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Moving plants and gardens when moving home Help moving house by

Advice on moving your plants

Advice on moving your plants


There are always two sides to the story when moving house and plants are concerned. The seller who spent years lovingly cultivating a well stocked garden sometimes with rare or unusual plants and the buyer who may have decided to buy the property based on the kerb appeal of the garden. Some well maintained gardens can add 10-15 % to the value of a property.
The plants in your garden are classed within the fixtures and fittings list that you provide to your buyers before exchange, so if you do intend digging up your garden or even just one or two plants, do clarify this with your purchasers to avoid undue heartache and stress on moving day for yourself and the other party

Deciding on what to take

There are several factors that should influence your decision on what to take. The first is the vendor, the second are factors like seasons, soil type in your new garden and the type or size of your new space.

The plants in your garden are classed within the fixtures and fittings list

Seasons when moving plants play a major factor, try and move in dormant season (October- February) when most plants and trees have died down. However this is of course this is not always possible, especially in this market place where buyers are few and far between.

Soil type.
Ideally ask the vendor of your new property and if possible ask to look round the garden again. There isn't much point up moving plants/trees that won't withstand the replanting or like their new conditions. RHS website have a very informative section on garden microclimates

Draw a map of your new garden and make a rough guide to where new plants will go. Not only is moving house a new chapter in your life but planning out a new garden can be very exciting and challenging.

It is very important to show the removal companies, all the plants inside and out. Plants take up the most room in the back of a removal van.

Plan Ahead

Once you know you are moving and have a buyer there are a few simple steps that need to be put in place before the big moving day. Ideally do this a couple of months before.

  • Start pruning to restrict the growth of climbing plants, this will make them more manageable in transporting. (Only if it is the correct time of year to do so)
  • Take cuttings from your favourite plants
  • Start re-potting plants with a good plant compost so that they are as healthy as possible for the move.
  • If you are using a removal company it is really important to show them all the plants inside and out. Plants can take up the most room in the back of a removal van*.
  • *This is because you are unable to stack them on top of each other.

One week to go

  • Start moving all outside plants and furniture into a dry area like the garage, this gives them chance to dry out and stay dry for moving day. All your garden furniture and plants are placed onto the van with your other household furniture, you wouldn't want them to be wet and dripping all over your other items.
  • Pots & Troughs. Most garden pots and troughs are never moved, and any frost damage is not discovered until the removal men pick them up and the trough or plant pot falls to bits. This is quite common, and most removal companies will have any liability excluded on their contracts. If you are worried about this, empty out the contents to take the strain from the pot or trough. The removal men will take great care, but outside pots tend to be extremely difficult to lift as they can be covered in moss or wet. Remember to prune as there is nothing worse than a branch jabbing in your ear as you try to lift a very heavy pot or trough.

Outside on moving day

  • If you have plants to dig up, wrap the root ball in plastic sheeting making sure that the soil is moist. If you are moving in cold weather use bubblewrap or old sheets for added insulation against frost.
  • Box up pot less plants with cane supports to stabilise them for the van ride, remembering to line the top of the box with plastic.
  • In hot weather spray plants on moving day rather than direct watering and keep out of direct sunlight.

On moving day inside

  • Drain excess water from household plant pots. Line a carton with plastic sheeting, (a bin liner will do) and stand your plants inside. If the pots are breakable separate them with newspaper and clearly label the box "breakable". Don't shut the lid so that the moving team can see that there are plants inside and they won't stack anything on top. Large pots should be placed inside plastic bags to stop soil falling out.
  • All un boxed plants should be in newspaper to protect them.

Removal companies will always endeavor to handle your plants with great care, because plants are living creatures they will NOT be covered under any insurance policy. Liability for loss or damage is also probably excluded under their terms and conditions. You can find details usually on the back of the acceptance forms that you will have received.


For obvious reasons plants cannot be put into storage, some smaller removal firms will if for a short period of time store some of your plants. These will often be stored loose and sometimes outside, so they can be watered.

Settling in

  • Settle your new plants in as quickly as possible, giving them a really good watering.
  • If you can't plant straight away, dig a hole and cover the roots just so they are protected from frost. At a suitable time replant where you want them to be. Some plants don't like certain types of soil. If you are not sure, you can purchase a pH kit from most garden centres this will tell you if the soil is acidic or alkaline. Water them well with use fertiliser. Keep this up until full settled. Trees and large shrubs can take up to a year to settle in.
  • If the soil is frozen keep your plants wrapped up until you can replant.
  • Keep indoor plants wrapped up in newspaper, protected from the cold and draughts until the removal crew has finished and you can finally shut your doors.

Remember to check on your plants regularly.

Useful references: Royal Horticultural Society: Tree and shrubs: moving plants

Printable pdf Moving home and your plants


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