6 min read

How to move your houseplants without damaging them

Learn how to move your favourite houseplants without causing any damage.
How to move your houseplants without damaging them

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Houseplants are a great way to make any home feel warm, welcoming and lively. If you’re a houseplant fan, you’ll know the importance of looking after your plants. Some plants don’t do well in bright sunlight or dim rooms, while others may lose their leaves if they are exposed to too much wind, temperature changes, or move around too much. This can create problems when it comes to moving house. So, if houseplants need so much love and attention, how do you move your plants without damaging them?

Read more houseplant content:

The challenges of moving plants long distances

A mover carrying indoor plants in both hands while walking towards the moving truckMoving long distances poses a challenge to your plants. You won’t be able to pack them into the back of a moving van as they need water and sunlight to survive. Some movers don’t cover the damage to plants so even if they move them for you, they won’t bare any responsibility for their condition on arrival. This makes sense. After all, moving trucks are designed to keep your possessions secure and don’t have free-flowing air or sunlight, which your plants need to thrive.

The truth is, you can’t always move your plants without causing any damage. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of moving your plants to your new home, especially if you’re travelling long distances or moving from one island to another.

What to do when you can’t take your plants with you

Sometimes taking your plants with you is not an option. For example, if you are moving from overseas to New Zealand, there are a lot of plants you won’t be able to bring into the country. Likewise, if you’re flying from one end of the country to the other and your possessions travel by truck, you’ll have limited hand luggage space to take your plants by plane.

If you can’t take your plants with you, either sell them and use the money to replace them at your new destination or gift them to a friend.

How to prepare your plants to move

If you can, move your plants in their nursery pot rather than their decorative pots. This will make them lighter and easier to carry. It will also reduce the chances of breaking their clay pots. Wrap these pots up separately. You can store these with your other belongings and place them in the moving van.

Don’t water your plants for a few days before the move. Watering will make them heavier, and if you water on the day you move, you’ll get watery run-off in your car or in the moving van.

Consider pruning or trimming some of your larger plants. This will prevent long limbs from breaking and make them easier to wrap, carry and store.

An indoor plant and beside it are two moving boxes

What you should know about using movers for your plants

If you’ve hired movers for your big move, ask them whether they are happy to move your plants in the back of your truck. Most companies won’t have a problem moving plants short distances. However, they may take no responsibility for damage caused to your plants in the move. The process of moving; changes in temperature, air and vibrations of the truck are enough to disrupt a plant's growth and cause them to drop leaves or even die.

How to move house with plants yourself

Moving plants yourself is the best option for a long-distance move. You can check on their water levels and make sure they see a little sunlight if you are moving long distances.

Before you move, you’ll need some sturdy boxes to keep your plant secure and prevent your other items from damaging their leaves. For tall plants, choose a box that is slightly wider than each individual plant.

Line your boxes with plastic and place the plant inside. Stuff cushioning, bubble wrap or foam between the box and your plant pot to prevent it from tipping over. If you have lots of plants and box each one individually, wrap them in corrugated cardboard and then store them next to one another in a wide box.

The most secure way to transport your plants is in the back of your car, with your tallest plants on the floor. This area provides more support than placing them in the boot, where they can fall over or roll around.

For plants with tall leaves, wrap them gently in plastic and poke holes in the bags so they can still breathe.

How to move with plants in winter

Moving in winter poses an extra set of challenges. Many household plants don’t like to be exposed to changes in temperature, wind, or cold air. If you are moving in winter, keep your plants inside in their respective places for as long as possible. You can move all your plants into one room but try not to move them around too much — this can disturb their growth.

Minimise your plants' exposure to the outdoors by moving them last into your car or moving van. Make sure you map out some space where they can safely sit. Low temperatures can cause damage to your plants so transporting them in a closed vehicle will help.

Use horticulture fleece to wrap your plants before storing them in a box or secure them with cardboard.

How to unpack plants after your move

A mover offering to help the lady homeowner to carry the indoor plants that she's holding on both handsAfter your move, unpack your plants immediately and put them in a warm room out of the way of direct sunlight. Leave your plants to sit for three to four days. Ensure the area you place them in is not in a thoroughfare or near a draft. A warm room like a sunroom or conservatory is best.

Give your plants a spritz with a water sprayer but don’t water them thoroughly or give them fertiliser or plant food. Moving is very stressful for plants and encouraging growth (with lots of water and food) can stress them out! Avoid pruning, repotting or feeding for a couple of weeks. You can start watering them thoroughly after three to four days.

After a couple of weeks, you can move them into the perfect location in your home. By now your plants will have adjusted from the move and are ready to grow again!

Need help moving your house plants? Wise Move gives you access to New Zealand's most trusted professional movers. Ask about your chosen mover's policy on moving household plants before you book your move.

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