how to pack house plants for moving

New Year, New Place? Expert shares 6 tips to safely pack your houseplants

Monday 08th Jan 2024 |

As we enter the new year, many of us are looking forward to moving into a new home. However, with the recent ‘plant parenthood’ trend blooming in popularity, a lot of us may find that we’ve accumulated more plant-babies than we realised.

With the already proven challenge of packing and moving, transporting houseplants is another obstacle to tackle as these require special care and support to transport safely. To keep plants safe, removalist expert Ed Burton, Co-Founder and CEO at Upmove shares his top tips on how to prep and pack houseplants for moving.

Expert’s 6 top tips on how to keep houseplants safe for moving

  • First, be selective and only keep what you can

When you’ve collected a number of houseplants over time, parting ways with them may not have been in the cards. However, plants are highly sensitive and might not thrive in unstable environments – like long journeys. Choose plants that are stable, sturdy and have the highest chance of surviving in a new environment

If this proves to be difficult, Ed suggests selecting plants with sentimental value or ones that are unusual or rare and you’d unlikely find someplace else.

  • Consider travel time and the climate of your new home

When moving long-distance, consider the duration of travel and climate of your new destination, as some plants may not be able to survive the journey or change in condition. Due to their state of dormancy, plants typically adapt to new surroundings the best within early spring and late fall. Ed suggests planning ahead and coordinating travel or move-in day around the right season for your plants to increase their chances of survival. 

  • Move plants back into nursery pots two weeks in advance

Houseplants are sensitive to drastic changes and are prone to stress, moving these in nursery pots in advance enables them to settle in and get used to the new conditions for travel. This is also a chance to check the state of your plants and provide necessary steps, such as changing soil, removing dusts and checking for signs of pests or plant disease, to confirm if these are healthy to move into your new place.

On move-in day, use a damp paper towel to keep the soil down and use tape to hold the stem in place. This ensures your potted plants are secure and kept hydrated during the drive. You can also water your plants three days before to prevent the soil from drying out without making the pots too heavy on the day.

  • Match the boxes with your plants’ corresponding sizes

Before moving, ensure the boxes are durable enough to protect and hold the plants in place, especially at the bottom. While corresponding the box sizes with your plants ensure that there will be enough space and distance between the top of the box and the tallest plant to avoid breaking. 

If using heavy-duty cardboard boxes, prep these by poking holes around the surface – this assures that the plants can get enough air circulation during transport. On move-in day, don’t tape or close the lid too firmly to allow enough room for the plants to breathe, Ed shares.

  • Use support sticks and tea towels to keep plants in place

The drive can be unpredictable, therefore, it is crucial to provide as much support for your plants to keep them safe. When moving taller plants, use support sticks to keep the stem steady and stabilised, then place a bag big enough to cover the entire plant to keep it protected.

To avoid major collisions during the move, wrap the plant pots with padded materials like packing foam and arrange the pots close to each other in the box, but be careful to not damage the leaves. Utilise tea towels or cushions to place in between and keep them reinforced.

  • Pack your boxed plants in the vehicle last

Put your boxed plants in the car last to ensure these are getting sufficient light and air before the long trip. If travelling for over a period of days, Ed emphasises to not leave your plants in the car overnight, bring them inside with you and open the lid to allow light and air.

Alternatively, hiring experienced removalists to help with transporting plants and other fragile items for moving day can be more beneficial. The right removalists will have the appropriate equipment to safely move your plants into your new home, easing the stress of moving.