How To Move Houseplants In Winter

If you have indoor plants, taking into account their health and safety will be crucial when you move to a new place. Your plants have taken a lot of care and effort to grow, so moving them may be challenging at any time of year. Moving can be particularly harmful to a plant’s health during the chilly winter months. With a little forethought, you can be confident that your plants will travel safely and remain at ease during a winter transfer.

Plants should only be watered if they are extremely dry and no less than two days before relocation day. Give them only a little water; if the earth is saturated with water, they may freeze if exposed to the cold for an extended period of time.

Wrap large plants with newspaper, paper bags, or an old bed sheet to help prevent breaking. If required, repot plants, then pack sturdy pots in a box. For a tight fit, wrap paper tightly around the pot. To ensure proper airflow, poke air holes inside the box and loosely fasten the lid. Make sure that boxes are ALWAYS maintained upright and correctly labeled.

Temperature extremes are not a plant’s friend. During transport, keep the car at a comfortable temperature. If you’re transporting the plants in your own car, keep them out of the trunk that isn’t heated, and never leave them there overnight.

As soon as you get there, move your houseplants into their new home to get them out of the cold. When moving in, keep them away from doors and walkways to provide further protection from damage from foot traffic and chilly air gusts.

Your plants will survive a cold weather transfer brilliantly if you take great preparation before moving day. They will be prepared to thrive and grow in their new home with your tender care.

In the winter, should I move my indoor plants?

While the end of your personal summer break may have been predetermined, determining when that would be necessary for your indoor plants can be a little more challenging. It all relies on the temperature, and more specifically, the lows during the night. Make sure to bring your indoor plants back inside before the nighttime low falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Damage is likely to occur at lower temperatures, especially to sensitive young leaf and stem tips.

Adjust Your Watering Routine

Although it may seem contradictory, the majority of indoor plants require less water in the winter. Despite the fact that winter air is dryer, plants develop more slowly and some even fall into complete dormancy during the colder months. As a result, plants require less water to maintain their hydration, and overwatering can cause root rot. Remember that different plants require varied amounts of water. Drought-tolerant cacti and other succulents may not require any watering, whilst certain tropical plants may still need more frequent watering.

Winter months can cause surface soil to dry up more quickly, but it isn’t necessarily a sign that the plant needs water. When the soil is dry an inch or two below the surface, test it with your finger; if it is, it’s time to get the watering can out.


Do not water your houseplants with cold water. To prevent shocking the roots of the plant, use water that is close to room temperature. In some winter climates, tap water can become very chilly; thus, wait several hours before using it to water your plants. This kind of gradual warming also enables dissolved gases, such chlorine, to evaportate from the water.

Alter Humidity Levels

The largest challenge that indoor plants face throughout the winter months is often low humidity levels. Plants like a humidity level that is closer to 50%, which might drop to 10 to 20% in heated homes during the winter. If your home has a humidifier, move your plants there so they can benefit from it. If you don’t have a humidifier, find another way to increase the humidity.

Organize your plants first into groupings. Plants naturally release water through their leaves through transpiration, thus combining them will make good use of that moisture. Because they absorb moisture from showers and cooking, bathrooms and kitchens are the greatest places to keep plants.

The age-old method of putting your plants on or close to a tray of water is another excellent choice. But avoid letting the plants submerge themselves in the water. Put stones or pebbles in the tray to elevate the pots’ bottoms above the water line, then set the pots on top of the stones. By doing this, humidity levels will rise without encouraging root rot.

Instead than helping the plants, misting usually works better at making the gardener feel good about themselves. You might believe that spraying your plants will provide them with some comfort, however misting just provides a brief burst of moisture. Because indoor temperatures allow moisture to evaporate quickly, misting is necessary several times a day to be effective. Try misting if you only have a few plants and believe you will be really diligent about it. An indoor plant may rarely be over-mist. Misting plants in humid summers can result in fungal issues, but this shouldn’t be a concern in the winter.

Pay Attention to Temperature

Like most people, most plants thrive in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night and between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Keep your plants away from heat sources like radiators, ovens, fireplaces, and electronics in order to give them that, as well as from chilly drafts. Houseplants can die from temperature changes just as quickly as from extended exposure to heat or cold.

Follow the Sun

In addition to having fewer daylight hours, wintertime sunlight also comes in at a lower angle. Your houseplants might need to be moved to a brighter location or even given more light. An all-day sunny window with a south or west orientation is an ideal location. Moving plants next to a chilly window, however, should be avoided since they might experience a draft.

