Is It Okay to Keep Moving Around Your Houseplants?

updated May 24, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Rachel Jacks

There are two types of people when it comes to home decorating: those who embellish a space and then consider it done, and those who love to switch things up. 

If you fall into the latter category and are constantly giving your rooms a refresh, you may be wondering if it’s okay to get your houseplants in on the action. The short answer, according to plant experts? Yep, you can. The longer answer? We’ve got some caveats and tips, so keep reading below. 

A quick heads-up: Note that any specific plants mentioned in this story or any others may be toxic to pets or humans. “Toxic” plants can induce symptoms that range from mild (upset stomach) to severe (possible death). If you have a cat, dog, or kid, make sure you research the plants ahead of time on a reputable site like, or by calling your vet or pediatrician.

Let the Newbies Rest for a Bit 

If you’ve just brought home a new green addition, it can be super tempting to try out a bunch of different spots for it. But Agatha Isabel, Brooklyn-based owner of the online Plant Ma Shop, recommends first letting a new plant hang out in one location for two to three weeks so it can get used to your home. 

“Usually you just want to let it chill in an indirect bright light situation, even if over time it can acclimate to direct light, and then let it acclimate to your space,” she says. “Once it’s acclimated to your space, you can totally move it around.”

Credit: Viv Yapp

Realize that Some Plants Are More up for a Move Than Others

Substantial plants tend to be more resilient, so options like philodendrons, monsteras, snake plants, and ZZ plants should be able to handle frequent moving. But with other types, you may need to be more careful. “You have species such as your fiddle leaf fig or your crotons that will lose leaves simply by moving and having to reacclimate,” says Barry Greene, owner and lead plant stylist at Shades of Moss Plant + Design Studio in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Once you get them where you like them, they pretty much like to remain there.”

Isabel adds that older plants in your collection that have gotten very used to their environment may also not want to be moved often, as they “might have a little bit more of a bounce back time.” 

When Relocating Your Plants, Stick with a Consistent Lighting Level 

“The biggest thing to keep in mind is the lighting in your space,” says Tylor Rogers, co-owner of Arium Botanicals plant shop in Portland, Oregon. So if you’re moving a plant and that plant is used to a certain amount of light, ensure that it can get that same level of sunshine in its new spot. 

“Let’s say you have your monstera that’s growing wonderfully right beside your western window, and you want to move it all the way across the room to a space that’s going to get very little light. You’re going to notice those changes,” Rogers explains. “It’s not going to be growing as vigorously. It’s going to be drying out a lot slower. You might see some stunted leaves and things like that.”

If it isn’t possible to give your plant the same dose of natural light in a new place, you always have the option of adding a grow light to the area. 

Credit: Diana Paulson

Don’t Make Big Temp Changes, Either 

For some plants, a move near extreme heat or cold won’t end well. Rogers mentions that placing greenery too close to air conditioning units, fireplaces, or vents could spell trouble. “Some plants are going to be a little more susceptible to having damaged leaves or crisping edges if they are moved near those sources,” he says. Rogers notes that ferns, calatheas, and prayer plants are some of the types most likely to be impacted in these cases, while heartier varieties like those aforementioned philodendrons and monsteras shouldn’t be affected as strongly. 

In a similar vein, Greene says to be mindful when placing plants near windows during the colder months. “Make sure there’s no draft, and that the foliage isn’t touching the actual window if it’s cold outdoors,” he says. “That will also bring damage to the foliage.” 

Remember to think about the humidity levels in your space, too, says Isabel. “If you’re moving something from the kitchen or the bathroom — which might tend to have more humidity because of the space that it’s in — and you don’t have, for example, a humidifier in your bedroom, that plant might react.” 

Oh, and Check for Pests Before Moving 

Prior to picking up that pothos, Rogers suggests making sure it isn’t home to any insects.

“If you set up this great little jungle corner and you bring in a plant that was otherwise isolated by itself and did have pests, and you brought that into the mix because you’re moving your plants around, you could spread those pests to your entire collection,” he says. “Giving them a quick look-down, or just making sure that they are pest-free or you don’t see any signs of pests before you start moving things around, is going to be a great thing to do beforehand.” 

Apartment Therapy’s Styling with Plants vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Greendigs.