Transporting Plants: The Essential Guide

Moving home always involves a lot of packing and planning. From furniture and electronics through to clothes and decorations, every aspect of your household needs to be packed and protected in various ways and when transporting plants, this is no different!

In fact, moving plants can be a little more difficult than boxing up old books, as they are more fragile and in need of more careful treatment.

If you carefully follow these tips on how to transport plants, then moving day should be a stress-free experience.

Moving Your Plants – Step By Step Guide

moving-plantsHere is our recommended agenda for transporting plants with a breakdown of the weeks leading up to moving day.

Three weeks before moving day

This is when you should re-pot your plants from their various vases and containers into plastic containers. This will make them lighter and ensure that if things get jostled, the containers won’t break like normal pottery will.

Two weeks

To make your plants cleaner and leaner, you should prune them to remove dead flowers, leaves and limbs.

This will make them a little more manageable to transport and will also reduce the amount of debris and mess that will inevitably fall during the move.

However, if you do have plants such as ferns and succulents (for example, a cactus or aloe plant), you should not prune them.

One week

Not long to go! This is when you should check your plants for parasites or insects to make sure they don’t hitch a ride with you. If it’s safe to do so, you can use insecticides (after reading the instructions), but do remember that you might not be able to bring the pesticide itself over state lines.

Two days before moving day

Water your plants in a normal manner. It may be tempting to overwater them to be safe, but this might end up causing them damage through drowning. Also, if the journey is long, too much water may freeze in cold conditions or even grow a fungus in hot weather.



On Moving Day Tips

moving-plants-photo-by-Quinn-DombrowskiThe big day has arrived! If you’ve done the prep work as above, you’re already off to a great start. Just a few more things to do:


You’re going to want to give branches and leaves some space, or you’ll risk breaking them. You can try loosely wrapping them in tissue paper or an old bedsheet.


For the best positioning, place each of your plant pots into a box so that they fit snugly at the bottom and don’t have too much room to move around. Any box will do, as long as there’s enough space for the branches.

Packing Plants

A good tip here when moving with plants is to pack plenty of paper around the base of your plant pot once it has been placed in the box. This reduces the movement it will have and will keep things in place. If possible, poke a few holes into the box as well to establish some good airflow.

Moving Boxes

Ensure to load the moving boxes upright and mark them with arrows to indicate the correct orientation. Also mark the box as ‘fragile’ so that your movers can treat it with care.


Other than the usual careful driving with cargo, try to keep the temperature at a reasonable level: not too hot or cold.


So, now that the journey is over, there’s just one more stage to manage: getting them out of boxes and into the new position!

Like you, they’ll be ready to flourish in their new home.


When In The Year Is It Best To Move Plants?

transporting-plantsAlthough its tricky to plan around plants, typically the months of March, April and May are the best times to move your house plants while the hot summer months are the worst.

This is because of hot, dry weather. Plants can be sensitive to different temperatures and soil can become dry.

If you find that it has been a considerably wet summer, than you can entertain the idea of moving then if your house plants are a priority for you.



Additional Pro Tips On Moving With Plants

Whether you’re moving interstate with your plants or just down the street, the right way requires patience and plenty of organising for the weeks ahead. There are a few things however that you can do to make sure that your green friends arrive in the same condition they left in.

1. Pruning Your Plants And Removing Dead Leaves

Dead leaves take up a lot of space. By pruning your plants, it may make the moving process that much more manageable, especially if you have many large plants around the house.

2. Checking Your Plants For Insects

Before the move, be sure to check your plants for any creepie crawlies. This goes double for potted plants, as they may sometimes be stuck found deep in your pots. The last thing you want to do is bring along any uninvited guests to your new home.

3. Protect Your Larger Plants

To ensure that you keep healthy and happy plants you are going to want to make sure that you provide adequate protection when packing them away, especially if they are larger plants.

Luckily there are many common household items that you can use to safely pack plants safely. Some of these items include the following materials:

4. Keep Your Plants Well Hydrated

It doesn’t really make any difference to plants whether you are relocating not; your leafy friends are still going to need the basics of life – i.e. water.

This is highly important as you don’t want your plants to suffer during the journey. Larger plants of course will need more water.

Remember by around the final three days to water them appropriately as you usually normally would.

5. Label Any Boxes That Contain Your Plants

Whether they are pot plants or fragile plants, it’s always advised to label any moving boxes that might be carrying them, especially if you have lots to take. Not only will this help you remember which boxes contain your leafy friends, but it will also help ensure that they survive the journey in one piece!

Another reason why you should label any moving boxes carrying a plant is to clearly warn anyone assisting your move to your new home to prevent any damage coming both your plant and the pot.

6. Find A New Home For Any You Can’t Take With You

It may be the case that you may, unfortunately, have to leave certain plants behind. This could be down to many reasons which include :

This doesn’t mean that you should leave your house plants to wither and die. We recommend as a tip on finding potential neighbours or friends who are might be willing to take any plant from you that you can’t fit take with you or fit into your moving vehicle.

7. Inspect Each Pot

If you have many pot plants to take with you on your journey, then take a few minutes to inspect them for any visible cracks before moving day. This will save you a lot of grief from soil leakages, especially if they are ceramic or clay pots.

If your pot plant is tilted and then transported then any existing cracks could get worse. Consider using other pots if you find any glaring large cracks before your move.

Another useful tip is to remember that when transporting smaller pots, they are also more likely to move around, so it pays to pack your plants safely and securely during your relocation.

8. Moving Plants Interstate and State Restrictions

If you are moving between states, many in Australia will have their own regulations on plants. The reason for this is to prevent the spread of pests, diseases and weeds from being brought into a new location and to protect the existing ecosystem.

If you ignore any potential quarantine rules when you transport plants interstate, then they may be confiscated and you might also be liable for a hefty fine.

Here is a list of some quarantine regulators in Australia. We recommend getting in touch with them if you have any questions about your plant.

Queensland – Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

South Australia – Department of Primary Industries and Regions

Western Australia – Department of Industries and Regional Development

Tasmania– Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water, and Environment

Northern Territory – Department of Primary Industries and Resources

New South Wales – NSW Department of Primary Industries

Victoria  – Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport, and Resources


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