If you have a lot of potted plants, you may need to move them around. You may need to do this to protect them from the change in weather. Or it may just be for improving the aesthetics of your home.

It is bad to move houseplants or potted plants around because they will be changes to the habitat. The plant may not get sufficient heat, humidity, and sunlight or shade as needed. You also risk damaging the houseplant or potted plant while moving it.

I’ve written a lot of details below on when you should consider moving potted plants. And what all steps you can take to do the moving without causing the plants much damage.

What are the problems of moving potted plants?

1. Change in amount of light

If you move the potted plant around, this can affect the amount of light it receives. This can have a major impact on the health of the plant.

If the plant was in a low-light area and you move it to a location that gets more light, the leaves can get burned. If the plant was in an area receiving good light and you moved it to a location with poor light, the growth will be stunted.

This is a major problem especially when you move potted plants indoors and outdoors. The indoor lighting can be poor compared to the full sunlight received outdoors.

When you move the potted plants inside your house, one location may receive more or less light than another location. This could be regardless of whether you use artificial light or keep them near the windowsill to receive sunlight.

2. Change in amount of water

If you move your potted plant, there’s a chance it will impact the amount of water it receives.

You may move it to a location that is not easily accessible. This means the plant will receive less water than it used to earlier and cause problems with its growth.

There may be a change in the source of water which may introduce more minerals and salts into the potted plant. This can cause a buildup of impurities in the potting soil over time. And you will need to flush it out before every growing season.

3. Change in the temperature

Moving the potted plant especially between indoors and outdoors can cause a major shift in the heat it gets. This depends on the season when you move the plants.

If you move the indoor plants outside during summer they will get a lot more heat and can get sunburned. If you move the indoor plants outside during the fall they may get stressed due to the low temperature.

The opposite can happen if you move outdoor growing plants into your house. The plants are used to the heat available outside. So moving them inside would stress them out and stunt their growth.

4. Change in the environment

This is a big issue if you’re moving the potted plants between indoors and outdoors. There is a serious change in the environment you are placing the plant in.

The temperature, wind, and moisture conditions are very different in the two environments. Plants that are grown indoors need to be hardened before moving them outdoors.

If you don’t do that then they will suffer stress and their growth will be stunted. In the worst case, the plant will die due to the stress.

You can harden the potted plant by keeping it for a few hours outside every day. Make sure to keep it in shade and away from strong winds. After a week, the potted plant will be in a better state to be moved outside.

If you are moving plants outdoors, you don’t need to worry about pests as much because there will be natural predators like beneficial insects and animals taking care of the problem.

But when you move plants indoors, there is a higher chance of pests attacking the plant because the beneficial insects cannot easily enter your house.

If you have pets in the house, there is a chance that they will mess with the plants or the potting soil. So you’ll need to consider ways to keep them away from your potted plants.

When should you move potted plants?

There are times when you will have to move the potted plants to ensure better growth. This could be if the plant is not getting the required light, moisture, or heat.

You may need to move the potted plants because mold or fungus is growing on the potting soil or plant. Moving them outdoors especially in sunlight can help get rid of this problem.

You may need to move the potted plant outdoors because it has outgrown the pot. So you need to grow them in a larger pot.

You may need to move the potted plant indoors if the growing season is ending and it’s getting colder. Or the night temperature may have dropped and you need to protect the plant.

You may also need to move the plants indoors if there is a storm with heavy wind or rain and you need to protect them.

How to move potted plants?

Prepare the environment beforehand

You must make sure the new environment is comfortable for the potted plant. The location should get the required light and aeration for the plant.

You want to make sure that you can easily access the plant from all sides. This will help you when watering the plant or inspecting it for pests and diseases.

Make sure to protect the location from animals whether it’s wild critters or your own pets. Use mulch to cover up the potting soil and hide it from such animals.

Protect the potted plant from damage

Make sure you can move the potted plant with ease. Otherwise, you may drop the plant or hit it against a hard surface and damage it.

If the pot is heavy and difficult to move, you may need to place it on a moving tray. If the plants are in a grow bag, you want to make sure to use a moving tray. If you try to lift the bag, it may tear from the bottom.

Harden the potted plant before moving

It’s best to harden the potted plant before moving. Especially when you’re moving it from an indoor environment to outdoors.

Keep the potted plant outside for a couple of hours every day and bring it back in. Keep it in a protected location. This should have shade and protection from strong wind or rain.

After a week, the potted plant should have hardened so you can move it to the outdoor location without problems.

Give the potted plant sufficient water after you have moved it to another location. If the plant is not stressed, you can even add some potting soil and fertilizer to encourage growth.

Monitor the potted plant after moving

Once you have moved the plant to a new location, check its condition every day in the morning. See if there are signs of stress on the plant.

This may should up as yellowing or drooping leaves and stems. The plant may grow in a particular direction if there is poor sunlight.

Check if there is an attack by pests or diseases. This can happen if the plant is stressed after the move and weakened.

Monitor if the growth of the plant has slowed down. That is a sign of stress due to the movement of the plant.

Lack of sunlight caused Red Amaranth to die
Lack of sunlight caused my Red Amaranth seedlings to grow spindly and die

How to recover a potted plant from stress?

If you moved the potted plant and it has fallen under stress, there are some things you should do to recover it back.

Provide sufficient sunlight

Make sure the potted plant is getting sufficient light. This could be sunlight or artificial light if you’re growing them indoors. 

The amount of sunlight depends on the type of plant you’re growing. So check the requirements of the plant and provide as required.

Some plants may need full sunlight that is 6-8 hours. Some may need partial shade. And some others may need a lot of shade to grow well.

Provide sufficient water

This is similar to the light requirements of the plant. You need to understand how much water the plant needs.

Make sure to give sufficient water but ensure it’s not underwatered. You also want to avoid overwatering that can stress the plant further and cause root rot.

Succulent plants need a lot less water than most other plants. Some plants are hardy and don’t require as much water. The highest water requirement is by vegetable plants that need plenty of moisture to grow well.

Protect from the harsh environment

After moving the plant make sure it’s not in a harsh environment. This means you need to avoid very hot sun on the plant.

You should keep the plant away from strong wind or rain that will damage the plant and could even kill it.

If you see any signs of pests or diseases, you’ll need to take care of the problem immediately. This depends on what kind of problem is it and what is the right solution.

Move it back to the original location

If the plant is not showing signs of recovery after you have tried the above steps, you can try to move it back to the original location if possible.

This will give the plant the best chance of adjusting back to its original environment and trying to recover.

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