Tips for Moving Heavy Potted Plants


If you’re a keen gardener in the midst of planning your home move, you will probably have a few heavy potted plants in your collection. Have you thought about how you are going to prepare and move them? This blog will guide you step by step how to move heavy potted plants.

Plants, as you know, are very sensitive to their environment and often struggle to cope with the trauma of being uprooted (literally!) and moved across town or, even worse, across state lines.

A bit of preparation can go a long way to reducing the impact of your move. First, you will need some supplies.


Supplies and Equipment for Moving your House Plant
You will need:


  • Heavy-duty plastic pots for each plant (presuming they are not already plastic). You should match the size of the current pots.
  • Secateurs
  • Suitably sized boxes (dish pack or wardrobe cartons are ideal, depending on the size of your plants). Use one box per plant.
  • Plastic bags
  • Plain newsprint
  • Packing tape
  • Marker pens


Three Week Timeline


Prepare your plants for their move three weeks before your moving date.

1 Three weeks before:


Transplant your potted plants from their existing pots into your new plastic pots. This will make them lighter to carry and resistant to shattering.


2 Two weeks before:


Prune your plants. This will limit the chance of stems and leaves being damaged during transit.


3 Two to three days before (winter move)


Give your plants final water.


4 Moving day:


If you are moving in the summer, give your plants their final water as soon as you can. Just before you leave, line your boxes with plastic bags and gently lift your plants into them. Pack any space with newsprint, keeping the plant as upright as possible, and loosely tape the top closed.
Make a number of air holes in the boxes and place in your vehicle just before you leave. If you can, treat your plants like people and place them in the passenger seat next to you. If you have to put your plants in the trunk, keep them insulated from the cold and remove them whenever you stop for a break.
If staying overnight, bring your potted plants into the motel or hotel with you. If traveling for three days or more, open the top during the night and reseal when you set off again.


5 Arrival day:


When you arrive at your new home, immediately unpack your plants. Water them and give them plenty of TLC until they are settled into their new environment.


Three Reasons to Leave Your Plants Behind


It is not always wise to transport your plants. It is best to leave them behind in the following cases:

  • If your destination state will not accept them: Arizona, California and Florida can be particularly strict on this. Check ahead of time whether there are any restrictions. You may need to organize a Gypsy Moth Inspection Certificate before travel.
  • If the climate is vastly different: Although you may be able to create a microclimate for your plants, chances are a move to a much hotter, colder, wetter or drier clime will kill them off.
  • If you are traveling a long way: The longer you travel, the less likely your plants will survive the ordeal, even if you have taken the precautions above.


Three Alternatives to Moving Your Plants With you

If you don’t have room to take your potted plants with you, there may be an alternative:

  • Put them in the moving truck: Moving companies often refuse to transport plants. After all, they make a mess when toppled, break easily and often die in the stuffy truck. However, if you are moving a short distance, you pack your plants well and you agree to take on all the risk, they may agree.
  • Send by air freight: Some airlines will agree to accept your plants as air freight. However, they will have to endure the same conditions as if they had traveled in a truck.
  • Keep a cutting: This is one of the easiest ways to transport a potted plant. It may be some time before you can experience it in its full glory but at least it should survive the trip.