Moving with Plants

Whether you only have a few or dozens of house plants, moving with your house plants may not always be possible. Generally, if you are moving internationally, the transportation of plants across national borders is often severely restricted or altogether prohibited. The restrictions on the transportation and importation of plants are in place to limit the possibility of the introduction of pests or diseases that could have devastating effects on a country's ecosystem or agricultural sector. In addition, the inclusion of plants or plant cuttings in your international household goods shipment could result in substantial fines and delays in the clearance of your shipment. Do not include plants in your international household goods shipment, but rather donate them to friends and family.

If you are moving domestically and wish to take your plants to your new home, you still need to be aware of state and federal regulations that govern the movement of plants across state borders. Some states require that state-of-origin certificates be provided or that plants be quarantined to ensure that they are not harboring destructive pests.

Furthermore, you should inform your carrier that you are planning on including house plants in your shipment so the carrier is aware of your intentions. This can help avoid possible complications later on. In addition, it gives the carrier opportunity to provide you with their individual policies concerning the transportation of house plants.

According to federal regulations, household goods carriers are permitted to transport house plants if:

  • The shipment in which the plants are included does not travel more than 150 miles and/or is delivered and unloaded within 24 hours of the loading time.
  • The shipment does not require storage.
  • The plants do not require preliminary or en route servicing such as watering and/or special care

You can find more information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

You can also download a brochure on preparing outdoor furnishings and equipment for transportation. A PDF brochure called Don’t Move the Gypsy Moth gives a number of pointers on what to look for before backing outdoor furnishings. The USDA instructs us not to make a move before we check for the gypsy moth.