In Blog

(Updated Sept. 28, 2022)

Are you wondering how to move house plants across the country (or across the city)? Then you’ve come to the right place! Smooth Move People has always had a bit of a green thumb. In fact, you might say we got our start in and around plants — strawberries, to be exact (Fragaria × Ananassa).

We’ve always been Portland’s most reliable and affordable moving company. But we got our start amid strawberries more than three decades ago when Greg first moved to his sister’s strawberry farm in Sandy, Oregon. He started doing local deliveries using the truck that was used to haul his band’s equipment.

Over the next few years, Greg’s business boomed, so he bought new trucks and hired new employees. Eventually, he bought a building and opened up a moving company. And now? Well now, people turn to Smooth Move People for all their residential and commercial moving services.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: how to move house plants.

How To Move Plants Across Country

First off, it’s important to remember that not all houseplants are able to survive a cross-country trip. Plants are often delicate and need constant attention and care, and it’s often difficult to provide those things in the middle of a move. However, if there are house plants that you simply can’t part with, then we’ve tracked down some tips on the best way to move house plants across the country.

  • Check the USDA list of approved plants for transport between states
  • Make sure plants are healthy and don’t have any pests
  • Gather plastic pots, plastic bags, and other materials needed for packing
  • Pack plants in plastic bags with holes poked in them for airflow
  • Make sure plants are packed securely so they don’t tip during the move

Can You Move Your Plant Across the Country?

Although it’s unlikely that you have a plant in your home that’s illegal in another state, it wouldn’t hurt to do some due diligence to find out if you’re permitted to transport a certain type of plant across state lines.

Each state has different regulations regarding plants. The United States Department of Agriculture has a list of all the plants that are allowed to be transported across state lines. Make sure to check this list before packing up your plants, as you don’t want to run into any trouble at the border.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your moving company to see if they even allow plants on their trucks. Many companies consider plant-moving to be too much of a risk, so you may have to find other moving accommodations for your plants, such as driving them yourself.

At Smooth Move People, we’ve provided some guidelines on residential moving that you can see here. Notice that we recommend that you handle “pets, plants, and certain valuables” yourself. We’re happy to provide suggestions for how to move house plants above and beyond what’s contained in this blog post. Just ask!

Get Your Pruning On Before You Move Plants Cross Country

When it gets close to the time of your move — say, two to three weeks in advance — then it’s time to prune your house plant for packing. The best thing to do in this situation is to consult online guides (or even your local college botanist) to determine the best ways to prune and pack your beloved and leafy friend.

Pruning is also a good way to make sure your plants are healthy and strong enough to make the trip. Also, check to make sure you’re not bringing along unwanted guests (insects and other pests) that could take up residence in your new garden beds or home.

Grab It (Gently!) From The Garden

Our friends at The Spruce offer the following advice on taking your outdoor plants with you: “If you want to take some of your outdoor plants with you, but don’t want to deplete the new owner’s garden, take some cuttings. Purchase some floral tubes, fill them with water, then cap them. This should ensure that your cuttings arrive ready for your new home and garden.”

Get Your Plants Ready To Go

For long-distance moves, some suggest that plastic bags with a few holes punched in them will help the plants retain moisture while still allowing them to breathe. Always remember that once you’ve boxed or bagged your plant up, label it properly so that it doesn’t get inadvertently loaded onto the moving truck.

In order to move your plants across the country, you’ll first have to find boxes in which they’ll fit. Most moving experts suggest lining the box with crumpled-up plastic bags or bubble wrap to ensure that the boxed-up plant doesn’t move around too much during the trip. You’ll likely have to place the plants on the floor in the backseat of your car, especially if the plants are tall.

Throughout each of these processes, be sure to make sure you understand the climate through which you’ll be transporting the plants and the climate into which you hope to move them. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to move a plant that needs a lot of sunshine to a place where the sun doesn’t shine all that much.

Another good idea is to water plants a day before the move–this will help on two fronts. In addition to helping the plants survive, wet soil also tends to stay in place. When you ship plants, you don’t want a bunch of loose dirt falling out of the pots and onto the floor of the vehicle.

Bottom Line On How to Move Plants Cross Country

There are too many variables in plant life and plant needs to fit into one short blog post like this one, so you’ll definitely have to do your homework before moving day. Hopefully, what we’ve written here will give you a good head start on moving your live plants across the country.

When all is said and done, it may be better to just wait until you get to your new home so that you can buy new house plants and garden plants that can thrive in your new surroundings. Just be sure to entrust the care of your old plants to someone who will take care of them and provide for their needs as much as you did.

If you’re considering taking your plants with you on a cross-country move, then it’s obvious that your house plants have a special place in your life. Ask Smooth Move People about the best ways to get them transported. We’re here to help!

By the way, we can provide all of the packing supplies you’ll need for your move, including boxes, tape, paper pads, shrink wrap, and more. It’s one of the things we offer in order to take the guesswork and annoyance out of packing your home.

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