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How To Move Plants When Moving House

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

11th Sep 2018 (Last updated on 30th Nov 2023) 9 minute read

Preparation is key when moving house, but especially when moving plants. Transporting plants can be difficult as you have to factor in a variety of issues such as weather, temperature, the type of transportation being used and the materials needed to protect them. However, with a little preparation, it doesn’t have to be a stressful process.

With so much to move within the property, your plants may not be at the forefront of your mind. However, with so much care and effort that has gone into growing them, it’s important that you plan your next steps carefully to help move your plants without killing or damaging them.

Compare My Move has worked with a number of property and finance experts to create insightful guides that will aid you through every step of the moving process. In this article, we will explain the process of packing and moving your plants when moving house.

  1. How to Pack Plants For Moving House
  2. Transporting Your Plants
  3. Unpacking Plants After Moving House
  4. When is the Best Time to Move Plants?
  5. Tips for Moving Plants
  6. Saving Money on Your House Move

How to Pack Plants For Moving House

When packing plants, you should re-pot any that are currently in clay pots to shatter-proof plastic pots. You should also prune any of the large plants to remove dead leaves and limbs - this will not only help make the plant healthier, but it will also provide you with a little more space in the van. Don’t forget to check for any pests, parasites or insects to ensure you don’t cause an infestation at your new home.

If you have a number of large plants to move, wrap them with old bedding or even tissue paper to help protect the branches. Removal vans can be quite crowded if you have a lot of items to move, so the more you can protect the branches from snapping the better. Smaller plants can be kept in regular moving boxes - just make sure to add newspaper or other items in between the pots to ensure they don’t move around in transit. When planning the move, it would be wise to ask your removal company about the size of their moving vans.

Don’t forget to poke holes in the boxes that contain your plants as they will need to breathe. It’s also advised that you keep them in a dry area of the house for a week before your moving day as plants can make the air moist which will weaken the cardboard boxes.

Whether it’s house plants, hanging baskets or flowers from the garden, plants are an important part of the property that can add a lot of colour and character. According to research by My Tool Shed, a tidy and well-kept garden can add up to 20% to the value of a home, meaning an average house in the UK could increase by £46,542. Further data from Post Office Money even found that a landscaped garden can raise the value by a massive 77%.

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Transporting Your Plants

Before you begin loading your items, label the boxes that contain your plants and mark the top clearly so everyone knows to be careful. Ideally, you should bring the plants with you in the car rather than placing them in the van. However, this isn’t always possible so marking the boxes is essential. You should also write down the soil preference on each pot so you can unload them in the right environments.

When transporting the plants yourself, try to control the temperature of the vehicle carefully as extreme hot or cold temperatures can damage plants. This is especially important for larger plants. Smaller potted plants should be fairly comfortable in the removal van, but larger items will need more organisation.

If you’re placing your plants in the van due to the added space, try to be thoughtful as you arrange them. Do not place heavy items on top of the boxes as it will cause damage. Consider each plant’s preferences and try to find the spaces with the correct amount of sunlight.

Do Removal Companies Move Plants?

Not all removal companies will move plants, especially if it’s a long-distance house move. Those that do agree to move them will likely expect you to prepare the plants for the trip.

Do not place your plants at the back of any removal van as not only will they dry out and possibly be crushed, but they will also be hidden from any sunlight. There is also less air circulation in van trailers, causing a rather dangerous environment. Most vans are also not temperature controlled which can endanger your plants, especially in extreme temperatures.

Unpacking Plants After Moving House

When you arrive at your new home, you should try to get your plants back into a similar condition they were in at the previous property.

Carefully unwrap and unpack your plants as soon as they’re off the removal van and you have space to safely do so. To help prevent breakage, you can remove the plants from the bottom of the box rather than grabbing them by the top stems or leaves.

Once free, you can place the plants back into their proper pots and spray them with water to revitalise them, if you feel they need it. Find the right spot for each one in the new house by taking the amount of light and ideal temperature into consideration. Avoid moving the plants from room to room as they need to acclimatise to the new environment. Some plants suffer from transplant shock, meaning they will need a few days to recover after moving house.

When is the Best Time to Move Plants?

