How to Move Household and Garden Plants

May 21, 2020 | 0 comments

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Plants are surprisingly susceptible to stress. Moving home and replanting can cause plants to develop serious problems.

Stressors include changes in temperature, being replanted, exposure to wind, water that’s too cold and travelling. If you’re not careful, some won’t survive a relocation.

Which plants to take with you

Certain plants, like orchids, are particularly sensitive and fragile. You may want to reconsider moving them, especially long distances.

If you’re not sure which of your plants will handle a move or transplantation, ask a horticulturist for advice.

If you think a plant won’t handle the journey, donate it to a friend or neighbour.

Check international regulations

If you’re moving overseas, you’ll need to know if you can take plants.

Many countries ban their importation. Others have strict regulations about which you can take.

Make sure you understand the regulations before you start preparing your plants for a move.

Preparing plants for departure

Many garden plants will be too established or too big to move. Others will simply need to be prepared.

Some require more prep than others. Follow these tips to help your plants thrive after relocation.


Water your plants three to four days before you move so the roots are damp.

Don’t water the day before or on moving day. The extra water in the soil will make the pots heavy and harder to move.

Give them extra support

Give taller plants a stake for stability. This should prevent them from being bent.

Wrap plants with large leaves or spikes in cardboard or newspaper.

Repot certain plants

Move plants in large or heavy pots into plastic containers to help ease transport and avoid breakage.

Do this a week or two before departure. Here’s a guide to repotting a plant.

Preparing garden plants

Plants in the ground must be potted a few weeks ahead of the move so they have time to adjust, especially if you plan to replant them in your new garden.

Very large plants should be prepared and moved by a professional.

Tips for packing and transport

On moving day, plants require more care and consideration than most household items.

Pack last

For the plants going in the moving truck, pack them last so they don’t get bashed or bent.

On long journeys, this will make it easier to water them if it’s hot and they start to wilt.

Transport separately

Transport smaller and fragile plants in your car. You can control how they’re packed and ensure they don’t fall over or get mishandled. Don’t put them in the boot, which may get too hot.

Place in an open box

You can’t box plants completely as they’ll get damaged, but you can place a few smaller pot plants in an open-topped cardboard box.

This helps stabilise them during transport and keeps them together. Use newspaper to wedge in position to keep upright.

Help plants survive after a move

You’ll need to monitor your plants after the move for any signs of stress.

Watch for drooping and wilting, or dropping, browning and yellowing leaves. Look out for pests that may have been picked up on the way.

Depending on the plant, you may need to give them some extra compost, plant food or prune them to help them recover. Thankfully, there’s plenty of information online on how to diagnose plant problems.

Ecobox has a full range of packing and moving supplies including cardboard boxes for plants, protective packing materials, packing tapes, cutters and moving trolleys for rent.

You can shop online to get your moving supplies or you buy them from your nearest XtraSpace branch.

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