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Tips for Moving Heavy Potted Plants

Big outdoor planters are a great way to display flowers, but moving them is backbreaking. Here’s a simple way to cut the weight in half—and improve drainage at the same time.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Problem: Heavy potted plants

Buy a bag of foam packing peanuts instead (available at office supply stores). Fill the pot one-third to one-half full of peanuts, cover with landscape fabric and then add soil. This cuts the weight and saves money, since peanuts cost less than good potting soil. However, a smaller amount of soil means more frequent watering. To slow evaporation, cover the soil with wood mulch.

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Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Foam packing peanuts
    • Landscape fabric
    • Potting soil
    • Wood mulch

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 7 of 7 comments
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September 19, 12:51 PM [GMT -5]

This is not exactly a tip for **moving** a heavy pot. This is a tip on how to make a pot lightweight.

July 11, 1:52 PM [GMT -5]

You have to be careful about what packing peanuts you get. The newer ones are biodegradable and will dissolve when they come in contact with water.

May 10, 12:02 PM [GMT -5]

Two years ago Better Homes and Gardens mentioned a product which I have been using in my containers. They are called Packing Pearls. I have since learned this product earned the Blue Ribbon at the IGC Trade Show in Chicago for best innovative new gardening product and I can see why!
The foam peanuts you suggest folks use are manufactured-who knows where and with who knows what toxins. They also do not hold their shape but break up into tiny pieces clogging drainage and inhibiting good air flow.
The Packing Pearls, however, are specifically made for container gardening and they are made right here in the USA! They are toxin-free (good for veggie growing) plus they maintain their round shape and are not messy to work with as the crumbly foam peanuts are. You owe it to your readers to check it out www.packingpearls.com
Sincerely, Francie Southwick, Dinwiddie, Virgina


May 09, 12:48 PM [GMT -5]

What a mess the peanuts are...the roots go through the fabric, get caught up in the peanuts. Also, the peanuts compress and shut down the drainage.
When I went to try and recycle them, they would not take them!

Then I found Packing Pearls and it took care of all of the problems that the peanuts made. I love them!!!!!

April 30, 5:25 PM [GMT -5]

How about plans for a plant stand with wheels to move these heavy plants? They cosy anywhere from 10 - 40 dollars at the big box stores and I hope Handyman mag can come up with a less expensive alternative.

April 19, 9:52 PM [GMT -5]

Good idea in concept. In practice, the peanuts biodegrade very quickly and the soil begins to sink, requiring more potting soil.


April 27, 10:14 AM [GMT -5]

Love this tip. I usually use gravel chips, instead of foam peanuts, which makes the pot really heavy!!! It is time for me to do a lot of repotting and I will definitely try this tip.

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Tips for Moving Heavy Potted Plants

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