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How to Pack and Move Houseplants

Published On: May 27, 2020By

Packing your home for moving is generally pretty straightforward. When it comes to packing and moving houseplants, things can get a little tricky. You’re moving a living thing, so it cannot be packed or shipped like the rest of the items in your home. It’s important that you take extra care to prepare, pack, and travel with your houseplants to make sure they survive the journey to your new home. Below are all of our tips for how to pack and move houseplants!

Make Sure Your Plants Are Allowed

Before even learning how to pack and move houseplants, you need to make sure you can bring them to your new home. If you are moving across state lines, you will need to check and make sure that your plants are allowed in your new state. Every state is different, but most states have specific laws and regulations around plants. These regulations help minimize the spread of diseases and harmful insects to other areas. States like California, Arizona, Florida, Washington, and Oregon are particularly strict about what plants are allowed. It is not unlikely that your moving truck will be stopped at the state border to check for plants. Before packing up your houseplants for your move, check the regulations of your new state.

Getting Rid of Plants

If your houseplants are not allowed in your new state, or you are unable to bring them with you for other reasons, there are a few options. Ask around with friends and family to see if they would like a new plant for their home. Make sure you give them pet-friendly plants if they have a cat or dog in their home! Hospitals and retirement homes also may accept your plants as a donation. Lastly, try NextDoor or Facebook Marketplace to give the plants to someone in your community. 

Check With Your Moving Company

Moving trucks are not an ideal place for your plants, as they lack airflow, sunlight, or water. Because of this, many moving companies will not move your houseplants. If they do, it’s likely they will not cover any damage that may occur during the moving process. Check with your moving company to understand their policies on moving plants. Your best bet is to pack and move your houseplants yourself and keep them in your car with you during the move.

Grab Your Supplies

You will need:

  • Small boxes or book boxes
  • Plastic pots
  • Potting soil
  • Packing paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Plastic bags

Before Packing Your Houseplants for the Move

Begin preparing your plants for the move by repotting them all in plastic pots. Do this well in advance so your plant has time to settle into its new pot. Pack up the empty clay pots like you would fragile dishes – filling with packing paper, then wrapping securely with packing paper and bubble wrap.

About a week before your move, take the time to prune all of your plants. This will help to keep them healthy during the trip.

Water your plants about 2-3 days before moving. You’ll want them thoroughly moist, but not soaking. Make sure they’re wet enough to stay hydrated through the move.

Packing Potted Houseplants

Place a plastic bag under the bottom of the pot and pull the bag up to the base of the plant. Tie it at the base and secure it to keep the soil contained in case the pot tips over during the move.

Line the bottom of the moving box with either a layer of bubble wrap or packing paper.

Place the plants inside the box and stuff any empty space with crumpled up packing paper that reaches to the top of each pot. You will want to give the box a gentle shake to make sure nothing shifts. Do not use packing peanuts, as they will move during transit and cause the plants to move and get damaged.

Poke holes generously into the box to allow for airflow. If you are moving them in your car, you may even want to leave the top of the box open for optimal airflow.

On the outside of the box, write LIVE PLANT and FRAGILE.

Moving Houseplants by Car

Taking your houseplants in the car with you is the fastest and safest way to get them to your new home. It allows you to provide them with what they need, like sunlight, water, and air. Plus, you can keep an eye on them and make sure they survive the trip. Make sure to keep them in the cabin of your vehicle rather than the trunk, as this will give them better air. If your trip is longer than a day and you will be staying in a hotel, make sure to bring the plants in with you so they are not exposed to any extreme temperatures.

Moving Houseplants by Plane

If you are moving to somewhere where you will need to take a plane, you may be able to take a houseplant with you. Before leaving for the airport, make sure your houseplant complies with TSA rules. You will want to make sure it is not too large and isn’t soaking. Check with the airline you will be flying with as well to understand their specific requirements when it comes to traveling with a houseplant.

Sending Houseplants Through the Mail

You also have the option of shipping your houseplant through the mail. USPS, UPS, and FedEx all allow you to ship houseplants using their services as long as you comply with their individual guidelines. Shipping houseplants through the mail can be difficult because you cannot ensure that they will stay upright, be handled carefully, or stay at a consistent temperature. Therefore, you will need to take some additional steps to ensure that your houseplants arrive safely at your new home. Make sure your plants are packed securely so that the soil will stay in place. Pad the box liberally to avoid tipping of plants or damage caused by shifting. Depending on the season you are moving in, you may also want to insulate the box to avoid extreme temperatures affecting your plants. Opt for the fastest shipping method and ship during the workweek.

Move-In Day

When you arrive at your new home, immediately take your houseplants inside and give them water. Place them somewhere where they will receive the amount of sunlight they each require. Once you are settled in, unpack their original clay pots and repot them.


Once your plants are repotted and have found their spots in your new home, you are done! Ideally, all of your houseplants will have survived your process of packing and moving them to a new home. Make sure to give your plants a little extra care in the weeks leading up to and after your move. We hope you enjoyed our tips for how to pack and move houseplants! For more tips on moving and enjoying your home, sign up for our once-monthly blog newsletter.

Looking to buy even more houseplants when you arrive in your new home? These are the 10 houseplants we recommend for beginners and plant-lovers alike!