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Old 06-02-2007, 12:36 PM
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How do you send plants by mail safely?

Hello everyone. I am new to plant swapping and very happy to be here. I understand that shipping a plant priority is the quickest way. My question is how would I package a partially developed plant correctly? Wouldn't the plant dry out?
Old 06-02-2007, 05:35 PM
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I've done a lot of plant mailing over the years with much success. It all depends on the plant you are sending to be honest. There isn't one way that fits all, so let me know what you are intending to mail and I can help with some more specific advice.
Bob from Austin TX, Zone 8b/9a
"Southeast Texas Gardening"
Old 06-02-2007, 11:29 PM
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Bob, if you'd care to write up some handy tips for different situations, we could sticky it to the top of the forum. I think this a prime candidate for a FAQ.
Old 06-03-2007, 08:06 AM
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Tips for Mailing Plants

Bernard - you may wish to make this a permanent FAQ

Tips for Mailing Plants:
  • Do not mail plants to California or Hawaii because of strictly enforced state laws prohibiting importation of plant materials into these states. Most countries restrict or prohibit importation of plants from other countries as well. Check postal regulations for further information before mailing.
  • Mail plants bare root if possible to minimize spread of soil born diseases. Make sure plants being mailed are healthy, free of insect or disease problems.
  • Package plants firmly to avoid damage from crushing enroute. Chosing the right sized and shaped box is important.
  • Use lightweight packing materials, e.g. newspaper,. noodles, bubble wrap, plastic grocery bags, to lighten shipping weight.but secure contents.
  • Mail plants by the fastest economical means available such as USPS priority mail (2-3 day delivery), or UPS ground if delivery can be guaranteed in 3 days or less. The point of shipping and destination will affect delivery times. The quicker the trip, the better condition upon arrival.
  • How to pack plants depends on their type: See tips below.
Cacti and Succulents: bare root, wrapped in newspaper

Herbaceous rooted plants non-dormant perennials and ferns: wrap roots with minimal amount of dampened sterile soil or sphagnum moss with clear wrap and tie around stem with twisty. Insert entire plant into plastic zip lock bag with dampened paper towel to maintain moisture around foliage

Woody rooted plants: Same method as herbaceous but not necessary to place in moistened plastic bag. After securing roots and sterile soil in clear wrap, wrap the entire plant in newspaper.

Bromeliads and Orchids: bare root enclosed in moistened zip lock bag.

Bulbs: bare root wrapped in newspaper

Dormant perennials: wrap roots in minimal amount of sterile soil or sphagnum moss and place in zip lock plastic bag.

Cuttings: Soak cuttings in water until turgid, then wrap cuttings in dampened paper towels and place in zip lock bag.

Aquatic and bog plants: Wrap in damp to wet paper towel, insert in zip lock bag.

Seed: Place seed in dry zip lock bag. If seed is crushable, place bubble wrap around it.
Bob from Austin TX, Zone 8b/9a
"Southeast Texas Gardening"

Last edited by txbeyer; 06-09-2007 at 06:25 PM..
Old 06-04-2007, 06:14 AM
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Excellent Bob!
Old 08-27-2007, 07:06 PM
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Thank you, thank you, thank you! I had nooooo idea how I was going to ship a rooted cutting to another member. Your info was most helpful and appreciated. I think I can get the plant there in good condition now. I was worried it would get crushed or dry out. I love this site!
Old 08-28-2007, 05:54 AM
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I must agree with Plant Swap
Old 09-03-2007, 09:00 AM
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Thanks, I am very glad that my posting is helping so many people. I have mailed so many plants of all types to people using these methods with near 100% success. I decided to also put the same information to my website "Southeast Texas Gardening" at under Plant Care - Horticultural Tips.
Bob from Austin TX, Zone 8b/9a
"Southeast Texas Gardening"
Old 01-12-2008, 09:40 AM
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Hi I am new to this forum and am wondering if you have had experience shipping to and from Canada.
Old 01-14-2008, 08:47 AM
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The only advice I can offer is to check with your local post office in Canada. I don't think there is any major problem with sending plants across the border, except in the U.S., you can't ship plants to CA, and HI.
Bob from Austin TX, Zone 8b/9a
"Southeast Texas Gardening"
Old 01-14-2008, 09:50 AM
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I have traded with someone in Canada -
Her shipment to me took about a week or so to arrive . . . BUT . . . my shipment to her took over 2 weeks,
even though it was sent the fastest way possible - according to my local post mistress
(international express or international priority, I don't recall which).

Be prepared to fill out some extra paperwork at the P.O., detailing what's in your package.

I would be hesitant to send anything that might not tolerate 2-3 weeks in transit,
and I would also be sure that there was no soil in the package.
~*~ Zuzu ~*~

Old 08-21-2008, 02:17 AM
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General shipping info.

california and ect.require speicial certifications to ship to that state.
most want brown garden snail and sudden oak death certification can be supplyed by your county exstention agent,canada the same + some plants will be listed on the national plant board as quarentined no entry.
National plant board is the place to get your shipping information.
Western Washington
Zone 8
Old 02-09-2009, 07:45 PM
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Hi All,
Here's my Photobucket Album on how to prepare plants for shipping. I made this for a new trader once, and many people have found it helpful. I hope anyone new to shipping here will also. Please click on the photos to read all of the accompanying text.
"I wake to sleep and take my waking slow"
-Theodore Roethke
Old 02-09-2009, 08:12 PM
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Red face

txbeyer, nice simple rules but one should go further if shipping during the winter months. We here will not ship any plants from Nov. to March, some folks will not wait and if they want to pay for heat packs then that is an extra fee.
One should always check with state rules before shipping and to Canada or over seas one should have proper paperwork. I know shipping seeds to Canada is okay but plant material needs paperwork just like over seas. Import licenses should be taken seriously. One will also be opened to inspections when one complies to the State rules on importing.
If you are concerned about plants drying out one can add moisture crystal.
Old 02-10-2009, 09:08 AM
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SmileMailing plants

I have found most plants do better if you do not enclose the leaves in the baggie; they seem to rot pretty fast. I put a rubber band around the baggie separating the leaves and keeping them out to get air. I had a nursery send me plants with leaves and all in the baggies and they were a nasty mess. Wrapping roots in a damp paper towel and enclosing in a baggies seems to work great and also if just sending cuttings, not yet rooted. I root some things in solo 3 oz. or 5 oz. cups and that is a good size to mail without taking up a lot of room. Just a suggestion....I am new here and think I will enjoy it. I am on several plant sights.
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How to Send Perennial Plants | This thread Refback 12-24-2009 02:29 PM
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