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How to Ship Real Flowers

A backyard cutting garden can produce large amounts of beautiful flowers every year, and proud gardeners may want to share blooms with family and friends--even if they live far away. You can ship fresh flowers by mail and have them arrive intact on the other side of the country--if you package them well and provide a way to keep them moist.

Pick your flowers early on the same day that you plan to ship them. Choose flowers that are just barely open or still in bud. Many flowers, including lilies, gladiolus, narcissus and tulips, will open up after they are picked. If necessary, immediately place the flowers in water in a cool, dark place, while you prepare the shipping box.

Bundle the stems of the flowers together with twine or rubber bands. Arrange the flowers so that they will move as little as possible.

Dampen several sheets of paper towels and wrap them around the cut ends of the flowers, then place the stems inside a plastic bag. Wrap the bag loosely around the flower stems, but do not tie it tightly or the cut ends may begin to rot in transit.

Wrap several large sheets of newspaper loosely around the bundle of flowers. This will add some padding and will also help hold the flowers in place.

Place the flowers in a heavy, sturdy cardboard box and pack crumpled newspaper or packing peanuts around all sides of the bouquet. Do not use biodegradable cornstarch peanuts, since the moisture may cause them to "melt" into the flowers or the box.

Tape up the box securely and label it with recipient's name and address.

Mail your flowers as early in the day as possible so that they will ship out right away. Use overnight or two-day shipping.

Alert the recipients that they have a package on the way that will need immediate attention. Cut flowers should be unpacked as soon as they arrive, and the stems should be recut and placed in a vase of cold water.


Use a cardboard box that will provide several inches of space around the bouquet. Florists may be willing to sell or give away boxes specifically designed for shipping cut flowers.


Do not use dry ice or freezer blocks when shipping cut flowers. The heavy weight may shift in transit and damage the blossoms.

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