You’ve spent a lot of time and energy keeping your houseplants alive—here’s how to keep them from dying while you move.
Refresh the soil.
There are two main reasons to give your plant some fresh soil before your move:
- Fresh soil is less likely to contain pests that you’ll bring with you wherever you move.
- Old, rootbound soil doesn’t retain water well. Fresh soil can remain moist more easily throughout the move.
Prune any plants that need it.
The less bulk your plant has, the lighter it will be to move. Plus, pruning gives the plant opportunities to grow more stems and become fuller and lusher.
Re-pot plants into lightweight planters.
While this isn’t absolutely necessary, it can be helpful during the move itself. Cheap plastic planters will be lighter and easier to lift with a plant inside them than planters made of ceramic or clay. Also, if you re-pot your plants in plastic, you can better pack and cushion your heavier planters separately so that they’re less likely to break during the move.
Wrap your plants in cones of kraft paper.
Plants are prone to shock from anything they aren’t used to, and that shock can take just minutes to set in. Protect your plants from heat, cold, wind, or excessive sunlight by wrapping each one in a snug cone of kraft paper. It should fit tightly around the planter and be wider at the top, similar to how flowers are wrapped in a bouquet.
The additional benefit of wrapping your plants this way is that it keeps the stems and leaves pushed upward. This makes them less likely to bend and break off.
Put cacti and succulents in boxes.
Cacti and succulents can be easily punctured or bruised during a move. Move them in a rigid box to protect them and cushion them on all sides with bubble wrap.
Water your plants on the morning of the move or the night before.
You need your plants’ soil to remain moist throughout the entire move so that your plants don’t dry up and die. Give each one a thorough watering in the sink or bathtub so that the water can drain down all the way to the bottom of the planter and reach all the roots.
Transport your plants in a conditioned area where they won’t tip over.
The best way to keep your houseplants alive is to let them travel with you in your car, where they can benefit from your heater or air conditioner. In a moving truck, they’ll be much more susceptible to shock from extreme temperatures, and they may tip over or get crushed by shifting boxes.
Once you’ve reached your new home…
Check your plants’ soil to see if they need to be watered. If you’re moving during warm weather, the soil can dry out remarkably fast.
If possible, try to put your plants in a location with lighting similar to where they were before to reduce shock. However, don’t be surprised if your plants go through shock anyway. Remember, some wilting is natural, so don’t panic at the first sign of a few leaves on the floor. Give your plants time, and they will slowly revive themselves.