How to Send Plants

Overview

Whether you want to start your own plant nursery or join a garden exchange, sometimes you will need to send plants via mail. Since plants become fragile once they leave their natural environment, proper packing techniques are required in order to make sure the plant makes it to its destination alive and healthy. Here's what you need to know about sending plants.

Sending Plants

Step 1

Create a packing slip that includes plant name, planting instructions, age of plant and your contact information. Place this sheet in a Ziploc bag to keep it dry during transport.

Step 2

Research and follow state, federal and international guidelines for shipping plants. The USDA National Agriculture Library lists laws and regulations by state. International regulations are extremely stringent and must be researched before shipping to make certain that you are not breaking any laws. These laws are in place to prevent the spread of noxious and invasive plant species and diseases that may be present in the soil or on the plant itself.

Step 3

Pack plants by bare roots, if possible. Succulents, cacti and bulbs can be wrapped in newspaper and mailed without additional moisture. Herbaceous and woody-rooted plants should be shipped with a minute amount of soil, wrapped in plastic, then inserted into a Ziploc bag with a damp paper towel to maintain adequate moisture. For added protection, wrap the entire unit in newspaper to protect any foliage.

Step 4

For all plants except cuttings, make certain that moisture does not directly touch the roots, in order to prevent rot. Wrap all roots in plastic first, then enclose further.

Step 5

Ensure that the carton is large enough to hold the plant without crushing, along with packing materials to cushion it and prevent movement during transit. Packing material also acts as insulation, helping to protect the plant from extreme temperatures.

Step 6

Seal the packing carton and make certain that the label is clearly printed. Use a bold marker to write LIVE PLANTS--PROTECT FROM HEAT AND COLD on the top and sides of the box.

Step 7

Ship by fastest method possible. USPS Priority Mail or UPS Ground are the safest options, if delivery can be performed within three days.

Tips and Warnings

  • If an internationally shipped plant does not meet the recipient country's regulations, it will be confiscated and destroyed.

Things You'll Need

  • Lightweight shipping cartons that are larger than the plant
  • Packing materials (newspaper, packing peanuts)
  • Packing tape
  • Old newspaper
  • Ziploc bags
  • Plastic wrap
  • Peat moss
  • Large sawdust chips
  • Large mailing labels
  • Plant information sheet

References

  • Trading Plants: How to Pack Plants for Shipping by Mail
  • USDA Laws and Regulations for Shipping Plants

Who Can Help

  • Guidelines for Transportation of Live Plant Specimens
  • Corrugated Shipping Boxes
Keywords: packing, plants, bare roots

About this Author

Deborah Waltenburg has been a freelance writer since 2002. In addition to her work for Demand Studios, Waltenburg has written for websites such as Freelance Writerville and Constant Content, and has worked as a ghostwriter for travel/tourism websites and numerous financial/debt reduction blogs.