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How to Move and Pack your Plants for Moving House

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Moving house? You’ll know that preparation is a key step in the process – from careful wrapping and boxing of your most treasured possessions to strategic labelling and loading into the van –

In order to get your things to the new place in the best condition and with the least amount of stress. For many people, moving their plants may be an afterthought – something not considered until close to the day of the move. And yet – moving your plants often needs more planning and special care than many of your household items. 

Here are some strategies to help prepare your plants and get them to their new home in tip-top shape.


If you’re moving long-distance, this can seriously challenge the health of your plants, particularly in hot or dry conditions. The best option for some of your less hardy plants might be to give them to a neighbour. If you plan to move interstate, you will need to obtain advice on the relevant quarantine laws. You’ll also want to consider the soil type and climate in your new area and whether or not this will suit your plants.

If moving locally, consider moving your plants in the late afternoon/early evening to limit the stress of warm weather. 

Preparing your plants

A few weeks before the move, prune and deadhead your plants, which will make them more compact and easier to move. Tie back any overhanging branches if necessary. Now is a good time to deal with any pests and weeds – you don’t want to bring them with you to their new environment. You may want to save cuttings of your most treasured or expensive plants in case they don’t survive the move and you need to start again.

If you are removing plants from the ground, do this well ahead of time to give them time to adjust. Wrap the root ball in hessian cloth, keeping it moist but not wet. Place it in a cool, shaded area of the garden. Carefully check the condition of any ceramic or clay pots before moving them – if there are large cracks, it may be better to re-pot in a plastic pot for easy transportation. The original pot can be carefully wrapped and the plant re-potted in there on arrival. 

A few days before the move, water your plants – this allows excess water to run off completely. Don’t be tempted to water your plants on moving day – they will be heavier than necessary and may leak muddy water onto the floor of the moving truck – or worse, your car. 

How to pack plants

If transporting your plants in the truck, be aware that potted plants can easily take up more floor space than other items. Your other belongings go in boxes that are stacked on top of one another, but plants don’t stack, so they have a large footprint by comparison. Pack the truck with items of household furniture first, fitting plants into small spaces around them. If moving your plants by car, stack smaller pots into plastic-lined sturdy boxes, stuffing packing material between pots to minimise any movement. Larger pots are best placed on the floor over a plastic sheet. Drive carefully!

Open Boxes

The first step is to line some boxes with newspaper, then pack your plants into the box, leaving the lid open. Butting the pots together will help stabilise your plants. Place the boxes on the floor in your car and remember when you’re driving – you’ve got fragile passengers.

Check plant-pots for Cracks

You’ve decided to take your big plants to your new home. Before moving day, take some time to look over each pot and check that they’re not cracked or unstable. Whether they’re stone, earthenware or concrete, they’ve got to be strong enough to be bumped and bruised, no one wants their possessions to get covered in the soil!

Top tip: wrap carrier bags or bin liners around the pots to prevent water and soil leakage.

How to move and pack trees 

It’s your favourite lime tree and you just can’t bear to leave it behind. Worry not – a 2-3-year-old tree can be moved with a shovel. First, dig out the root system, then place the tree on a sheet of damp hessian and form wrapping around the roots. If you’re travelling a long way, as well as wrapping the roots, wrap hessian around the trunk of the tree as well. However, If you want to move the 100-year-old oak tree, you might need to reconsider or hire some serious equipment.


Unpack plants as soon as you arrive to help them become settled quickly. Water and prepare the planting site, adding compost or mulch to boost the soil’s water retention ability. If you’re too busy to plant them straight away, dig a small hole and cover the roots with soil to ensure they stay in tip-top condition. It’s time to enjoy your new garden

Enlist the experts

If this all seems like a lot of hassle, you can contact your local removalists.
We have a huge range of experience with moving plants and would be happy to help, contact us today for a quote. 

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