How to move succulents long distances

It can be difficult to transition your succulents to a new environment. These pointers will ensure that the transition is successful and secure.

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I’ve had a lot of experience relocating my plants since I’ve been moving around a lot in the last few years.

At times the outcome was positive, however, at other times it was not.

If you are considering relocating succulents that are in pots or containers, I can provide some advice. However, if the succulents are planted in the ground, I do not have much experience in that area. Therefore, you may need to decide for yourself if it is best to dig them up and then follow the tips or not.

Let’s discuss how to transport your succulents. Depending on the size and shape of your succulents, you will need to make sure they are properly secured for the journey.

1. Always be kind and respectful to others.
2. Strive to do your best in all activities.

My husband continually reminds me we can’t purchase any more cactus, while my mother insists we should just toss them all out and not bother with the hassle of moving them. Despite this, I continue to buy more and we have to transport them.

Let’s discuss specific strategies that will enable you to realize both of your objectives and make the transition as smooth and effortless as possible.

Don’t water before moving

Watering succulents prior to transporting them is a major issue. Firstly, this adds extra weight to the containers. Secondly, cars and trucks provide less air circulation, making it more difficult for the soil to dry out, which can result in the succulents rotting.

I suggest that you give yourself a couple of weeks’ notice before you move so that you can properly care for the soil. Make sure to wet it thoroughly and give it enough time to dry entirely before the relocation. In my experience, it usually takes about 4-5 days for the soil to be ready.

This enables the soil to dry out, yet the succulents are sufficiently hydrated that they can remain unwatered for up to a week.

Contain small containers

I wish I had known earlier how helpful it is to put a piece of foam at the bottom of the pot before filling it with soil. This provides a cushion that helps the pot stay upright during transport, greatly reducing the risk of a mess.

1. A sturdy pot lid
2. A strong pot holder.

    Reusable cloth or canvas bags can be used instead of plastic bins.

I strongly suggest obtaining a number of plastic containers. I utilized these 15.5 quart containers for my garden organizing venture and they worked perfectly for lugging around my assortment of smaller sized pots.

I was able to place a variety of sizes of containers in the bins, leaving very little space for anything else. The pots were snug enough that they stayed in place, even when the vehicle encountered rough terrain.

I crumpled up pieces of Kraft paper and used them to fill the gaps and keep the pots in place. This was especially useful for smaller pots that needed extra support. The Kraft paper has been incredibly helpful in a variety of situations.

You can substitute Kraft paper with other materials for cushioning between pots when packing them away – such as newspaper, grocery bags, towels, rags, and more. These materials are flexible enough to wad up and pack into the spaces between your dishes, while still providing enough strength and protection.

If your succulents are of a small enough size, you can stack them with their lids on to save space. However, be sure not to leave them in there for an extended period of time as this can lead to issues (which will be discussed further on the following page).

Use nursery flats and trays

Have you ever seen the variety of trays nurseries employ to showcase their plants? They can be quite numerous! Don’t let them go to waste – if you’re visiting a nursery soon, don’t be afraid to ask if you can take a couple home with you. Doing so will help to make relocating your plants much easier (and cheaper!) in the future.

The type at the top left is great for transporting multiple flower pots without the risk of them falling over. The next time you’re at a nursery, check out the underside of the tables, or inquire with a staff member if you don’t spot any.

Planters with handles

Planters with handles

These succulent containers may not be the most visually appealing, yet they are an ideal choice if you need to transfer your succulents a lot. The five-gallon size is very sturdy, so it won’t be likely to topple over when you move it in your car.

Use a plant dolly or cart

I have two solutions to make handling large pots a breeze:  utilizing a dolly or having a helper. A dolly is essential for placing the pot in the desired location, while an extra set of hands can help carry the pot safely.

    used to transport plants.

I’ve owned the plant dolly for quite some time now; it was featured in my post about pot feet. It’s usually occupied with one of my bigger pots, but I take it with me when I’m doing some moving. I wheel one pot onto it, and then use it to transport the rest.

This makes the moving process much simpler. With a relatively even surface, the amount of effort required is reduced significantly.

I purchased the flat bed cart from Bonsai Jack, who was testing out some new items for their warehouse. It’s really handy and can support up to 600 pounds of weight!

I wheeled the cart around with my bins of succulents and larger pots that wouldn’t fit into the smaller boxes. I’ve had the cart for some time now and have been using it constantly for the past few months. My two year old also enjoys pushing it around!

I strongly suggest utilizing the bucket that accompanies the cart when transporting items up or down an incline. This makes a world of difference. Without the bucket, I had multiple items slipping off when going down a gentle slope.

Secure containers and larger pots

I was fortunate enough to be relocating only a short distance away, so I was able to use my Subaru Outback to transport all of my belongings – including my pots and pans.

