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Moving with houseplants: Ensuring your plants thrive & survive the move

Moving Tips  |  Guides

Moving homes can be a stressful endeavour not just for you and your family but also for your houseplants. As you prepare for moving or furniture transport interstate, it’s crucial to consider the needs of your leafy companions.

Whether you're shifting to a new climate or just across town, understanding how to manage the relocation of your plants will help keep them healthy and reduce their stress. In this article, we'll explore several important steps to ensure your plants not only survive the move but also thrive in their new environment. These include everything from the right packing materials to a post-move care checklist.

The impact of moving on plant health

Plants are sensitive to changes and moving can introduce several stress factors, including shifts in temperature, light, and jostling. Such stress can lead to leaf drop, wilting, or even plant death if not managed properly. To mitigate these effects:

  • Research your new location and state regulations regarding moving plants, especially across borders. Check out the Interstate Certification Assurance Scheme, particularly for accreditation by your chosen furniture transport interstate removalist.
  • Pre-move preparation: Begin by pruning dead or excess growth to help plants be more compact and less prone to damage which also helps them recover after the trauma of the move. Also, check for insect infestation and treat appropriately prior to the move. Neem oil has a good reputation for this. 
  • Climate control: Try to keep your plants in a climate-controlled environment as much as possible during the move. If this isn't feasible, avoid extreme temperatures by moving them in your vehicle where you can manage the heat or air conditioning. An enclosed trailer if you are able to tow is a possible option for short distances.
  • Familiar conditions: Once at your new home, recreate the conditions your plants were used to as closely as possible. This includes positioning them in similar lighting and not introducing drastic changes to watering schedules or exposure to direct severe sunlight. 1-2 hours per day can tend to avoid sunburn damage until acclimatised.
  • Consider repotting your plants some weeks prior to moving them into plastic pots for lighter weight and durability. This helps protect the roots as well.
  • Your indoor plants will probably recover quicker than outside plants but equally be aware of the conditions inside your new home.

Some useful tools for your pre-move plant prep might are: 

  • Magnifying glass
  • Neem oil or alternative insecticide
  • Secateurs
  • Plastic pots
  • Waxed cardboard boxes if available
  • Shredded paper
  • Other packing material
  • Wrapping paper or bubble wrap

Unpacking your plants: Steps to ensure they thrive

Once you arrive at your new residence, prioritising the unpacking of your plants is essential. Here’s how to do it right:

  1. Unpack immediately: Plants should be one of the first items to unpack to reduce the time they spend confined in dark, potentially harmful conditions.
  2. Watering check: Depending on the length of your journey and the conditions inside the moving vehicle, plants might need immediate watering or just a light misting.
  3. Gradual introduction: Gradually introduce your plants to their new settings, particularly if the light conditions differ significantly. Start by placing them in indirect light, and slowly move them to their more permanent spots.

DIY packing materials for plant moving

A couple preparing their houseplants for moving

When planning for furniture transport interstate, you should also think about how to secure and protect your plants using household items:

  • Sturdy boxes: Choose boxes that will comfortably fit your plants. You can reinforce these boxes with additional cardboard inserts or shredded paper to prevent movement or crushing. Waxed cardboard boxes are water resistant and will hold together better or alternatively plastic crates.
  • Plastic bags: Use plastic bags to cover the pots and secure the soil, making sure to leave the foliage exposed for air circulation.
  • Bubble wrap: Wrap the pots (not the plants!) in bubble wrap to prevent breakage and provide insulation from temperature changes.
  • Wrapping paper to enclose the foliage of larger plants to prevent breakage but ensure the plant has an opening at the top to breathe.

How to help your plants adjust to a new climate

Moving to a new climate can be challenging for houseplants. To help them adjust:

  • Research: Understand the climate conditions of your new location—be it humidity, temperature fluctuations, or light intensity. Climate zones within Australia vary enormously from tropical in the north to cool temperate in the south. 
  • Acclimatisation: Gradually expose your plants to the new conditions. If moving to a sunnier or drier area, gradually increase their exposure to these elements to avoid shock.
  • Monitor and adapt: Keep a close eye on how your plants respond to the new conditions and be ready to adjust care routines as necessary.
  • Keep in mind that the plants that may have grown well in your last place may struggle in your new location.

Checklist for moving with houseplants long-distance

When moving with houseplants long distance, here’s a quick checklist to ensure you’ve covered all bases:

  • Check plant health and prune as necessary before the move.
  • Secure the right packing materials and pack your plants properly.
  • Control the climate during transport if possible, especially for sensitive species.
  • Prepare for immediate unpacking and care upon arrival.
  • Observe, nurture and adjust care routines as your plants acclimatise to their new environment.
  • If moving to a colder climate be wary of how much water you give the plants.
  • Keep track of the plant names and care instructions for their new home relocation.

It’s worthwhile having a look at our additional blog on how to move plants when moving house.

Moving with houseplants requires careful planning and consideration as does your move, especially during interstate furniture transport. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure your plants remain vibrant and healthy, turning your new house into a lush, welcoming part of your new home. Picture yourself, enjoying your new setting and all the potential for creating a paradise of beauty with luxuriant foliage within your new residence. 

Happy Moving! 

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