moving plants

Best Way To Move House Plants Across Country

Don’t move without your plats – here’s how to go about it

cross country movers

Moving Plants

You need to move, but what do you do with your plants? If you are not attached to any of them, the best option is to leave them behind. Give them to trusting friends or neighbors. Donate them; hospitals and charities are a good place. Interior plants are beneficial to our health and often compliment our living environment.

If however, you plan on moving some or all of your plants, you will need to inform yourself of the laws. It’s not as simple as putting them in the car and driving, unless you’re moving within the same state. There are state and federal regulations to comply with. You will also need to take into consideration that many moving companies do not move plants, mostly due to these regulations. They are Non-Allowable Items.

Moving Your Plants

Firstly, decide which plants you will be taking. You must then contact the Department of Agriculture for each state you will drive through and find out what the states regulations are. You can find a list of contact information for each state here at National Plant Board.

Once you check the guidelines per state, you may find that one or more of your plants will not be permitted across state lines. If this is the case, you must leave the plant in the original state or face large fines if you do try to bring it across state lines. Your plant/s must meet standards set by the Department of Agriculture, they may include:

  • Changing to sterilized soil
  • Being quarantined
  • Having an official inspect the plants

Allow 3 - 4 weeks prior to the move date to have your plants inspected. If they do require treatment, there will be time to prepare them. The plants may also need to be inspected at each state border, as they must be declared. Pack plants in such a way that it is easy for them to be inspected.

Packing And Preparation


  • Three weeks prior - if the plants are in clay, ceramic or any breakable pots, it is advised to re-pot the plants into same size unbreakable plastic pots.
  • Two weeks prior - it is advised to prune your plants. It makes them easier to move, as they will be more compressed. Some plants may not require pruning, such as aloe or cactus. Check what is best for the plant you are moving.
  • One week prior - This is a good time to look for any insects or parasites. If you use insecticides, use as directed with caution. It is best to use natural treatments, especially when moving.

Water your plants as normal. Closer to the upcoming move date, make sure not to overwater, as weather conditions could effect the plants by either freezing in the cold or causing growth of fungus in warmer environments. Two days prior should be the last day to water the plants before their journey begins.


Moving day has arrived and its time to pack your plants. Whenever possible, wait until the day of the move to put plants inside boxes.

  • Wrapping an old sheet or lightweight paper, such as tissue paper around the leafy parts of your large plants will protect both the fragile leaves and branches.
  • Use boxes that allow the pot to fit comfortably at the bottom. Pad the space surrounding the plant pot with packing paper.
  • Make air holes in the sides of the box allowing the plants to breath. Be sure to space the air holes a good distance apart, ensuring the box stays in one piece.
  • Label the boxes FRAGILE making sure they are in the upright position.

Not all plants will make it through a move, especially the more delicate ones. It is important that one is aware of this. Plants are fragile living organisms and moving companies cannot accept liability for the safe delivery of any plants being moved.

Unpacking Your Plants

Plants should be unpacked immediately upon arrival at the new destination and remain in the plastic pots for a while. Let them settle and try not to move them around too much. Give them time and water before transplanting them back to decorative pots. Once the plants are unpacked, you can begin Unpacking Your Home After the Move.


  • Certain plants may be sensitive to shock if moved. Give the plant some time to recover.
  • Temperature is critical when moving plants. Extended exposure to hot or cold temperatures is harmful.
  • Some houseplants can survive without water for 7-10 days. Plants should be moist when packed in boxes.
  • Houseplants can endure darkness for up to 7 days without damaging. It is best to keep plants away from direct sun when exposing them to light after a long period in darkness.
  • Cuttings may be a more convenient way of moving your favorite plants. They can survive for several days. For a longer move, potted plants are able to survive longer.

Recommended Reading
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Shannon L.
Shannon L.
Jan 5, 2024

Movers who packed my things up in NY were great. I was also very impressed with how clear everything was, how fast the move coordinator Eric was with getting back to me. Read more testimonials

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Feb 11, 2024

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Ria B.
Ria B.
Jan 10, 2024

Everything went smoothly with CA-NY Express Movers. They packed up my apt in NYC in no time, put it into storage for me while we found our new house. Read more testimonials

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