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How to Move Your Garden and Houseplants

Yes, you can bring those plants you love to your new home

If you are preparing for a move, you may be experiencing mixed emotions. A fresh start can be very exciting but separating from the comfort of familiarity is also challenging. You do not want to leave anything behind, especially if that item has significant meaning in your heart. House plants will move with you, and did you know that you can also bring your garden plants with you

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to your new location? It is such a special way to remember a particular time in your life. Moving garden and house plants is tricky, but it is still worth the effort. To see the familiar plants welcoming you in your new location and thriving is a real testament to the human spirit and new beginnings.

First Things First – Make it Legal

If you are lucky enough to have sold your home, the new owners are going to expect the same landscaping they saw when they looked at your house. No matter how desperately you want grandma’s crabapple tree, you cannot just take it after you finalize the sale. Talk to the new owners and explain the significance of your garden item. You may be able to reach an agreement where you replace your special plant with something equally attractive. You should settle everything in writing before you attempt to dig. If you are planning on taking items from your vegetable garden, such as heirloom tomatoes or garlic, you are in luck: these are your personal property even after the sale, just like your houseplants.


Also, keep in mind it is illegal to move certain plants across state lines. Some areas have strict plant restrictions due to pests and other hazards. Check with local authorities before your move.

Careful Planning is Key

Moving plants is always risky, but doing so in the hot summer months is particularly challenging.

If you can avoid the hottest days, your plants will appreciate it. Even on cold days when the sun is shining, any plants sitting in your car can quickly burn. Winter weather brings its own set of challenges, since exposure to cold may hurt your plants.

Some basic precautions you can try any time of the year include:

  • Water plants thoroughly the day before you dig them up.
  • Trim dead leaves and branches to conserve the plant’s energy.
  • Dig out the entire root ball and wrap it in a wet burlap sack, and then place it in its own pot.
  • For house plants, pack some damp moss on top of the pot.
  • Wrapping plants loosely in some layers of newspaper should help protect them from the elements.
  • Use pallets or packing crates to help the plants stand upright in their journey.
  • If possible, water the plants during the journey.


Lastly, remember that you need to have those garden tools handy when you arrive at your destination. Know exactly where your garden tools are packed so you can quickly return plants to the soil. The faster you get your plants in the ground, the greater the chance they will learn to thrive in their new home. You do not want to be frantically searching for a shovel or forced to purchase something you don’t really need, and borrowing tools from a new neighbor is probably not the best way to meet!

Take Time to Acclimate

Just like people, plants need time to grow into their new surroundings. When you arrive at your destination, give the plants time to acclimate in their new home. For garden and landscaping plants, a shadier spot is preferable at first. When the plant seems to take to the soil, you can move it to its final sunny location. You may also need to relocate house plants several times in the first few months to figure out which room seems the best place for each to thrive. For all your moving buddies, hydration is key! You will need to water your plant every day at first.


With a little planning and some TLC, both you and your plants will grow to love your new location. Watching your treasured plants continue to thrive will provide lovely memories along with the symbolism of a fresh start for all of you.