What to Know About Moving Plants to a New Home, According to Pros

Moving to a new home can be an exciting but stressful time. If you’re a plant parent, moving your leafy friends likely adds to that stress. Getting your plants settled into their new environment is important not only for their health but also for maintaining the ambiance you worked hard to create in your previous home. The good news is that with some planning and care, you can make moving your plants as seamless as possible. Here’s what the pros say you need to know.

Assess Your Current Plant Situation

Before you start packing up your plants, take stock of what you currently have. Make a list of each plant, noting details like:

  • Common name and scientific name (if known)
  • Size (height, width, diameter of pot)
  • Light requirements (low, medium, high)
  • Watering frequency
  • Any special care needs

This will help you determine if certain plants should be donated, sold, or gifted because they may not thrive in your new home environment. It also ensures you don’t forget any plants during the move!

Understand Your New Home’s Environment

Once you know what plants you have, assess the growing conditions in your new home. Walk through each room and make notes about the following:

  • Light – Is it low, medium or bright? Is it direct or indirect? Note any particularly dark or bright spots.
  • Temperature – Is your new home cooler or warmer? Are there spots with more dramatic temperature fluctuations?
  • Humidity – Use a hygrometer to measure the relative humidity in different rooms. Make note if any areas tend to be more humid.
  • Air flow – Are there areas with good air circulation or stagnant spots? Breezy windows or AC vents?
  • Outdoor space – Note the direction your outdoor areas face and any varying conditions like full sun or shade.

This will allow you to determine which plants can go where in your new home to give them the best chance of thriving. You may need to purchase supplemental lighting or humidity trays. For outdoor plants, assess your new garden conditions.

Prioritize Your Plants

Once you know your plant inventory and new home’s conditions, make a prioritized list of plants to move.

  • High priority – Plants that are rare, sentimental, or hard to replace. Healthy plants that should adapt well to your new home.
  • Medium priority – Plants that are healthy but may need some extra care in your new home. These are worth moving if you have the time and space.
  • Low priority – Plants that are diseased, pest-infested, or unlikely to thrive in your new home conditions. Consider donating these or simply saving your energy for higher priority plants.

This helps focus your efforts on plants that are most important to you and viable in your new space.

Prepare Your Plants for the Move

To get your plants ready for moving day:

  • Water thoroughly 1-2 days before the move. This prevents dehydration and gives plants the reserves they need. But don’t overwater, as wet soil is heavy.
  • Trim back top-heavy or overgrown plants so they are easier to carry. You can propagate trimmings later!
  • Stake tall plants like palm trees to prevent damage. Use plant tape or ties to secure leaves.
  • Clean leaves so pests don’t migrate to your new home. Inspect thoroughly and treat any infestations.
  • Place small plants in bags and tie closed to prevent soil spillage or loss of foliage. Use paper or cloth bags that breathe.
  • Pack potted plants in boxes with packing paper or foam peanuts if not bagged. Tape drain holes closed.

These steps protect plants during the move and make transporting them easier on you!

Choose the Right Moving Method

How you physically move your plants depends on how far your move is:

Local Move

For a local move within the same geographic area, you can usually transport plants yourself. Use the following methods:

  • Drive carefully if moving plants in your own vehicle. Drive smoothly, keep AC on, and don’t leave plants in hot cars.
  • Use wagons/dollies to efficiently move potted plants from house to vehicle. Avoid jostling or tipping.
  • Place very small plants in cup holders or empty seats in vehicles if properly secured.
  • Use moving blankets to pad and secure larger potted plants or trees in trucks/vans. This prevents sliding and damage.
  • Transport delicate plants like orchids in the passenger space, not truck bed.

Taking plants in your own vehicle allows close monitoring and protection. Just go slowly and use padding!

Long Distance Move

For out-of-state or long moves, consider:

  • Rental truck – Larger trucks allow transporting plants in boxes/bags. Use blankets for padding and stakes to prevent sliding. Water just before loading.
  • Moving company – Hire a company that specifically transports plants. They use climate-controlled trucks and experienced staff. More expensive but less risk.
  • Shipping – Mail-order nurseries ship plants across the country. You can contract one to ship a large collection if moving far away.

Work with plant specialists when undertaking a big cross-region move. This reduces stress and damage to plants.

Set Up Your Plants’ New Home

Once moved, help plants acclimate by following these tips:

  • Unpack plants quickly into their new growing areas. Prioritize any that were dormant or stressed.
  • Check soil moisture and water if needed. Mist leaves to remove dust.
  • Ensure temperature, light and humidity match previous conditions until plants adjust.
  • Place in optimal spots matching your new home analysis. Adjust supplemental lighting as needed.
  • Top-dress pots with fresh soil to stimulate new root growth if any were damaged.
  • Prune any damaged leaves/stems and monitor for signs of transplant shock like wilting.
  • Propagate any trimmings and share plants with new neighbors to make friendly connections!

With attentive post-move care, you can have your plants thriving again in no time.

Common Questions About Moving Plants to a New Home

If you’re moving plants for the first time, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

When is the best time of year to move plants?

Most experts recommend moving plants during spring or fall when temperatures are moderate. Avoid the height of summer or winter when plants are stressed.

How far in advance should I prepare my plants for moving?

1-2 weeks before moving day, assess your plant collection and growing conditions as outlined above. 1-2 days before, start actively preparing plants for transport.

Should I inform my new neighbors I will be moving plants?

Yes – it’s polite to give neighbors a heads up, especially if you’ll need to use shared spaces to transport plants from the truck to your new home.

What if I don’t have room for all my plants in my new home?

If your living space downsizes, consider dividing and gifting or donating overgrown plants. You can also sell plants that are rare or in high demand.

How soon after moving should I fertilize plants?

Wait 2-4 weeks after moving plants to begin regular fertilizing again. The move is stressful enough and fertilizer can shock plants’ roots.

How long does it take plants to adjust to a new environment?

Most plants take 2-8 weeks to acclimate to new light, humidity, and temperature conditions. Some finicky plants may take longer based on severity of change.

Key Takeaways on Moving Plants

To ensure your plants not only survive but thrive after moving, keep these key tips in mind:

  • Assess your current collection and new home’s growing conditions to plan effectively.
  • Prioritize plants and divide/donate those unlikely to adapt.
  • Prepare plants for transport by watering, trimming, cleaning and securing.
  • Choose moving methods suitable for the distance – either yourself for local moves or specialists for long distances.
  • Carefully unpack, arrange in optimal spots and monitor plants in your new home.
  • Wait 2-4 weeks after moving to resume fertilizing.
  • Expect a transition period of 2-8 weeks before plants are fully acclimated.

With proper planning and care in transitioning your plants, you can create a beautiful living space in your new home. Don’t let moving anxiety stop you from bringing your beloved plants along for the journey!