Every time you water your plants, rotate the pots by roughly a quarter of a turn. This prevents some branches from reaching for the light, allowing the plant to grow evenly and receive some sun on all sides.

The amount of light that reaches plant leaves can also be diminished by layers of dust. This dust can be removed from leaves with a moist cloth, giving plants more access to light during the winter.

Plants will need to be exposed to the grow lights for extended periods of time in regions where the winter sun is essentially nonexistent and where the majority of their light comes from supplemental lighting. If a plant needs six hours of direct sunshine, it can also require an additional 12 or 14 hours of light to provide the same amount of energy. Grow lights are far less strong than sunlight, thus plants require more time under them to absorb enough energy.

Put Your Houseplants on a Diet

Because they are not growing as quickly in the winter, the majority of houseplants don’t require any fertilizer. Stop feeding them until early spring as continuing to do so would only disrupt their natural cycle. Resuming fertilization will give them a boost for the growing season if you start to notice new growth or the present leaves seem to be turning greener.

Some tropical plants grow rather actively all winter long, especially vining climbers or trailers, and they may still need some feeding, but often at decreased rates.

How may indoor plants be moved without harming them?

Pack your plants the night or morning before the relocation. Newspaper or packing paper, tape, strong boxes tall enough for each plant, and plastic bags big enough for the pots are all required.

Before packing a plant, tape the box’s bottom firmly. Then, to help prevent dirt from overflowing and to help retain moisture, place the pot inside one of the plastic bags and seal it at the base of the plant. After that, carefully insert the plant inside the box, leaving a gap for packing paper in between. Close the box after making a few air holes in the side. Put “Live Plant” and “Fragile” on the label.

Can you move plants during the winter?

Perennials should ideally be moved in the early spring and late fall, when temperatures are not too warm. The worst times to try moving are during the scorching summer months when the weather is dry. When plants are taken out of the soil during this time, they quickly experience stress. The best time to move trees and bushes is in the winter. A transfer in the late spring or summer, however, would be feasible if the season has been exceptionally rainy.

How cold is too cold for plants to be transported?

I’ve recently developed a keen interest in growing houseplants, and I’d like to continue expanding my collection over the winter. However, I’m concerned about how to transport the plants home without their suffering damage from the cold. What is the best course of action?

If you take the right steps, you should be able to buy indoor plants all winter long.

Avoid purchasing them on days that are really cold, below 20 degrees, as it will be more difficult to safeguard them during transport. Even days in the 30s, which may seem warm to us, can cause cold injury to more delicate plants.

Plants are typically wrapped in garden centers as a standard practice to protect them from chilly conditions. If not, request that they do so. Additionally, wrapping the plants prevents them from shattering.

Before bringing the plants from the store and setting them inside, warm the vehicle, especially if the outside temperature is below freezing. The importance of warming up the car increases as the temperature drops.

To prevent them from toppling over when you stop, accelerate, and make turns, position the plants in the car in a stable area. Never put them in the trunk of a cold automobile or leave them there for any period of time. Make the garden center your last stop if your to-do list includes purchasing plants.

Each plant should be placed on a sturdy surface at home before being carefully peeled or cut open from the bottom up. Avoid attempting to remove the plant’s wrapper because you risk breaking the stems, blossoms, or leaves.

Once a plant is inside, if you can’t immediately remove the covering, prop the top open so it can breathe. A maximum of 24 hours should pass before removing plants from their wrappings.

How should a houseplant be transported?

Your house plants can travel for up to three days without needing any care if you properly follow our moving-plant recommendations.


To prepare your plants for relocating so they can withstand changes in their environment without withering or breaking, follow these instructions:

  • three weeks before the actual move. Plants should be repotted from clay pots into equivalent-sized, shatterproof plastic containers.
  • two weeks before the actual move. With your thumb and forefinger, pinch back younger growth on larger plants while you remove dead leaves, branches, and blossoms with scissors or gardening shears. Plants that have been pruned will be more manageable and transportable. After your move, it will also produce gorgeous, bushy, healthy plants. Never cut down ferns or succulents (e.g., cactus, jade plants, aloe).
  • one week before the actual move. Verify plants for parasites and insects. Apply pesticides with caution and according to label instructions. Have a plan for donating or disposing of any pesticides before relocating since they are on our list of prohibited products.
  • two days before the actual move. Regularly water your plants, being careful not to overwater. In cold weather, too much water can cause plants to freeze, while in warm weather, it can encourage the growth of fungi.


