Sending plants through the United States Mail or a parcel service is a way to send a beautiful plant you have grown or a rare or interesting plant you have purchased. Although all types of plants are shipped, from bare-root trees to shrubs used in landscaping, the most beautiful plants for shipping are flowering plants or plants with interesting foliage. They are often shipped rooted in soil in small pots and given as gifts. To send beautiful plants, avoid stress on the plant by following careful packing procedures.
Check with the National Plant Board for regulations concerning the shipping of plants in your state and the state where the plant is sent. The information available tells you what plants are acceptable for shipping and how they can be shipped. Agricultural laws are put in place to prevent plant disease and pests from crossing state lines and must be followed or you risk your plant being quarantined, where it will die from lack of care, or destroyed.
Place the potted plant you are shipping on a level surface and add potting soil to the edge of the pot. Lightly pack the potting soil down with your hand to help stabilize the plant for shipping. The pot in which the plant is potted should be as lightweight as possible. A heavy ceramic pot will crush the plant if the box is turned upside down.
Add water to the potted plant until it runs from the bottom of the pot and let it drain until the soil is slightly moist, but no longer soaking wet. This may take several hours. If potting soil settles below the edge of the container after watering, add more dry potting soil.
Wrap the pot with plastic food wrap. Be sure to wrap the plastic food wrap over the soil in the pot and around the base of the stem of the plant. Use cellophane tape to secure the plastic wrap in place. Use as much plastic food wrap and cellophane tape as needed to keep the soil in the pot stable. Loosely roll up a piece of dry newspaper and wrap it around the trunk or base of the plant and secure it with cellophane tape. This is to ensure plant stability so the plant cannot snap off at the soil line from rough handling.
Set the plant in a shipping box large enough to allow room around the plant to use dry newspaper to pack the plant securely. Carefully pack wads and rolls of dry newspaper around the plant until it is secure and cannot move around the box. Tear the newspaper into smaller pieces and add dry newspaper around stems and delicate blooms secured with a piece of cellophane tape, if needed. Close the top of the box and seal with packing tape. Write the words "fragile" and "live plants" on the box and ship it to the recipient.