Moving Plants


Customers relocating out of state will most likely have to find a new home for their plants.

Most states have regulations that prohibit moving companies or individuals to transport plants across state lines.

Those customers that decide to take a chance and transport them with out doing preliminary homework are:

  • taking a risk of breaking state law,
  • having plants confiscated at the boarder,
  • risking getting plants killed by weather conditions, lack of light, fresh air and water.

Customers moving within California - locally (under 100 miles) can ask movers to load their plants inside the truck. However, movers' main priority is to make sure that shipment fits inside the truck to avoid a second trip. Plants are very delicate, can not stack on top of them - so they take a lot of space inside the truck. Usually, movers load plants last, after all boxes and other goods safely secured inside the truck. In our experience we have transported (locally) many different sorts of plants, using wardrobe or dish pack boxes. Securing plants safely, and in some cases customers were assigned special trucks just to take care of their valuable plants.

Plants seem amenable enough. They barely move and they certainly don't audibly complain about anything. But they're actually very sensitive beings. And they will get as upset as your cat or dog about moving to a new place -- especially when moving involves spending a lot of time in a vehicle that's not temperature controlled.

-- What kinds of things should you consider when moving plants?

You may not be able to bring the plant at all if it's outlawed in your new area. And if your plant is legal to make the move, you need to keep it moist and make sure the temperature of the vehicle is reasonable. What else should you do to make your plant's trip a comfortable one?

Five Important things to know about moving plants:

1. Check the laws:

Believe it or not, if you're moving to another state, federal and state laws may prohibit you from bringing a certain type of plant with you. In certain areas, plants may have to be quarantined or inspected to be certified that they are pest-free. Some states prohibit bringing any plants into the state. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't bring your plants with you to your new home, you'll have to give them up. You can give them to a friend or donate them to a willing institution. Or, you can even sell them. People have been known to buy plants off CraigsList.

2. If your plants are acceptable where you're moving, then you can let the movers move them. Professional moving companies are usually willing to move houseplants. But don't expect professional moving personnel to water your plants or give them any special care. So, if you're moving a long distance and will be on the road for a long time, you might want to put the plants in your own vehicle. You can look after the plants, making sure they're kept upright and remain in a relatively temperature-controlled vehicle. More about that on the next page.

3. Control temperature:

Most indoor houseplants cannot survive in temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 1.1 degrees Celsius or higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius) for more than an hour, particularly if they are not wrapped. So if you are moving a long distance, pack plants in cartons and try to make sure they are moved in a heated vehicle and are not left in an unheated car or moving van overnight. That may mean you need to take the plants into the hotel room with your overnight if you're making a long car ride to get to your new home.

4. Prepare plants for transport:

Make sure plants are moist when they are packed for moving. They can usually survive for about 10 days without water. So you probably won't need to worry about watering them during the trip. If your plants are in ceramic or clay pots, those are heavy to carry and they're also breakable. So, it's a good idea to transplant your plants to plastic pots before the move. But even just moving them from one pot to another can be traumatic. So do this a couple of weeks before your move. That way the plant will get used to its new pot before it's put on the road.

5. Take cuttings from plants left behind:

If you can't move your plants because of space limitations, quirky laws or simply because you don't think they'll survive the trip, then consider taking cuttings from a few of your favorite plants with you. This is an especially nice thing to do with the plants in your yard that you don't want to dig out of the ground. To ensure sound transport, you can keep the cuttings in a plastic bag with damp vermiculite or peat moss. When you get to your new place, simply plant the cuttings in a new pot or in the yard.

A few weeks before you move assess all your plants you are planning to transport. Prune them, feed them and administer any pest control treatments to get them into peak condition. Think about the pots they’re in – if you’re worried about transporting stone pots, for example, re-pot the plants into plastic ones. Also, take some time to check that all pots are whole and not cracked. A cracked pot stands more chance of breaking in transit and thus damaging the contents. Make sure that the pots are not too big for the actual plant – this can cause them to move about and damage themselves.

On your moving day (or the day before if you’re pushed for time) make sure that none of the plants are water-logged and drain away any excess water. Pack them snugly (but not too tightly) into the boxes you have set aside and put some packing in place to hold them firmly. Point out to your movers that these boxes contain plants – although you won’t have any insurance coverage, they will still take a special care of the boxes. Plants in large pots should be wrapped in plastic or placed in bags – you can also wrap the actual plant in plastic to avoid damage and to keep the plant together. If you do this, be careful to make sure that the plastic is not tied together too tightly – they still need to breathe.