How to Safely Transport Houseplants

Updated on March 31, 2020
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna writes about the care of plants (indoors, outdoor gardens). She wrote an orchid care booklet—a companion piece for workshops.

Like Moving Your Loved Ones

Transporting your houseplants is much like moving your loved ones—you have to keep them safe along the way. And much like your loved ones, your houseplants will need time to adjust and acclimate themselves to their new environment.

The better care you offer your plants during the big move, the more readily they will adjust to their new habitat. Here are some steps to ensure that your plants are transported safely and thrive once they arrive at their new home.

I Love Green Inspiration
I Love Green Inspiration

Plants Are Sensitive

Plants are sensitive to hot and cold weather, so avoid placing them in a big moving truck. Even a little exposure to cold weather can leave your houseplants burned by the low temperatures. Hot weather can quickly wilt and kill your houseplants, too. Never transport your houseplants in the back of a moving van or pickup truck. Your houseplants should always ride with you in a climate-controlled vehicle. Think of them as part of your family is an excellent guideline. Keeping your houseplant comfortable is essential.

Gardener's World
Gardener's World

Moving in Cold Temperatures or in Cold Climates

When the cold weather is here, make sure you wrap up the plants before taking them outside to the car, so they don’t get too cold or freeze. A brown paper bag provides the best insulation, but a plastic bag will do in a pinch. Even a brief moment walking them to the car in the cold can severely damage your plants so much that you will not be able to revive them. Warm the car up before you put the plants in it, and don’t let their leaves touch the windows or the cold will burn them.

Monarchs in the Desert
Monarchs in the Desert

Would you hire a professional to move your houseplants?

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Do Not Leave Your Plants in a Hot Car

When the hot climate is here, take care not to let your houseplants overheat. Always provide them with shade in the car so the sun cannot beat down on them.

The hot sun can burn your plants even in a moving vehicle that has the air conditioning on if you do not provide adequate shade. You also must take care not to keep them in a stationary car, van, or truck on a warm day as the temperatures can rise to unreasonable levels in just a few short minutes.

Do not leave your plants in a hot car. Once you purchase your new plants, you need to go straight home and get your new plants in a safe environment.

Crossing the State Line

Depending on the type of plants you own, how drastic of a move you make like California to Washington, your houseplants need to spend some time acclimating themselves to their new environment. Gradually increase or decrease the light according to the typical habits of your plants. Make their new home like their old one, so your plants have the best chance to survive in their new surroundings.

Moving your houseplants from one state to another means the state and federal regulations might affect whether the state allows the plants to cross the state line.
It seems like no big deal to you, but to government officials who regulate disease outbreaks and insect infestations, see it as a problem.

States that have a high crop revenue such as Idaho, California, Florida, and Minnesota shield their regions, including plant controls.

At the end of the article is a link to California rules for bringing in houseplants from another state.

Talk to a Professional

Talk to your local nursery. Nurseries offer delivery service for plants you purchase and, on occasions, will help you move your plants for a fee.

If you need help moving your indoor plants locally, hire professional nursery staff. They safely move any plant of any size. Just give them a call and talk to one of their consultants.

Stress-Free Houseplants

Taking the time to move your houseplants properly from one location to another will save time and money. The houseplants will be grateful and better off in the long run. It is best to plan accordingly. You and your plants will have less stress.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • My question is whether or not to use the air conditioner in my car to help the plants while I transport them to another place. Will the air conditioner in my car help or hurt my houseplants?

    I am assuming you are not transporting these plants from a nursery. Perhaps, you are moving to a new home or office. Transporting plants in a car is not an easy task if the time in the car is more than 20 minutes. I recommend cooling the car before placing the plants in the car to 72 degrees. If it is only two to three small plants, I would not worry. However, if you have some large bushy plants like Schefflera or a Ficus, it will require more than one trip. The key is to be patient and allow your plants plenty of room. Keep the air conditioner from blowing directly onto the plant. Don't water them for a couple days after they are in their new home because they will be a bit traumatized and need some time to acclimate to their new home.

© 2016 Kenna McHugh


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    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      20 months ago from Northern California

      Zia, Thank you! I agree. If you can move your plants by yourself without harming them, then, by all means, do it yourself.

    • aziza786 profile image

      Zia Uddin 

      20 months ago from UK

      Good solid information there. I rather transport my plants myself to another location, it will save me money. Thanks for the share.


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