Early spring or late autumn is the best time to move plants. Between October and March, the majority of plants become dormant - this is the part of the plant cycle where they can adapt more quickly to a new environment, making them easier to move. This time of year typically has the ideal climatic conditions for moving plants as the weather is usually mild and the temperatures fairly moderate.

However, different species of plants will have different dormant periods, so it’s vital you do your research before moving. You should make a list of the different plant types you have to pack and note down each of their dormant periods. You may not necessarily be able to move during this period, especially if it’s a last-minute house move, but it will ensure you’re more informed about how to take care of the plants and help them recover.

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Tips for Moving Plants

To help protect your beloved plants, we’ve created a list of helpful tips for moving plants during a house move.

1. Let the Estate Agent Know the Plants You’re Taking From the Garden

In an ideal world, you would decide what parts of your garden you're taking before you set the moving date. With this decided, you need to inform the estate agent of what features you intend on taking from the garden well before contracts are signed and exchanged. A buyer may have viewed your property and fallen in love with your garden, expecting it to be there when they move in.

If you don't inform your estate agent of what is staying or going, the law states that the garden will remain as your buyer saw it when they made the offer.

2. Research the Climate You’re Moving To

Your garden might thrive in the particular climate you live in, but if you're moving to a completely different area, your plants might not survive. For example, if you live in the UK and you're moving from the South to the North, plants like fig trees may not grow because the climate isn't right for them.

Do your research on how the climate you’re moving to will affect your plants and make the decision on which ones are staying and going based on your findings.

3. Check the Soil Type

If you’re transferring plants to the new garden, then the soil type in your new garden will need to be checked. This is because certain plants need to have soil at a certain acidic or alkaline level for them to survive. This might sound like a lot of effort, but it only takes a little research – you could either ask the current owner of the property or get a test kit from your local garden centre to confirm the soil type.

If you just transfer your plants straight into the wrong soil, then it could ruin all your efforts of growing the plants in the first place.

4. Know Which Plants Can Be Uprooted

If you have lived at your property for more than a couple of years, it's understandable for you to become attached to your larger plants and trees. However, attempting to uproot and transport them to the new property runs the risk of severely damaging them.

Alongside these considerations, do your research to find out which plants can be uprooted and transplanted and which ones you should take cuttings from instead. Look up instructions on how to take proper cuttings from your plants and keep them in a pot filled with compost to root. Plant and tree experts Ashridge Trees say to imagine the roots spanning as far as the branches reach and to dig accordingly. Moving trees younger than 5 years can be relatively stress-free, whereas older plants may need specialist help.

5. Show Your Removal Company the Current Garden

Plants are fragile but also take up a lot of room. Make sure the removal company conducts a house removal survey before your moving date so they know exactly what you're taking and what is going to be involved.

If you have large potted plants that need to be moved, the removal company may need special lifting equipment and to make specific transport arrangements for you. For any plants in boxes, don't tape the top of the box closed, so they know not to stack any boxes.

6. Know How Big Your New Garden Is

Along with the soil type and climate, you'll need to consider the size and shape of your new garden and whether your plants will even fit. All you need to do is take a look around the garden you're moving to and compare it to your current garden's size and shape. You'll also want to consider where the sun will hit most and what plants need the most or least exposure to the light.

7. Keep Your Plants Well Hydrated

Make sure the plants you’re transporting are sufficiently watered before the move. Don’t forget to drain any potted plants a few days before your moving date to minimise the weight and reduce the chance of spillage. However, do not let them dry out completely. A water sprayer would be an idle tool when moving plants.

8. Know Which Plants You Should Avoid Moving

There are a few plants you'll want to avoid bringing with you. Plants such as Japanese Knotweed can grow as fast as 10cm a day and are capable of forcing their way through concrete, foundations, walls and drains. This plant can cause subsidence, major cracks in brickwork and even dampness. To find out more about what plants to avoid, we've put together a guide concerning plants that can damage your property.

Saving Money on Your House Move

Don't forget to compare removal quotes to save even more money on your home removal. Compare My Move can connect you with up to 6 professional removal companies in your area. We'll also save you up to 70% on the cost as well.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.

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