Pack your plants the night before or the morning of your relocation to get ready. Following are some moving plant packing tips:

  • Wrap. To stop branches from breaking, wrap big plants in tissue paper or an old bed sheet.
  • Position. A box should fit each pot tightly at the bottom. Use standard moving boxes, such as dish packs, that are offered by your Atlas mover.
  • Pack. If required, lay paper around the pot’s base in the box to keep it in place. To allow plants to breathe, poke holes in the box’s sides and loosely fasten the lid.
  • Label. Mark the top and sides of the boxes using a sharpie. This will lessen the chance of their accidently being loaded onto the moving truck.
  • Control. Ensure that the inside of your car is at a comfortable temperature. Your plants might suffer from extreme cold or heat.


It’s crucial to restore your plants to the state they were in at your former residence once you’ve settled into your new one. This is how:

  • Unpack. Plants should be unpacked as soon as feasible. To avoid breaking, remove the plants through the bottom of the box.
  • Place. Repot plants in containers that are the same size as the ones you had before moving.
  • Stabilize. Plants should not be moved until they have acclimated.
  • Heal. Give your plant a few days to recover if it experiences transplant shock as a result of your transfer. Follow the advice in “Common Household Plants and How to Care for Them” if your plant still seems unwell.

To avoid breaking leaves and branches, remove the plants through the bottom of the box.

Your plants will transfer successfully if you plan ahead and pay close attention. They’ll be prepared to thrive in their new home, just like you.

In the winter, should I move my plants away from the window?

The easiest time of year to kill a houseplant is definitely during the winter. Houseplants are put to the test by harsh growing conditions like low light levels, dry air, shorter days, and frigid temperatures.

Making care routine adjustments to accommodate seasonal growing circumstances is the key to ensuring that plants survive the winter. Review the fundamentals to provide your indoor plants with the best care during winter.

Winter causes the sun to set later in the day, which results in a 50% reduction in light levels near windows. During the winter, indoor plants that thrive near a sunny eastern or northern window during the summer may require a southern or western exposure. Similarly, plants near windows in the west or south that require filtered light in the summer might be able to endure direct sunlight in the winter.

To aid plants in adjusting to shifting light conditions:

  • If it’s possible, move plants nearer to the windows.
  • Window cleaning will maximize light transmission.
  • For the winter, move plants to new areas next to windows with more light.
  • Cleanse plants to allow leaves to utilize the light that is available to the fullest.
  • Add synthetic lighting. Fluorescent lights are sufficient. They generate less heat and are less expensive than conventional grow lights. For best results, place bulbs 4–12 inches away from plants.

Tropical plants, which make up the majority of indoor plants, like daytime temperatures of 65 to 75 F and nighttime temperatures of around 10 F lower. Low temperatures (below 50F) can be problematic for many plants.

In order to make the thermostats more comfortable for you, keep in mind that your plants also require some thought.

  • Keep plants away from heat sources and cold gusts.
  • Maintain a few inches of space between plants and external windows.
  • Plants should be moved away from windows at nightfall in cold climates if windows freeze over at night. Additionally, you may tuck a thick shade or another insulating item between the plants and the glass.

In the cold, homes might only provide 5–10% relative humidity. Houseplants prefer 40–50%. Brown leaf tips and the presence of pests like Spider Mites are indicators that plants are being stressed by low humidity. Learn how to increase the humidity around plants in simple methods.

Overwatering is the most frequent issue that indoor plants encounter throughout the winter. 95% of indoor plants require the soil to almost totally dry out before watering. How do you determine whether plants need water?

  • Don’t only test a small area of the soil’s surface. When the root zone is dry, plants require moisture. Insert your finger up to two inches into the ground. Water the soil if it’s dry.
  • Pick up the pot. When soil gets dry, it becomes lighter. Lift pots right away after watering to feel the texture of the moist soil.
  • Plants won’t need water as frequently if winterized rooms are humidified. Water must be added to dry air.
  • The only exceptions to this rule are citrus and ferns in pots, both of which require continually moist soil. If you are uncertain, always do your research.

Never let plants sit in water that gathers in the drainage saucer overnight when you water.

Fertilize plants all winter long in mild climates. Winter fertilization of indoor plants is not recommended in the coldest climates with little natural light. When springtime outside plants begin to grow, fertilizer can be resumed.

In the spring and summer, when most indoor plants are actively growing, is the ideal time to repot them. Potted woody plants that entirely hibernate in the winter are the exception. Transplant those in the early spring before the buds break.

  • Numerous advantages of houseplants include bettering indoor air quality and lowering sickness rates.