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How to Ship Live Plants

Sharing plants is no longer just giving a start to neighbors and family. With friendships being made online and garden sites creating co-ops, learning how to ship live plants helps to share across the miles. Plants need proper packaging to ensure they arrive healthy and ready for planting.

Obtain shipping boxes from the local post office. The priority-mail boxes are free for the asking and ship at a flat rate. There are several assorted sizes to choose from when deciding which box to use.

Wet the newspaper and wrap several layers around the root ball of the plant. The plant will need water during transport and the roots can gather that water from the wet newspaper.

Place the wrapped root ball into a plastic bag. The smallest bag that fits works best so there is less chance of the roots being disturbed. Leave the rest of the plant hanging out of the bag.

Tie, tape or wire the bag shut so nothing falls out and the roots are contained. This keeps root damage to a minimum during shipping.

Place the plant in the shipping box and fill the empty space with more crumpled paper or other filler. The filler keeps the leaves of the plant from becoming bruised or broken during shipping.

Seal and ship the box. Second-day air is best for shipping live plants but if the roots are wrapped well enough, the plants will last 3 or 4 days during normal temperatures.


Check with local laws and regulations to see the guidelines for shipping live plants from your area.


Do not ship live plants in the winter months to cold areas unless shipping next-day air. The cold temperatures of the shipping trucks can harm delicate plants.

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