Farms.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to move your houseplants so they can survive the trip:


1. Decide which plants you want to move.

Sometimes you can’t take them all. “Assess your environment in the new space,” says Hancock. “Be realistic about what will work or not.” For example, if you’ve always had large, sunny south-facing windows, but now only have north-facing windows, you may need to re-evaluate which windows you’ll choose, or invest in a grow light.


Large plants may need to be abandoned. Is there anyone who will appreciate them? Friends, churches, a local community center, or assisted living facilities may welcome your plants if you need to find new homes for them.


2. Get rid of poor performers.

For plants that aren’t looking their best or that are struggling with pest infestations, it’s time to compost or throw them away. Why drag them with you if they won’t perform well for you here? They are unlikely to do much better in the new location if they are struggling all the time. Plus, you don’t want to spread pests to your other plants while they’re all huddled together in a confined environment, Hancock says.


3. Stop watering.

A few days before moving, stop watering. This will make the utensils lighter and will prevent a mess if any of them tip over along the way.


4. Assemble it.

If you are moving during the cold weather months, wrap your plants well to protect them from cold temperatures (40s or below). You can make a cone-shaped wrap using cardboard or paper and tape it in place to prevent leaves from tangling and to provide protection from the cold, Hancock says. Seal the top of the cone for added insulation.


On very cold days, warm up the car first, then take your plants out to load, Hancock says. If it’s very hot, cool the car down a bit first because most houseplants prefer temperatures in the mid-60s to mid-70s.


5. Place plants in a box or box for transport.

Try to group all the same sized pots together, such as putting all the 6-inch pots in one box, and the 10-inch pots in another box. Hug them tightly to help keep them upright.


6. Give them time to adjust.

Don’t worry if you have a long flight; Most plants will do well for up to a week on the road (after all, nurseries ship plants long distances in the back of trucks with no light). Just make sure not to leave it in the car overnight if it will freeze or get too hot.


Once you reach your new location, unload as quickly as possible. Many plants will initially drop their leaves as they adapt to their new environments. But be patient, give them the kind of light they prefer, and water them as you always do. Most plants are resilient and should bounce back within a few weeks, Hancock says.



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