How I Moved Long Distance with Plants!

When we moved from Halifax to Ottawa, we did not have an apartment ready for us when we arrived in Ottawa (I actually still need to wait a few weeks to get in there). What happened was, we drove to Ottawa, stayed a few nights while looking for an apartment, drove to the cottage in Northern Ontario and stayed a week, drove back to Ottawa and are now staying in a temporary apartment with Premier Executive Suites. So, that’s a lot of moving around, maybe more than the average person moving does.

Where are all of my belongings right now? Well back on July 25th, they were all boxed up and shipped to some storage facility outside of Ottawa, just waiting for me to move into my new apartment. We were prepared for them to store our belongings for around 2 months because we weren’t sure if we would find an apartment for September or October. The downside of this? They couldn’t ship my plants because they would die from lack of sunlight and water in the storage facility.

I love plants. I was so sad that I wouldn’t be able to bring them with me. Our car is so small, and with 2 suitcases and a cat, we were already almost full.

Plants back in Halifax
Some of my plants back in Halifax – RIP Fiddle Leaf Fig

On one of my last packing days, I moved all of my plants into the living room. I chose a box that was about the size of one of my suitcases, and told myself to choose as many plants as I could to fill the box. I started picking my favourites, and picking which plants I thought were tough enough to live through changes in sunlight a few times. I chose a few cacti, my orchid that I’ve had for 7+ years, a ZZ plant (those things live through everything), a Pothos hanging plant that was passed down to me, and a Staghorn Fern that recently sprouted a very large leaf. With the space left in the box between some of the larger planters, I picked some really small plants that I had around, including some airplants.

Sisterhood of the Travelling Plants
A banana box was the perfect size

I had to leave some plants behind, anything that was too large, such as my Fiddle Leaf Fig, and Bird of Paradise. I also had to leave a few little succulents, some cacti, and a large aloe plant.

The day before we moved, I watered all of the plants. I made sure every plant was snug in the box so they wouldn’t fall over or get their leaves pinched during the long car rides.

Okay, so here is when the suitcase sized box comes into play – on the back seat of my car, I laid down 1 suitcase, I then placed the box of plants on top of the suitcase and used the seat belts from 2 seats to hold both items in place. Seriously, look how silly this looks:

At every destination that we had along the way, we needed to remove the plants from the car. I simply would remove the seat belts and carry the plant box inside where ever we were staying, and place it in front of a window. We were also traveling with a cat, who I couldn’t leave in the car even for a few minutes to grab lunch (um, the heat would make him sick or kill him), so I used the same rule with the plants.


I made sure to feel their soil every few days, especially after a travel day, to make sure they had the proper amount of water. Some of the plants got more sunlight in the car than they are used to, so I wanted to make sure they were well hydrated.

Now that we are at one location for a few weeks, I’ve taken the plants out of the box and placed them around the living room area so they get the levels of sunlight they are used to. When we move into our permanent apartment in a few weeks, I will pack them back into the same box to move them.

All of the plants are doing well so far, and we have currently been to 4 different houses and travelled a grand total of 2,500 KM in a small, red Fiesta. When we are settled, I will go out and buy a few bigger plants to replace the plants I had to leave behind.

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