The rubber mat in the back created friction and kept the plastic bins from shifting, while their close proximity left little room to maneuver.

I secured the bins in the bed of the truck by wrapping them in duct tape to prevent slipping and sliding during the move.

You can secure larger pots by using straps to fasten them together or to the vehicle. You could use a single strap to bind a few pots together, or secure each one individually to keep them in place.

The best way to prevent tipping is to ensure that the pots are securely held in place, such as with a barrier or bracket that prevents them from slipping. Alternatively, large pots can be safely situated in a cardboard box that is just slightly larger than the pot itself, as this will provide a more stable support than the pot alone.

Keep cacti (and your hands) protected

It can be difficult to adhere to the suggestion I made earlier about keeping cacti away from other objects.

An effective way to prevent cacti and other succulents from coming into contact with one another is to create some sort of barrier between them. There are a few different approaches you can take, such as placing potted plants in a tray of sand or gravel, or using plastic or wooden dividers to separate them in the same container.

Alternative: If possible, put all the cacti in a single container and keep it separate from other plants. However, this may not be feasible.

An alternative I would suggest is to cover the pot with a material like Kraft paper, a towel that can house spines, or newspaper.

If possible, it is best to keep cacti away from other plants to reduce the chance of their spines making contact with anything.

Be careful to put on gloves when touching your cactus as well. I’m aware of how quickly spines can lodge into your skin from even the slightest contact.

It’s a good idea to clean the outside edge of your pot before handling it to make sure there are no prickles or thorns that may have stuck to the surface.

Shorten time in covered vehicles

Try to avoid keeping your succulents in a dark, enclosed area (such as a trunk or moving truck) for too long, as this can have a negative impact on the plant’s health. Since these spaces have limited light and airflow, the succulents may not be able to survive in these conditions for an extended period.

It’s not typical to see this issue with Aloes and Agaves, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. The succulent may look as if it has been given too much water, and is beginning to decay. Fortunately, the plant typically won’t die from this, and with proper care, the new growth will be unaffected.

Ensure that your succulents are kept in a moderate environment as much as you can. When relocating in the summertime, make sure to avoid any area where temperatures go beyond 90°F. In the winter, make sure to put them in a place that is warm enough, with temperatures no lower than 40°F.

If you’re in a car, you should have no problem keeping your succulents at a comfortable temperature. However, if you’re in a large moving truck, you may find it more difficult to maintain a mild temperature. If you’re planning a long journey, be sure to check on your plants periodically and take them out of the vehicle if you will be stopped for the night.

Pay attention to the new growing area

Finding the right location for your succulents after a move can be tricky. Firstly, ensure they are in a temperate area for a few days, regardless of whether they were accustomed to full sun before. Once they have adjusted, you can start to introduce them to areas with increased levels of heat or sunlight.

I have struggled with this issue repeatedly and unfortunately, during our most recent relocation, my collection of cuttings and leaves which I was propagating (as seen in this post) were particularly affected. I had placed them in a spot that I believed was shaded for the majority of the day, only to find that two days later, most of them were severely sunburnt.

Take my advice: keep your succulents in a sheltered spot until you figure out the best place for them to thrive. A bit of precaution is preferable to dealing with heat exhaustion and sunburn later.

It can be difficult to gauge the amount of sunlight in a new area, but if you observe it at different times of the day, you can get a sense of the lighting conditions. Once you are satisfied with the amount of light for your succulents, you can start placing them in their permanent home.

Instead of going outside, you can easily accomplish this task inside. Locate the window that lets in the most light and you’re good to go!

I hope that this advice will assist you in making your next move with minimal damage to your plants, as well as keeping your car relatively clean. Make sure to be as secure as possible with the packing process and your plants and possessions should remain intact.


How do you replant succulents without killing them?

First, select a container that is larger than your succulent’s current pot, although not too large as this can be damaging to the plant. You can line the drainage holes with a permeable material such as a coffee filter, although this is not essential. Finally, fill the pot with soil, layering it as needed.

What is the best way to transplant succulents?

Replant the succulents at the same depth they were before, packing the soil around them for stability. Spread a layer of gravel or small stones on top of the soil to help the plants settle and give them time to heal any broken roots before watering. It is important not to keep succulents in wet soil for too long.

What to do after transplanting a succulent?

Plant your succulents at the same depth they were grown originally and make sure to pack the soil around them firmly. Top the newly planted area with gravel or grit and give the plants some time to adjust (at least a day or two) before watering them. Remember to never overwater your succulents as they cannot tolerate being wet for too long.

Do succulents have transplant shock?

When transplanting succulents, it is important to be as gentle as possible in order to avoid transplant shock, which can cause damage to the roots and hinder the plant’s growth. Make an effort to keep the root ball intact to minimize disturbance to the roots.

Should I water succulents after transplanting?