How To Pack Houseplants For A Long-Distance Move

The packing and moving process can not only be a hectic time but also tough on your beloved houseplants, especially large ones, that are fragile and difficult to pack safely. In addition, most moving companies prefer to avoid moving them because of the risks involved, which could result in the plant dying whilst in transit.

packing and moving

Nonetheless, there is a way to safely move your houseplants long-distance if properly packed, and a lot of care is taken when transporting them. So, if you’re looking to move, we've consulted with, a professional long-distance moving company, to the get lowdown on what to do and what not to do when it comes to packing your houseplants for the long haul.

How To Pack Your Houseplants For Moving

1. Prepare Plants Before Packing

You'll have to prepare your plants before packing them. This can begin a few weeks before you start packing. Some of the things you can do to prep your plants include removing dead leaves and branches. You can also prune the plants to ensure they're ready for packing.

It's crucial to prune your plants a few weeks before the move to give them room to settle and prevent shock. This is because shocking the plants can interfere with their development, especially when moving long-distance.

Another aspect to consider when preparing your plants is to eliminate any dust, pests, or weeds. Doing this ensures that your plants are ready for the drive and remain healthy.

2. Re-Pot The Plants

Plastic pots might be the best for packing plants for long-distance travel. This is because they're lightweight, thus easy to move and pack. You can do the re-potting a few weeks before the move to ensure that the plants get settled in their new pots and prevent shock.

In addition, if your plants are in ceramic pots, move them into plastic one. This is because ceramic pots can break easily during a long-distance move. Once you're done re-potting, you can pack those separately as fragile goods.

Further, plastic pots are shatterproof and prevent breakage of the plants in case you hit a bump or make any sudden movement during the haul. Moreover, any breakage in the pot can slice and harm the roots and the soil.

3. Figure Out When To Water

Your plants need water to survive, but you'll have to stop watering them a few days before packing and starting the long-distance move. This is because a cold and wet combination isn't the best for your plants because they'll be soggy and could start dying because of freezing or fungus growth.

However, watering the plants before packing also depends on the time you'll be traveling. If you're moving during summer, you have to ensure that the plants are adequately watered before packing, and you can stop watering them a day before you start moving.

On the other hand, if you're moving during winter, you'll have to stop watering the plants a few days before the move to ensure they're in the optimal condition to travel. This can also prevent the plants from being stressed during the move.

Nonetheless, this requirement might differ depending on the type of houseplants you have and their needs. For example, if you have a cactus plant that requires watering once a month, there'll be no need to water it a few days before moving.

cactus plant

4. Pack Them Properly

If your houseplants are potted, here are the steps you should follow when packing them for a long-distance move:

  • Put the pot inside a plastic bag and pull it up to soil level. Ensure that the bag can cover the soil on the pot to prevent spillage. Using a rubber band or twine on the plant's stem, you can then secure the bag.
  • Find a large enough box that can fit the plants. It'd help to find a box with handles on the side for easy lifting. You can use a cardboard box or carton securely taped at the bottom to keep the potted plants safe. Once you have the box, you can arrange the potted plants carefully.
  • Ensure that you fill the spaces between the pots using bubble wrap, packing material, clothes, or newspapers. This will cushion the pots from bumping and hitting each other during the move.
  • Finally, seal the box and create holes by stabbing using a knife or scissors for air circulation. You should ensure that the holes are sufficient for all the potted plants in the box.
  • Label the box as ‘live plants’ or ‘fragile’ for proper handling during long-distance travel.

If the weather conditions are extreme, such as in the winter, you can find insulated boxes to protect the plants from freezing.

5. Packing Small Potted Plants

succulents plants

If you have small potted plants, like succulents, you'll have to pack them in a similar way to large potted plants. However, you can use smaller containers instead of boxes to carry them, such as cooking pots or serving dishes. Nonetheless, you must ensure that there's no wiggle room left and they have sufficient ventilation throughout the move.

6. Packing Plant Cuttings

You can also carry and pack cuttings for plants that are too huge to carry in a pot. However, you must first ensure that the plant can be regrown from the plant cutting of either a root, stem, or leaf. If it can't be regrown, then there's no point in packing a cutting because it could go bad during the long-distance move.

If you're certain that you can regrow a plant from its cutting, here are the steps you should follow when packing it:

  • Use sterile scissors, pruning shears, or a knife to cut from the plant you want to carry. Ensure that you make the cutting of either the root, stem, or leaf of the plant on the morning of the long-distance move. This is to ensure that it's healthy before starting the journey.
  • The next step is to cloak the cutting using a damp towel or piece of cloth and enclose it using the clear wrap to ensure it's secure throughout the move. It's essential to keep checking and ensuring that the towel or cloth stays damp throughout the move.
  • Finally, propagate the cutting as soon as you arrive at your destination.

