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how do you ship plants?

Posted by greentoe357 7b NYC under lights (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 2, 14 at 23:16

I finally divided a couple of my large hoyas and am thinking of trading them. The risk of a mix-heavy pot banging against tender plant parts in some USPS truck, or of leaves rotting in transit because the mix was wet, seems like a real concern to me.

So, how do you ship plants?

If I did this with any regularity, I could do something like this:

Or at least like this:

But I suspect for just a plant here and a few there, I should ship it when the medium is approaching dryness, unpot and remove some of the mix, wrap in dry paper towel, then into plastic bag (should I mist some water on the mix or on the paper towel?), and do something like this:

Any other advice?

Hoyas I am talking about are pretty drought-tolerant, and I'll restrict my shipments to the continental US only, so it's a matter of 2-3 days in the mail.

I am also curious though how you'd do this differently for more moisture-loving plants.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: how do you ship plants?

I've mostly shipped cuttings, taken the day I sent the box. If succulent, they need to callous anyway, I wrap loosely in newspaper, or put in a toilet paper/paper towel roll if it's a whole stem that will fit, so the leaves don't get crushed or knocked off.

For something that would wilt, wrap a damp (but not enough to drip) paper towel around the cut end, covered with a baggie taped on (to itself, not the plant) tight enough to stay on, but loose enough that it won't damage the stem. Then I like to slip the baggie-covered end into a tp/pt roll, to ensure no bending occurs there, and that the baggie/towel stays on.

Plants that have roots, I remove from the pot, put roots in a baggie and taped loosely shut around the stem. Sit back in a clean pot, wrap up the whole pot and root ball in a plastic shopping bag and twist/tape loosely shut.

Fill any empty spaces in the box with (more plants!) wadded newspaper so there's as little shifting as possible.

RE: how do you ship plants?

I rarely ship plants potted. Potted plants tend to be far more expensive to ship, more of a pain to pack, and messier to boot.

Like Tiffany, I typically send either cuttings or bare root. With bareroot, a damp paper wrapped around the roots and then enclosing the roots in a plastic bag (leave some air in the bag) works well. Keeps the roots hydrated, reduces cost and mess.

RE: how do you ship plants?

anybody else wondering how a plant changes its sex?

RE: how do you ship plants?

Hoyas are usually quite easy. They're mostly propagated from cuttings and that's all you need to send, no soil or anything. I dip them in water and shake excess off before putting them into plastic bags. I always package them up so that they're cushioned against knocks and bumps, and packed with some padding to stop any movement. I've sent Hoyas to Thailand without any problems, they arrived in perfect condition.

RE: how do you ship plants?

Hi GT,

I usually do it w/ cuttings, but yesterday, I shipped out a rooted plant. Was a Euph milii, about 6" tall from the soil line up.

So I stopped watering it a week in advance (this is a succulent, it can take that). I unpotted it & crumbled off most of its dry mix w/ my fingers. Having been suggested to me that I leave a bit of mix on the roots, I did, I just took MOST of it off.

I then wrapped the DRY rootball w/ a paper towel or 2 & then wrapped that in newsprint the rest of the way, leaving the top leaves out as it was (1) blooming & (2) still needed an overnight before shipping.

The next day, I wrapped newspapers around all of it more tightly, including the top leaves & blooms (& taped that securely), & placed it in a Priority Mail box. I placed separate plastic bags of packing peanuts around it to cushion it should the box get slammed around in shipping.

I strongly suggest you not plastic bag up the whole thing for fear of rot, which can happen very quickly.

When I've received Hoyas or Tropicals in the mail, folks tend to plastic bag just the roots (w/ a twister tie, like from a bread bag), after applying lightly moistened paper towel, leaving the balance of the plant exposed to the open air.

I have not lost any plants that I've received shipped like this.

For me a more important consideration is WHEN I ship. For instance, I shipped yesterday (Monday) to Mass., w/ 2 day Priority, 'cause I didn't want the package to end up at some unexpected place for the weekend.

Our plants are pretty tough stuff really & can endure a surprising amount, I'm happy to say.

Good luck w/ your shipping when you decide what to do. If you need help, shoot me an EM, I'll be home from work the next 3 days :>) yippee!!

RE: how do you ship plants?

Excellent point, I would only ship a box on a Monday or Tuesday, and not put any foliage or stems inside plastic.

Forgot to mention above, those silicone balls they sell for 'moisture control' and decorative purposes are excellent for keeping moisture inside a baggie, only need about 5 of them.

I don't like surprises, so almost always use flat-rate boxes, priced by size, not weight (but do have a weight limit.) However, if it's 1 plant, a mailing tube can be a good option. Sans fit well in those, and spider plants.

RE: how do you ship plants?

i had to fly my potted plants by air in the suitcase, so i was searching for the best way to do it and found a video by hawaii orchids growers that ship plants in pots in bloom by air!
but i can't find my book mark ;(. it was on youtube.
basically you need to make a custom box that will fit the plant: foliage/flowers and all. find a bigger used box and then cut/bend it to size.
the best method to prevent shifting of the pot is to cut a strip of cardboard and bend it in upside down U shape with flaps :think hat with brim. the ends are taped to the bottom of the main box. the upsidedown U need to be positioned against the pot: the corners sticking out over the pot and side across the pot. this strip will also safegard the stem. think how the packaging is done for electronics ...similar to that. you can also do a strip over the pot - so that it does not wiggle side-to-side.
the easier method is to wrap the pot and all into sev layers of paper deli style. roll from the corner, fold one side, roll more, fold another side in, finish rolling - forming a sturdy tube and stuff that into a box with shredded paper. shredded paper also goes inside between flowers/leaves/etc.
to prevent soil from spilling, put some shreds on the surface to the rim and then tape posting tape over it and to the pot sides.
it all worked perfectly. also if you are shipping by air - the paper roll/shreds will insulate well against cold cargo hold.
you can prolly put the paper-rolled plant in bubble wrap too for insulation.
if you don't have access to shredder, just fold paper in a long strip and cut with scissors, then fluff and mix together. i had to do this... it takes a little wrist effort, but it workable. newspaper print is very good to cut by hand, also tissue paper. i had to improvise any which way, thankfully i at least had scissors....:).

Here is a link that might be useful: description of method in another post

RE: how do you ship plants?

Good thread link, Petrushka!

I get it that cuttings are easier to ship. I've both sent and received those - no issues there. But here, I am talking about shipping actual rooted plants.

Purple, I love the idea of a paper towel roll as a tool to fix everything in place.

PG, I imagined doing it exactly like you described. I like shipping styrofoam peanuts way more as a buffering material than anything else. They weigh nothing, and they take empty spaces in a non-intrusive manner much easier that crumpled newspaper, air-filled seal plastic bags or anything else I've tried. Really love 'em - I save them to be reused every time I receive something packed in them. Shredded paper can work almost as well, I imagine.

RE: how do you ship plants?

found the video of whole plant orchid packing - great stuff

Here is a link that might be useful: potted plant packing

RE: how do you ship plants?

The method used in that video is quite similar to how I wrap orchids that I mail out ... except that I ship them bareroot. Btw, with many orchids -- particularly Cattleya, and Phalanopsis -- plastic bagging the roots (as I mentioned doing to some plants above) should not be done.

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