plant moving checklist planner

Moving Checklist for House Plants

Moving your house plants requires a great deal of planning. Below please find a house plant moving checklist to help you prepare.

Three to Four Weeks before Moving

  • Arrange for official inspection and certification of your house plants if this is a requirement of your destination state. If the soil or plants are infested, thorough treatment for 7-10 days prior to moving is usually required. Keep the certificate in a safe place. It must accompany the plants whether you are moving them yourself of they are being transported on a moving van.
  • If no certification is required, inspect the plants yourself and treat for any plant pests that you discover. This is necessary if your destination state inspects plants upon arrival.  
  • Decide whether you want to transfer plants from clay to plastic pots. Clay pots are a little more vulnerable to damage than plastic.  
  • Compact plants are easier to handle than spreading one, so a little pruning might be necessary.

Ten Days to Two Weeks before Moving

  • Keep your plants a bit on the dry side until shortly before moving. Remember that plants in plastic pots do not need watering as often as those in clay post because excess water in plastic does not evaporate.
  • Start collecting packing materials including wood flats, newspapers, plastic trash bags, and lightweight cardboard and strong corrugated cardboard cartons. Cartons waxed on the inside are ideal for moving plants because they are sturdier than conventional cardboard. Dish packs are easily adaptable for moving house plants. Bubble wrap and plastic foam are great for cushioning.

The Day Before Moving

  • Water plants well and let excess water drain away.
  • Assemble plants and packing materials in a convenient area.
  • Wrap each pot in aluminum foil or polyethylene film so moisture will not seep through and weaken the cartons.
  • Large or tall plants are more easily handled if the branches are bound loosely against the main stem in the direction of growth with a soft band that will not cause injury. Plants with weak stems should be staked and tied the same way.
  • Make funnel-shaped plant “sleeves” from light-weight cardboard or get them from a florist. Slip each potted plant into one from the top so foliage will be protected. Fasten one or more around a tall plant.
  • If waxed cartons are not available, line boxes with polyethylene film. Large-sized trash bags work well. The plastic lining retains moisture while keeping the cardboard carton dry.
  • If at all possible, leave the actual packing until moving day.

Moving Day

  • Carefully pack plants into prepared cartons, cushioning them with crushed newspaper or other shock-absorbing materials so they won’t shift. Try to keep plants of similar size together, and use cartons that are an inch or higher than the tallest plants.
  • Tall or heavy plants are best handled individually. Set a plant into a carton of suitable size, edging it securely in place with cushioning materials. A carton that opens from the side is easiest to use.
  • Hanging planters should be placed at one end or in the center of a long horizontal box or tray filled with suitable cushioning materials. The trailing foliage should then be laid carefully on top of the cushioning materials in the remainder of the box.
  • Place terrariums in cartons of suitable size and wedge them in place with suitable cushioning materials. Remove terrarium ornaments that might shift and pack them separately.
  • If you are moving plants yourself, it’s unnecessary to close the cartons unless they will be stacked on top of one another in the car. When traveling, park the car in the shade if the weather is hot and in the sun if its cold.
  • If the moving company is moving your plants, mark all of the cartons PLANTS – FRAGILE – THIS SIDE UP. Cartons should be inside (or in the shade) until loading, loaded last and unloaded first.
  • Be sure to give the driver any applicable plant inspection certificates.

At Destination

  • Unpack the plants carefully without delay and check their condition. You might find it easier to remove plants from cardboard cartons by cutting around the bottom edge of the carton and lifting off the top part.
  • Place plants in locations similar to the ones they occupied in your old home. Leave them alone except for normal watering. Fussing with them, or moving them from room to room, will only delay their recuperation. Remember, plants are as individual as people, so one might take longer to recover than the other.