Plant cuttings are fragile, and you should ensure that their package is easy to access to check their condition during the long-distance move.

Factors To Consider When Packing Houseplants For Moving

houseplants for moving

As discussed before, houseplants are fragile, and much care should be taken during the packing process. Nonetheless, here are a few factors you should consider when packing houseplants for a long-distance move:

1. International And Local Regulations On Plants

Before you prepare and pack your plants for your long-distance move, ensure that you understand the regulations on plants, especially in the place you're moving to. This is because some areas restrict the importation of certain species of plants, and you must ensure that your houseplants aren't on the prohibited list.

You can check if your houseplants are restricted from moving to your destination through the customs department or local authorities. This can help prevent inconveniences when moving and customs or local authorities detain your houseplants.

In addition, in some States, the plants can be inspected because of pest control and a ban on some plants. Therefore, you should ensure that you've packed the houseplants so they can be easily accessed and inspected to save time in inspection queues.

2. The Climate

You have to consider your destination's climate before packing your plants. This is for a couple of reasons. One, it'll help you determine how to best prepare your plants before packing and the most suitable packing conditions. Secondly, understanding your destination's climate can help you decide if it's conducive for your houseplants.

Some aspects you'll be considering are the species of your houseplants, the humidity, temperature, and the amount of sunlight at your destination. These aspects are crucial to the survival of your houseplants after the move. If the climate isn't conducive for your houseplants, they might not do well despite proper packing during the move.

You can also consider the sunlight getting into your destination house to determine whether the houseplants will have a conducive environment. Additionally, you can use this information to decide on the most suited houseplants to pack and the ones to leave behind.

3. Means Of Transport

Your chosen mode of transport during your long-distance move significantly impacts how you can pack your houseplants. Depending on how far you're moving, you can carry the houseplants in your car, hire a moving company, or ship them. You can use the following means to move your houseplants for long distances:

  • Your Own Automobile

The best method of transporting houseplants long-distance is by using a personal car. This is because you can accord the packed houseplants the care they need throughout the journey. However, you must ensure that you don't keep the packed plants in the trunk because of the high temperatures that can destroy them.

In addition, ensure that you secure the houseplants to avoid them moving around when you hit a bump or make sudden movements. If the temperatures are too high, you can crack the windows open, and if you have to make a stopover for the night, you'll have to carry the packed houseplants with you. Therefore, you'll need a portable box to pack the houseplants.

  • Movers

If you're planning on hiring a moving company, ensure they move live plants. Most moving companies don't agree to move packaged plants because of their fragile nature. In addition, if you're moving into another State, the customs clearance process might be hectic for a moving company.

Moreover, a moving company might refuse to move your houseplants with the rest of the household items to avoid liability issues. This is because the houseplants can be damaged during moving if the boxes move and the plants are crushed, or the conditions inside the truck aren't suitable such as high temperatures. Therefore, you can consult with the movers to decide if they'll move the plants or if you'll have to find an alternative way of transporting them.

  • Shipping

This is risky because you can't guarantee the safety of your houseplants. You can ship the houseplants early through a convenient mailing service before moving. Early shipping can ensure that you arrive at your destination around the same time.

When packing houseplants for shipping, you can take the following steps to ensure their safety:

  • Start by removing the plants from the pots and trimming the roots.
  • The next step is to wrap the root ball in a moist towel or cloth and then wrap it using plastic wrap.
  • Place the whole plant in a box that's well cushioned using bubble wrap and packing papers.
  • Finally, ensure that the box is sufficiently labeled as ‘fragile,’ ‘live plants,’ and ‘This Side Up.’ You can place as many labels as you deem sufficient to give the courier enough notice that the package contents are vulnerable.

Since shipping is risky for the well-being of your houseplants, you should ensure that they have extra security during packing. You should pay more attention to securing the soil to ensure it's not displaced when the package is moved sideways or upside down.

Additionally, you should consider the weather when packing houseplants for shipping. If the weather conditions are extreme, it's best to use insulated packaging materials to maintain the integrity of the houseplants.

Further, it'd help to ship your houseplants during weekdays to ascertain that it takes the shortest time possible. Shipping plants during the weekend can be detrimental because of delays at peak times.

4. Packaging Materials

You must use the right packaging materials for your houseplants when moving. Ideally, the best package to use when moving your houseplants is a box. The box must have enough space for them. For example, the box should be broad and tall if you're moving large plants.

Subsequently, the packaging should be suitable for extreme weather, such as sharp changes in temperature. This means it should have enough ventilation for hot summers and insulation during winter. As pointed out, you can create ventilation by punching small holes into the box.

Pack Your Green Friends Right

Houseplants are fragile, and you should be cautious when packing them, especially for long drives. Think about all the possible risks and mitigations when packing them. Ideally, you prepped the plants enough before packing to avoid shocking and stressing them. Packaging your plants should provide them with optimal conditions throughout the move.