4 Ways to Pack Plants For Moving

Aside from breakables and valuables, perishables are another part of our belongings that needs delicate packing. Plants are living and need the best care and a well-thought-out packing process. 

Whether you’re new to moving plants or have packed plants a couple of times, you need to do it right. You’ve lost the plants you’ve nurtured for years, one wrong move. They’re lost forever and irreplaceable, not even if you get another one.

You need an in-depth knowledge of packaging methods, materials, and tips, with a root and branch (thorough) approach to every step.

What to Do Before Packing Plants for Moving

pack plants for moving
Image by Rick Ingram

Want to pack your greenery like a pro? There are precautionary steps (like wearing garden gloves) to wrap and move your plants in one piece.

You need a safe pair of hands—whether you’re moving with your truck or hiring movers—if you want your blooms to arrive in your new home in one piece.

Check Moving Guidelines

Suppose you’re moving interstate or to another country. In that case, you need to check with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their guidelines on plants. Foreign plants may harbor pests, diseases, and insects harmful to natives.

It would help if you also researched which plants are allowed across state lines. Oregon and Florida, for example, have rules for moving houseplants.

See Also: How to Pack for Moving Houses

Semi-dry Soil

Don’t wet your plants two days before moving day because they’re best moved in semi-dry soil. Wet soil is vulnerable to freezing and fungus. They also need to get acclimated to withstand the shock of a sudden change in environment and weather conditions. Dry soil is also lighter and easier to move.

If you can’t take every plant because of its size, plant guidelines, or the weather conditions of your new home, we suggest you give out or donate the plant.

Gift Someone your Plant

Gift Someone your Plant before moving
by @Rick Ingram

Plants, just like wine bottles, are too valuable to lose and are appreciated when offered as a parting gift.

If a plant is too large to move or you’re not sure it’ll survive the move, it’s best to give it to a loved one who can provide the best care. That way, you’ll still be able to visit your friend regularly.

Like you can donate clothes, you can also donate your beloved plants to retirement homes, schools, hospitals, offices, gardens, and parks. They (our plants and whoever they’re donated to) will be grateful you allowed your friend(s) to live and remain a joy to their environment.

You’ll also need to purchase packing supplies and padding materials. We’ve sorted a list of the typical and specific items you’ll need:

  1. Cardboard box
  2. Garden gloves
  3. Plastic bag
  4. Plastic pot
  5. Paper towels
  6. Packing paper
  7. Bubble wrap
  8. Gardening Velcro or string
  9. Rubber band
  10. Flea collars
  11. Sphagnum moss
  12. Scotch tape
  13. Permanent or Sharpie marker

4 Ways to Pack Plants For Moving

You can use any of these ways when packing plants for moving:

Pack Plants in Cardboard or Wooden Boxes

pack plant in cardboard or wood boxes

Small-potted plants can share large cardboard boxes, and large plants can be wrapped individually and set on the truck’s floor.

Tape the bottom flaps shut, then add a cardboard cutout to the bottom and secure it with tape. There’s a reduced risk that the plants will fall through this way.

First, wrap the pots in plastic bags to protect the soil from spilling, then arrange the pots in the cardboard box. Stuff the space between pots with padding supplies like bubble wrap or crumpled paper.

Seal the box with tape after packing and padding and punch holes in its side to supply sunlight and air to the plants. (It’s okay to decide against sealing the box.)

Finally, label the ‘Top’ of the box and write ‘Live Plants: Handle with care’ on the box’s sides using a marker.

See Also: 50 Moving Tips and Hacks

Pack Plant Roots Instead of Pots

Another way to pack plants for moving is to pack bare roots and pack the pots separately. Uproot the root from its pot and shake off excess soil; you need not rinse the root because the extra bits of soil will keep the plant.

  1. Wrap a damp paper towel around the plant roots to supply water to the plant in transit.
  2. Wrap the roots in multiple layers of paper towels if you’re moving long-distance.
  3. Wrap the roots in plastic wrap or place them in a plastic bag to hold moisture.
  4. Lightly band the foliage in a rubber band to protect the plant and control errant growth.
  5. Lightly string the limbs of your plants together using gardening Velcro.
  6. Wrap kraft paper around the foliage and secure it with tape.
  7. Place the plant in a cardboard box and add enough padding in extra spaces to eliminate any wiggle room.
  8. If you seal the box, punch holes in the sides of the box so your plants can breathe.
  9. Tape the box and label it accordingly.

Note: Wrapping the plant in kraft paper keeps its shape and protects it from getting torn, sunburned, and frostbite.  

Pack Plants in Shatterproof Pots

Pack Plants in Shatterproof Pots
Concrete Planter Box by Julie Caniglia

Shatterproof pots are the titanium your plants need to survive the movement’s bumps and vibrations. These pots are better than regular pots because they won’t break in transit and cut through your plants or spill the soil.

But it’s best to pack your plants in shatterproof pots three weeks before moving so they’ll endure moving day stress.

Wrapping your plants can be tricky, but you need extra care for the tender limbs of your blooms. You also don’t want soil all over your stuff. Place a plastic bag over the plant and secure it at the pot’s base.

Pack Larger Plants Using Vegetative Propagation

If your leafy friend is a 10 feet tall fig tree, you might have to prune it before packing. You might need to gift a loved one, donate the plant, or take a cutting for larger luscious plants that won’t fit in cardboard boxes after pruning.

If you’re not willing to take the risk of taking a big plant with you, and you don’t want to leave your friend behind, you might have to do vegetative propagation. For those who aren’t in the plant sciences, it’s a pretty straightforward process.

Research to check if the plant can regrow from a cutting, then check which part of the plant you need to cut and how to propagate (replant) the cutting.

After confirming, cut the healthy part of that plant using a sterilized pair of pruners to scissors. Make a clean 3-6 inch long cut on the part.

Wrap the piece in a damp paper towel held in place by a rubber band. Store the cutting in an airtight container or plastic stem holder and box it with other houseplants. Propagate the cutting the minute you get to your new home.

6 Green Tips for Packing Plants

  1. Don’t punch holes in cardboard boxes if you’re moving in cold conditions. The plants may freeze.
  2. Cover a sphagnum moss in paper and place it in the pot to protect your other belongings.
  3. Pack fleabanes around the plant to keep out critters.
  4. Place flea collars in the pot to draw out critters.
  5. Load plants last in the truck and don’t place anything on plant boxes.
  6. If you’re traveling long distances and need to stay overnight in a hotel, don’t leave your plants in the truck. Extreme temperature changes can kill them.

See Also: How to Pack Kitchen for Moving

Take Root and Grow

It’s time for you and your plants to bloom in your new home. Unpack your plants the instant you get to your new home. First, set them in a temporary spot with sufficient sunlight and repot them to their original containers when you find a suitable spot.

Got any questions or tips on moving plants? Please, don’t hesitate to leave them below. You can also share your experience in the comments section.

Leave a Comment